Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk undisputed title fight is ‘something very, very significant’

We don’t know whether we’re going to see an entertaining fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (DAZN Pay-Per-View).

We don’t know which Fury will show up, the one who has been dominating over the past decade or the one who fell flat against Francis Ngannou in his most recent bout. And we don’t know whether the skillful Usyk can compensate for his size disadvantage against his 6-foot-9 opponent.

The one thing we DO know? This is big.

An undisputed heavyweight champion will be crowned for the first time – barring unforeseen circumstances since Lennox Lewis defeated fellow Hall of Famer Evander Holyfield in 1999, a quarter century ago. The winner could be considered the best of his era.

And Fury and Usyk certainly have earned the right to fight for boxing’s biggest prize, as neither man has lost a single fight. Usyk’s record is perfect (21-0, 14 KOs). Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) has one draw.

Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter and boxing institution, has been around for many big matchups. He knows one when he sees one.

“In boxing, there’s a saying that the most important division is the heavyweight division,” he said at the final news conference Thursday. “When we have the opportunity to have an undisputed heavyweight champion crowned, as we will Saturday night, it is something very, very significant.

“The last fighter to be crowned the undisputed champion is sitting out in the audience. It happened 25 years ago. Lennox Lewis became the undisputed heavyweight champion. Saturday night will be a very, very important night for boxing because not only will we be crowning the undisputed heavyweight champion, but the two participants in the fight have never, ever lost a fight. Now, how rare is that?”

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – MAY 16: Tyson Fury reacts alongside Oleksandr Usyk ahead of the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO Undisputed World Heavyweight Title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk at BLVD City – Music World on May 16, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Fury almost lost in his last fight, a split decision over the MMA star-turned-boxer on Oct. 28. He had to get up from a third-round knockdown to have his hand raised, which set up the opportunity against Usyk.

He clearly understands the magnitude of the event. And he made it clear that he’s better prepared for this challenge than the one in October.

“I’m on top of the world, baby!” he said earlier in the week. “Who wouldn’t be enjoying it? I’m in the great Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is the main event. It is the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.”

He added on Thursday: “I’m ready. I’ve got nothing to say apart from I’m ready for a good fight. And if it’s tough or easy, either way, I’ll be ready.”

Usyk, a gifted technician from Ukraine, is trying to become undisputed champion in a second division. The 2012 Olympic champion ruled the 200-pound weight class from 2016 to 2019 before moving up to heavyweight, at which he’s 5-0.

He outpointed Anthony Joshua to win three of the four major titles in December 2021 and then defeated Joshua again 11 months later.

He didn’t have much to say at the news conference Thursday but captured the moment with one comment: “Let’s make history.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie