Ukrainian southpaw Oleksander Usyk was sure he posed a threat to WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. The WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titleholder said few things that encouraged him ahead of the faceoff.
Both men will bang gloves on February 17 at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to give boxing fans an undisputed world heavyweight champion.
Many reasonably assume that Fury’s weight might be a deciding factor when both men meet to dance around, but Usyk said it would not be so.
‘My father got to see me win [the Gold Medal], and that is very important to me that he did. Every day, I pray for my father,’ he said to the Ring Magazine.
‘He is the one who put me into this life, and he is the one who told me growing up, ‘Son, you can.’ It gives me a lot of motivation. Understand, my father is always with me.
‘It is very true. I carry my father’s strength with me. I carry his photo with me everywhere. I have wanted this fight. Boxing wanted this fight. It gives me more motivation knowing the boxing world wants me to win.
‘To win this, I don’t need to be heavy, I need to be fast, and quick. You never see a fat wolf in the forest.’
Usyk claimed that Fury’s pre-match mind games will not be harmful to him.
‘I really don’t think about Tyson Fury. I don’t look at the way he acts and what he does. Most of his opponents fell for it. I don’t. For me, I focus on how I am, and how I prepare for when I go into the ring. Me and my trainer have watched his fights.
‘We are preparing for everything. We have to watch what he is doing. I don’t care about what Fury thinks about me. He can underestimate. He can overestimate me. I don’t care. I have my plans for him. I have advantages over him that he does not know about.’
Usyk has given time to training with big orthodox boxers, while Fury reportedly did the same with cruiserweight southpaw Jai Opetaia and others.