Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk is the biggest fight out there, and we are just over one month away from a showdown which should crown boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999.
The betting for the superfight in Saudi Arabia is closing all the time and is almost now a pick ’em affair. Fury still edges it as the slightest of favourites, but gone is the significant advantage bookmakers gave him a few short months ago.
‘The Gypsy King’ was unimpressive last time out in October as he was taken to the wire by former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou, who was having his very first fight as a professional boxer. Fury was on the floor before fighting back to claim a hotly disputed victory by split decision.
While Fury maintained his unbeaten record in the paid ranks at 34-0-1, he came in for significant criticism, which continues to this day. Former super-middleweight king Carl Froch would love to see the heavyweight titles all residing in Morecambe, UK – but he has real concerns that a first career loss is heading Tyson’s way.
Froch on Fury vs Usyk
He told talkSPORT: “2024 is going to be a fantastic year. Hopefully with a close humdinger with Fury and Usyk. I’m picking Usyk for that one, just because of where Tyson Fury is mentally.
“Hopefully Fury can have a good camp and rekindle some of his old greatness in terms of when he fought Deontay Wilder three times. He looked good, he looked different every time, he showed us something different. But I don’t know if that’s gone now. He struggles to get the weight off him. He seems under-motivated. When he fought Ngannou, he looked confused. Has he got old overnight?
“He carries a lot of weight. I know he doesn’t have to make weight but he does have an optimum fight weight. To shift that belly fat and that bread basket that he’s carrying – listen, he’s got weight on him and that weight holds him up. It’s a hindrance, it’s not a help. I know you don’t need to be structurally muscular like a weightlifter to be able to perform, but there’s no benefit to having fat round your belly and your love handles.
“There’s no benefit to having that, once you get up to 18 or 19 stone, another 2 or 3 stone. We saw that with [Andy] Ruiz in the rematch with Anthony Joshua. He put on another 3 stone of fat, got totally outboxed and couldn’t do anything. So hopefully Tyson Fury can get back to where he should be, because he’s fighting for the undisputed heavyweight title.
“Hopefully he turns up and gets the job done, because I want those titles to return to Britain, but at the minute I think Usyk wins that fight.”