Oleksandr Usyk 'not afraid' of Tyson Fury amid talk of undisputed title fight

Undefeated duo are expect to face off in the coming months for all the heavyweight belts

Oleksandr Usyk is keen to fight Tyson Fury for the undisputed world heavyweight title. PA
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Oleksandr Usyk says both he and Tyson Fury need the undisputed heavyweight title fight as talks continue regarding when and where to stage the bout.

Boxing’s marquee division has not had an undisputed champion for two decades, not since Lennox Lewis held all four belts around the turn of the millennium.

Usyk, 36, currently holds the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles after back-to-back victories against Anthony Joshua, while Fury is the WBC champion.

The pair, both undefeated as professional boxers, are in talks to secure a bout to take place in the next few months, with Saudi Arabia long tipped to host – although that possibility appears to have cooled in recent weeks. Late April, at London's Wembley Stadium, has been mooted.

Speaking to Sky Sports' The Overlap, Usyk said: "I need this fight and that's it. I think he needs it too. This fight is very important for both of us.

“All four belts haven't been held by one person. So both of us need this fight."

Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, has not fought since outpointing Joshua in their rematch in Jeddah last August, where he prevailed by split decision.

Fury, meanwhile, was last in action in December, when he knocked out fellow Brit Derek Chisora in the 10th-round in London.

Usyk, 20-0 as a pro, said he expects the “more audacious” style of Fury (33-0-1) to present more problems than Joshua did, but the Ukrainian said: "I'm not afraid of Tyson Fury. This will be like any other fight. It's just a big man who has never lost before against a man who has the WBC belt.

"Of course, it's possible to get carried away but actually this is a normal fight for the right to win all the belts. If a person is bigger than me, it doesn't mean they're stronger than me. If they have longer arms, it doesn't mean that it will be an advantage.

"I've been boxing since I was 15 years old. They kept telling me that I shouldn't be boxing. They told me that I wouldn't become an Olympic champion [Usyk won heavyweight gold at London 2012] or a world champion and that I shouldn't have switched to the heavyweight division.

"But these were opinions from people who couldn't do it themselves. Personally, I keep praying and move forward. I don't worry about whether I will reach my destination. It's like a samurai. He doesn't have an aim; he has his path. I have my path too."

Usyk, who served last year in the Ukrainian military, said his country’s resistance in the war against Russia continues to inspire him.

"I'm boxing for everyone who is defending our country right now and in the memory of those warriors who are no longer with us," Usyk said. "Also for all those who want to be free and who stood for their country."

Updated: March 07, 2023, 11:58 AM