Tyson Fury convinced of victory over 'cruiserweight' Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia

Undisputed title on the line when heavyweight rivals clash in Riyadh on May 18

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Tyson Fury insists he will cement his place as the best heavyweight of his generation when he faces Oleksandr Usyk for the unified world title in Saudi Arabia next month.

The Riyadh bout was rescheduled for May 18 from its original February 17 date after the British boxer suffered a cut in training, causing the division's first undisputed title fight in 25 years to be postponed.

Ukraine's Usyk holds the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts, while Fury is the WBC champion. Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk has won all of his 21 professional bouts, while Fury has 33 victories and one draw on his record.

The 37-year-old Usyk won his heavyweight titles by beating Britain's Anthony Joshua in 2021 and has defended his belts twice, including in an August 2022 rematch with Joshua. May's clash pits the division's universally recognised No 1 and No 2 fighters against each other and Fury is adamant it will be him who comes out on top.

"This is my time, my destiny, my era and my generation. Fact," declared the outspoken British fighter at a press conference in his hometown of Morecambe on Wednesday.

Fury looked in considerably better shape than his last outing – a humiliating split decision victory over MMA import Francis Ngannou in October 2023. Fury was even sent to the canvas by novice Ngannou, who was subsequently destroyed by Joshua in less than two rounds.

The 35-year-old was unusually subdued after that brush with defeat but the old bravado seemed to be back as he made a number of bold statements and predictions. Fury, who first won the world title against Usyk's countryman Wladimir Klitschko in 2016, is confident his size advantage will prove decisive.

Fury stands 2.06m tall – 15 centimetres more than his opponent. He weighed 126kg for his fight against Ngannou, while Usyk tipped the scales at 100kg for his most recent title defence against Daniel Dubois.

"This is not personal, it's strictly business for both fighters. I don't hate him, I respect him as a man, as a fighter," Fury said.

"He's unified heavyweight champion so anyone should respect his achievements. But I'm very confident in my ability.

"My personal opinion is we have weight divisions for a reason. When the cruiserweights step up to the big boys, they're found wanting. You can beat the average big ones but not the elite big ones.

"We have weight divisions for a reason and he's going to be found wanting when he fights me on May 18."

Fury's promoter Frank Warren was similarly bullish, claiming that body shots will prove the difference.

Dubois floored Usyk heavily in the fifth round with a contentious low blow last August. The referee ruled it low and allowed Usyk time to recover and he later won by ninth round stoppage. Dubois, also promoted by Warren, claimed he had been cheated out of victory.

"He doesn't like it to the body, that's for sure, and for me the biggest exponent of exploiting a boxer's weakness is the professor here [Fury] and that's what he does," said Warren.

"If anybody's going to exploit it, it's going to be Tyson. He's got the mental capacity to do that and keep doing what he has to do. I genuinely believe that Tyson will win this fight in explosive style."

Updated: April 10, 2024, 2:50 PM