Tyson Fury's dad apologises after headbutting member of Usyk entourage

Footage posted on social media shows John Fury headbutting a member of the Ukrainian's party as tempers boil over ahead of Saturday's world heavyweight title unification bout

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The father of world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury John Fury has apologised for headbutting a member of Oleksandr Usyk’s entourage on Monday as tempers boiled over in build-up to Saturday’s undisputed title clash in Riyadh.

Security had to separate the rival camps at the hotel where Monday’s media activity was being held.

Footage posted on social media of the incident shows John Fury touching heads with one of Usyk’s group and, having been pulled away, then appearing to headbutt another of the Ukrainian’s team.

It was John Fury who appeared to come off worse though, with blood pouring down the 59-year-old's head despite attempts to stem the flow. He had to be restrained repeatedly as the rival clans chanted their fighters' names.

"Sincere apologies to everybody involved. It's just the way we are," he told Seconds Out. "Emotions and tensions are running high. He was a very disrespectful fella," said John. "If you come close in a fighting man's space, you're gonna cop for something.

"What matters to me is respect for my son and he wasn't showing any of it. He mentioned my son and that was it, so he had to have it. It doesn't bother me [bleeding], it's what we live for, we're fighting people. That's a regular occurrence to me."

Tyson Fury did not see the incident as he was in a separate part of the hotel conducting media interviews. When he saw his dad following the fracas, he asked: “How did you cut yourself like that?”

John Fury claimed to Sky Sports he reacted after hearing Usyk's camp “disrespecting my son. The best heavyweight to ever wear a pair of boxing gloves.

“Coming out with all that rubbish. He’s in my face, trying to be clever. Coming into my space, ‘Usyk, Usyk’, nobody’s bothering with them. I was only chanting my own son’s name.

“At the end of the day, I’m a warrior, that’s what we do. We’re fighting people. You come in the space, you’re going to get what’s coming.”

The member of Usyk's team has been named by several news outlets as Stanislav Stepchuk.

Stepchuk said he didn't say anything about Tyson Fury and only shouted "Usyk, Usyk" to support his team. He reiterated that he had never touched John and wouldn't because of their age difference.

"I didn't touch him. He went crazy," said Stepchuk. "Yeah [I wanted to punch him], but because of the age difference it would not be very fair. He should not look for an actual fight because he could have a heart attack and finish in the ambulance."

Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk admitted the confrontation was a bad look for the sport and said he wanted an apology from John Fury.

“I apologised because I thought initially that one of our guys hit John, but then I saw the video and saw it was vice versa,” Krassyuk said.

“So do I take my apology back because it was his misbehaviour? He has to apologise because this does not give a good impression about us to the rest of the world. It’s up to him.

“Usyk’s team and Fury’s team are fighters. It wouldn’t be good if it got out of control. Usyk would say, ‘Don’t touch my guys, they are dangerous’.”

The unbeaten rivals meet for the first time at the Kingdom Arena, with Saturday’s clash crowning the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000 and the first of the four-belt era.

“I can’t wait," declared Tyson Fury.

“It’s unbelievable to be out here. Everyone is on a high. Big-time boxing in Saudi Arabia is fantastic.

“I’m going to enjoy this week because it’s been many years coming. So we’ll enjoy it. I feel on top of the world and I can’t wait.”

Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight king, won his WBA, IBF and WBO titles by outpointing Anthony Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021 before successfully defending them against the same opponent in Jeddah a year later.

“I’m doing good, I’m happy and I’m hungry. I don’t care how Tyson will be this week. I’m ready,” Usyk said.

“For me May 18 is important, what Tyson does in the press conferences doesn’t matter.

“I don’t think about Tyson Fury now. I’ve seen him in a lot of fights. I don’t know how he will box against me, we will see when we get into the ring.”

Updated: May 14, 2024, 7:09 AM