Fury and Usyk fight for undisputed heavyweight title


Britain's Tyson Fury and Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk will face each other in one of the biggest boxing matches of the last decade. The two undefeated world heavyweight champions will unify the belts, and the winner will become the first absolute heavyweight champion of this century.

Britain's Lennox Lewis last held all the belts in the division after defeating Evander Holyfield in 1999, but a year later the World Boxing Association stripped him of one title when Lewis refused to defend it against John Ruiz. Since then, no boxer has managed to hold all the titles in the division at the same time.

The 35-year-old Fury is regarded as the best heavyweight of his generation, with 35 wins, one draw and no losses to date in the professional ring. He ended Wladimir Klitschko's long reign in the division with a points victory in late 2015, but then fell into depression and served a doping (cocaine) suspension that kept him out of the ring for three years. He returned and climbed back to the top of the world after three attractive fights with Deontay Wilder, the first ending in a draw and the next two in convincing victories for the Gypsy King. Fury then defeated compatriots Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora, but his confidence was shaken by MMA fighter Francis Nganu, who knocked him out in his boxing debut. The judges still gave Fury the win, but the damage to his reputation remained.

Oleksandr Usyk, 37, is the Olympic champion since the 2012 London Games, defeating Tervel Pulev and Artur Beterbiev on his way to gold. He then conquered the light heavyweight division of professional boxing, where he became the absolute world champion, before moving up to the heavyweight division and recording five consecutive victories, including two over former world champion Anthony Joshua.

Usyk is considered the fighter with the best boxing qualities in the heavyweight division at the moment, but Fury, who also has impressive speed and movement in the ring, has a serious height advantage - 15 centimeters according to official data. The Briton also showed a much cleaner figure, demonstrating that the training camp was at a very high level.

"Let's write the story. Enough. Thank you," Usyk said at the official press conference, while Fury refrained from his usual aggressive innuendo. "I'm ready for a good match. God bless him, before the match I'll say a prayer that we both get out of the ring healthy," he said. Curiously, after the press conference, Fury refused to look his opponent in the eye, while Usyk seemed completely calm.

Bookmakers set Tyson Fury as the favorite, but by a very small margin - odds of 1.80 for him against 2.00 for his opponent. Whatever the outcome of the match, the two are expected to rematch at the end of the year.

The television rights for the match are held by the DAZN platform, and the match can be watched for a one-off fee. /BGNES