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Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: Who would win?

When Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to retain his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight championship titles on 22nd August 2022, the next questions in the world of boxing were: Will Oleksandr Usyk fight Tyson Fury to crown an undisputed heavyweight boxing champion? And if so, who would win?

Tyson Fury has dismissed Usyk as a challenge, often labelling him as a ‘middleweight’ and previously saying he could beat him with one hand tied behind his back. But among boxing fans, this is a dream match up between the two best heavyweights in the world.

When Oleksandr Usyk moved up from cruiserweight to heavyweight, people questioned whether he had what it took to compete with the ‘big boys’. Heavyweight boxing is as much about will as it is about skill, they said. And when you’re facing giants with heavyweight punching power, maybe Usyk would be biting off more than he could chew. But Usyk proved the doubters wrong and has shown he belongs in the heavyweight division.

Questions had also been raised about Tyson Fury, who at one point had neglected his training and diet, and ballooned up to 400 pounds. Fans pointed out that boxing is a brutal sport and isn’t forgiving to athletes who abuse their bodies. Many people questioned if he could make a comeback and suggested his best days were behind him. But since then, Fury has made a remarkable turnaround, getting back into shape and defeating Deontay Wilder, who is arguably the most devastating puncher in the history of boxing.

Tyson Fury calling out Oleksandr Usyk on Twitter
Tyson Fury calling out Oleksandr Usyk

So, who would win?

Tyson Fury’s size advantage may be too much for Oleksandr Usyk. At 6′ 9″ 260 lbs, Fury moves exceptionally well for his size and will naturally have power in his punches that Usyk doesn’t have substantial experience with. However Anthony Joshua was considerably larger than Usyk too and that didn’t pose a problem. The counter to this argument is that Joshua tried to outbox Usyk and didn’t rely on his size and power as much as he should have. Fury won’t hesitate to ‘rough up’ Usyk if he needs to.

Tyson Fury has incredible punch resistance or a ‘chin’. Fury has gotten up from the canvas after receiving Deontay Wilder’s bombs. One only has to see Wilder’s fight with Robert Helenius to see what happens if you get caught. Oleksandr Usyk wasn’t considered a big puncher even in the cruiserweight division, so if people see Usyk winning, they likely see a points victory. However either a knockout or points win are both seen as realistic scenarios for Fury. While Fury’s punch resistance gets a lot of attention, it’s worth noting that Usyk has never been knocked down during his professional career.

When it comes to pound-for-pound skill most boxing fans would place Oleksandr Usyk above Tyson Fury. Usyk is an enigma, with incredible punch output and endurance. Fury has an engine too but perhaps Usyk’s technical boxing skill is unsettling for Fury. While Usyk has been willing to challenge himself and fight opponents in their ‘back yards’, Fury appears to have been taking easier options, having fought Derek Chisora on 3rd December 2022, someone who Fury had already beaten twice. Despite much public criticism to the fight Fury went ahead with it, putting aside a potential clash against Anthony Joshua, and unsurprisingly Chisora was an easy night’s work for Fury.

Perhaps it’ll come down to who wants it more. Oleksandr Usyk has Ukraine front and centre on his mind, giving him extra motivation to keep going when things get tough. Fury has never been one to give up, getting up from the canvas from Wilder’s bombs and being resilient in the face of mental health problems.

Oleksandr Usyk has continued to surpass expectations, proving doubters wrong again and again. Tyson Fury has always been confident about his ability and has continued to back it up year after year. Much like both fighters, the result is unpredictable.

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