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Matters of the ring are all that matter to Fury and Usyk | Boxing News

THEY often look fanciful, adding to the sense of occasion. Organised to create an element of pageantry and ceremony around a big event. The grand arrivals have long become a staple of fight week kick-off, cutting the invisible ribbon to announce to the world that it’s all getting real.

As expected, a trim and ready Tyson Fury went through the motions. Recently, he has discussed the correlation between a fluctuating physique and staying switched on mentally.

Whilst offering soundbites to hovering microphones held by floating hands is all part of the show, keeping matters of the ring front of mind is the real fight week objective.

Usyk could never be accused of lacking focus. Chasing Evander Holyfield’s achievements across time and space has become a game the Ukrainian may actually be able to win, especially if he can become an undisputed heavyweight king on Saturday evening. 

Lately, the heavyweight collective has found a home in Saudi Arabia. Both of these fighters have boxed and won there. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Zhilei Zhang, and Daniel Dubois are just some of the other names who have graced the Kingdom. But this is the big one. This is the culmination of one era, providing a result that will mould and shape the next.

“I predict that somebody’s ‘0’ has got to go. And it’s going to be that team over there, unfortunately for them,” said Fury. 

Hardly a groundbreaking prophecy, but by this stage, coming up with fresh dialogue is the least of each man’s worries.

Some describe Fury as a throwback—an old-school warrior battling through dysfunction to provide a performance. That throwback nature sometimes takes things—physically and verbally—back to the streets. 

The caricature of the fighting man is played upon for mythical effect, but it draws people in. It puts bums on seats and pokes and prods fence-sitters to slide into Box Office and witness the spectacle. 

Fury and Ngannou held an element of the unknown, but it just marked time, creating tangential storylines on the road to history. That same road, for all of its bumps and potholes, has led to May 18 and an undisputed champion of the heavyweight division. Their styles contrast, as do their personalities. Deep down, aside from the bluster and bravado, the two champions know exactly what is at stake.

“Oleksandr Usyk is a great fighter,” added Fury, who has adopted a more deferential tone over recent days. “Olympic gold medalist, cruiserweight world champion, heavyweight world champion. But, unfortunately for him, he has to come against the great Tyson Fury in the era of me. I can’t wait for Saturday night.”

Usyk, the reigning WBA, WBO, and IBF champion, carries not only the weight of personal and professional expectations but also the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on his shoulders.

“I feel good. Saturday is a special day because I will have the opportunity to become undisputed for a second time,” he said. 

“It’s very good for me. It’s very important for my country. I like that. I really appreciate the support from my fans and Ukrainian soldiers.”

As a legendary heavyweight once muttered, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face, or the mouth, or the nose, or some part of the body, depending on who’s recalling the maxim. 

Nothing changes a fighter’s outlook and mindset like an opponent forcing them into corners. Forcing them to make mistakes and veer off track. Often speaking in terms of military strategy, Usyk and his backroom army have prepped and planned to the best of their collective ability.

“I have a plan. It’s a better plan. And it’s a great plan,” he furtively offered.

Two men, two teams, two grand plans, all constructed ahead of a grand arrival.

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