By: Sean Crose
With the fight world waiting on a match between WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk, Fury has taken pains to get inside Usyk’s head – much the way he did with Usyk’s fellow Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, before their 2015 showdown. Usyk, however, is not Klitschko. Rather than simply pretending to brush Fury off, Usyk has decided to rise to the occasion and meet Fury on his own turf. Referring to the supersized Fury as “Belly,” Usyk has taken to mocking the fighter known as “The Gypsy King” on social media. On Tuesday, however, things took a different turn.
“Fury,” Usyk wrote, “you talk about greatness in Boxing. At the same time you say ‘give me a lot of money.’ Greatness in Boxing is not determined by money, greatness comes from a victorious path.” Ouch. But the undefeated Usyk wasn’t done yet. “You say that I avoid you, although I never have, and in fact I’ve even come to you. I’m ready to box you even without any prize money!” A bold statement, no doubt, one that might well be true – not that Usyk and Fury won’t be well paid if/when their expected match comes to fruition.
With that in mind, Usyk’s post indicates that there may be some friction in contract negotiations between his team and team Fury. The word around the campfire is the bout is very nearly a done deal, so it might not be wise to look too deeply into Usyk’s statement. In boxing – especially contemporary boxing – however, one can never be too sure. Needless to say, there’s little doubt Fury will respond in kind to Usyk’s post one way or another. Here, after all, is a guy who enjoys sparring outside the ring as well as inside it. And he may have found his perfect sparring partner in Usyk.