Barry McGuigan has gone against the grain in the boxing world, stating that Tyson Fury could be in for ‘a rude awakening’ when he faces Oleksandr Usyk.
It looks likely that the two heavyweight champions will face off in early 2023 to crown an undisputed champion for the first time in two decades.
Usyk, who previously held all the titles at Cruiserweight, is the underdog in the eyes of most pundits – Fury’s sheer size and strength being the deciding factor in their predictions.
McGuigan, a former fighter now manager, believes Usyk will surprise many people. He first wrote in his Mirror column that Fury’s skills were once sharper.
“I’m not convinced that Fury is the fighter he was, based on what I saw against Derek Chisora. Del Boy is durable and stands in front of you. And, yes, Fury boxed the ears off him but never looked like taking him out.
I’m not sure 19-and-a-half stone suits Fury. He should come in 10 pounds lighter and be more nimble against Usyk, which he will need to be. In prepping for the Anthony Joshua fights, Usyk sparred four or five big guys and battered them.”
He also believes that Usyk is the better boxer of the two, writing on Twitter that size may be the only thing the Morecambe man has going for him in the match up.
“Fury may be bigger but he is most definitely NOT the better boxer of the two. He has the clear physical advantages but Usyk punches the living daylights out of the big boys, he has a field day with them because of his speed and his southpaw stance they can’t hit him.”
Fury may be bigger but he is most definitely NOT the better boxer of the two. He has the clear physical advantages but Usyk punches the living daylights out of the big boys, he has a field day with them because of his speed and his southpaw stance they can’t hit him. https://t.co/Warf0gk4a6
— Barry McGuigan (@ClonesCyclone) December 24, 2022
The hall of famer continued to talk up Usyk’s skills in his column, believing the undefeated Ukrainian to be ‘outstanding.’
“In my experience as a fighter, it is almost impossible to land a clean jab against an elite southpaw. Usyk is also a brilliant counter-puncher, and though he does not have lights-out power, he is so durable and physically strong. Tactically, he is outstanding”
[Fury] will be odds-on to win but when you drill down, it is a more difficult fight for him than Wilder or Klitschko. Fury relies on his size and intimidation. But Usyk does not scare easily. The way he stared down Fury at the Chisora fight told us that.”
Finally, McGuigan compared the fight to Usyk’s previous two wins over Anthony Joshua.
“Usyk was too good for Joshua, who improved considerably in the second fight. Joshua is a decent attacking fighter, too, better than Fury on the front foot.
Fury is essentially a box fighter. He rarely comes forward until he has to. Speed is the issue. Usyk is not only a southpaw who moves brilliantly and takes a shot, he has epic speed.
I think this is a much tougher fight for Fury than he thinks it is. And, like Joshua, he could be in for a rude awakening.”
Negotiations are ongoing, but an announcement as to the date and location of the contest is expected soon.