Oleksandr Usyk’s ‘belly’ label for Tyson Fury seems to have struck a chord with fans.
Fury has made it his style to give his heavyweight rivals nicknames. He refers to Anthony Joshua as the bodybuilder, and branded Deontay Wilder a novice basketballer.
The man who stands in his way of him becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion is Usyk – or, to him, the middleweight or rabbit. The first because he boxed briefly as an amateur in that division, and the second because ‘he just looks like one.’
The Ukrainian has played Fury at his own game – something not many can – and came up with a moniker, too. Simply, ‘belly.’
In an interview with Sky Sports pundit and former footballer, Gary Neville, he mentioned it again, much to Neville’s delight.
Asked if he planned to punch that belly, Usyk said ‘of course.’
Fans, however, are beginning to feel doubtful. Negotiations have now reached the dragging on stage, and with a fight date of April 29 reportedly a dealbreaker for Fury, something must be announced soon.
It’s believed that, whilst the fighters trade nicknames and messages on social media, their teams behind the scenes are working towards a purse split that will make everyone happy.
Whether or not that solution can be found should be known in the next week or two. If it doesn’t happen, the missed opportunity will be yet another disappointment in the heavyweight division, which has not seen a sole champion since Lennox Lewis.
Since this is both fighters’ chance to cement a legacy as the best of a generation, and perhaps even higher praise, it’s one of if not the most important contest in the sport – and if that can’t be made, boxing is not in a good place.