Oleksandr Usyk has given an insight into his mindset and game plan ahead of a potential undisputed clash with Tyson Fury in 2023.
The Ukrainian fighter – who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring heavyweight titles – wants to collect the final belt to be the top dog in the heavyweight division, just like he did at cruiserweight.
The man standing in his way is a self-proclaimed ‘behemoth.’ Fury has held the WBC title since February 2020, and the winner of his fight with Usyk will be the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
With so much on the line, and given that it’s the sport’s premier division, fans might expect both fighters to be entering the ring looking for a stoppage. Not the Ukrainian, though. Despite more than half of his professional scraps not seeing the final bell, ‘The Cat’ told Polish newspaper Interia that he never looks to hurt his opponents.
“He’s a well-trained big guy, he knows what to do. It won’t be a walk, I know it, but I’m ready. I will do absolutely anything to win. When I go into the ring – I never give myself a task [to] knock out another player.”
“I am very happy when I win on points. Because a knockout is a hard thing for an athlete. I don’t want to take health away from anyone. And I’m really happy when we both get out of the ring on our own. Before each fight, I am asking God for it. Of course I like to win, but I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Usyk’s two latest victories were points decisions over Anthony Joshua. It was in those fights that he won and retained his belts through incredible boxing skill and sheer grit to exchange with the bigger man.
In the other corner, ‘The Gypsy King’ is not likely to be as kind when he’s considering ways to win. Since he linked up with trainer SugarHill Steward and employed the famous Kronk Gym style, he’s been knocking opponents out for fun.
With two stoppage wins over Deontay Wilder and one against Dillian Whyte, Fury will be looking for another early night at the office when, or if, he does face Usyk.