Oleksandr Usyk believes he can be the man to finally one-up Tyson Fury in a psychological battle before the bell.
‘The Gypsy King’ is well known for various intimidation techniques in the lead-up to bouts, long stare downs and childish insults part of his fight week armoury.
He claims to have mentally defeated Wladimir Klitschko in a sauna once, and took Deontay Wilder’s silence in the head-to-head for their third fight as a sign that the American was already beaten.
He may have met his match in Usyk, though. The Ukrainian is known for his poise at press conferences, often scribbling notes and doing maths puzzles as his opponents do the talking.
His calmness in the face of aggression was never more apparent than when he stepped to Fury at ringside following the Brit’s victory over Derek Chisora. Fury hurled insults at Usyk in front of a 60,000 strong Wembley crowd.
Gappy teeth, sucker, midget, rabbit, pr**k – Fury didn’t let up, but Usyk just held his gaze. He spoke to The Guardian about the moment.
“I think I was able to get into his head a little bit … I have been watching Tyson Fury get into the heads of his opponents for many years. And then I got into his head.”
Usyk then went on to say that Fury is a different person behind the scenes, picturing a scene where the man from Morecambe would get emotional at romantic films.
“When there are no cameras he is completely different. He plays the bad guy for the cameras. I think he likes movies about love and when he watches them he cries a little. And that’s not a bad thing. When I watch some sentimental movies, I can shed a tear too.”
It’s the latest quirky back and forth that has punctuated negotiations for the undisputed fight between the pair. Of course, there’s a fight after all the talk, and he ‘agreed completely’ when it was put to him that Fury was his toughest test in the ring.
Promoter Frank Warren has stated that the fight will take place on April 29, however an official announcement has yet to be made and it’s believed a venue is yet to be decided.