Heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang has given his thoughts ahead of the undisputed clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury and Usyk are set to face each other on February 17 to decide the number one in the division – the first time such a champion has been crowned since the days of Lennox Lewis.
‘The Gypsy King’ was a heavy favourite in the eyes of most before his fight against Francis Ngannou last month. The former UFC champion shocked the world when he knocked Fury down in the third round and only lost by a close split decision on the scorecards.
Before that night, Zhang, who is coming off a second knockout victory over Joe Joyce, was confident that Fury would relieve Usyk of his belts.
“Tyson Fury’s got almost every advantage you can get. The height. The reach. The distance, and the slickness. Tyson Fury prevails. But we’ll see.”
However, since that shock performance against Ngannou, Zhang told All Out Fighting that he now believes the fight is much closer and the Ukrainian will ‘definitely’ give the WBC champion problems.
“With that performance last night Fury will definitely have problems with Usyk let alone myself. We need to see what happens with Tyson Fury because he said he trained hard and the camp went well, but the performance says otherwise.
I’ve started to lose my interest the unification as well based on the Fury performance, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, however, the money guys behind Tyson Fury probably think otherwise.”
Zhang is currently in the WBO mandatory position and could be in line for a shot at the title in 2024 if he maintains his winning form.