Facing Tyson Fury for boxing’s undisputed heavyweight championship remains part of the Oleksandr Usyk’s ‘strategy’, says the Ukrainian’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk.
Usyk is currently gearing up to take on Anthony Joshua in a rematch this summer after forcing the Brit to surrender his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in a unanimous decision victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
It had been anticipated that the eventual winner would emerge as a likely next opponent for Fury in a battle for the belts, though the Gypsy King’s future is uncertain after he underlined his intentions to retire from professional boxing in the wake of his knockout win against Dillian Whyte at Wembley.
“We shouldn’t look too far ahead,” said Krassyuk, “But the strategy is the strategy, it means the direction you have to go and this [facing Fury for undisputed] is exactly the direction.
Oleksandr Usyk beat Anthony Joshua on a unanimous points decision to become world heavyweight champion.
“He’s already unified, he has three belts. He has the rematch, a very serious rematch, Anthony Joshua has nothing to lose, nothing at all, he’s not fighting under pressure of his compatriots, of his home, of his belts. The only pressure he has is that if he loses it might sort of be the end of his career.
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“He might be more relaxed and now he has the experience of facing Usyk so probably has new things in his mind, new tricks to present. My anticipation is that it will be even harder this time, but still it is what it is.
“After he defends his title he will probably want to go for undisputed and you never know if it’s going to be Tyson Fury or if he definitely takes the final decision to retire and the belt is vacated and somebody else becomes champion. At this stage we are focused on Anthony Joshua.”
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Fury has been repeatedly quizzed on the level of truth to his retirement plans, and repeatedly reiterated his plans to step away from the ring with the exception of ‘exhibitions’ such as a crossover bout against UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
Oleksandr Usyk says he’s preparing to fight Anthony Joshua again this summer after previously beating him by unanimous decision back in September.
Krassyuk is among those refusing to believe it, and has tipped the 33-year-old to fight on while arguably in the prime of his career.
“I don’t take it seriously,” he said. “Once he is a 44-year-old who was tired of everything then it might be some sort of truth, but he is on top, the world loves him, the world supports him, his country stands behind him, we’ve seen so many times retirements with comebacks.
“I remember Vitali Klitschko taking the decision to retire and then to come back in a few years, Wladimir Klitschko retired six years ago but he is still considering, still thinking, still talking about the possible chance to come back. I don’t think it’s very likely he retires.
“You cannot trust what Tyson Fury says because today he says one thing and tomorrow he says the opposite, and next day he changes it half opposite.
Tyson Fury’s trainer Sugarhill Steward explains some of the reasons behind the fighter’s retirement, but won’t rule out a return.
“He’s an entertainer so he says what the public wants to hear from him. Just imagine, he insists on retirement and people around him try to convince to come back and he says, ‘no, no, no’ and suddenly he makes the decision, ‘okay, I will come back’.
“It’s all about the interest, all about the publicity. He’s a big entertainer. That might be what he really thinks at the moment but I’m not sure he will stay with this decision for a long time.”
Krassyuk was in attendance to watch Fury as he defended his WBC belt with a sixth-round uppercut knockout of Whyte, and evidently thought more of the occasion than he did of the contest itself.
“I wasn’t impressed with the fight, I was impressed with the event because the event was huge, an absolutely huge event, 94,000 in attendance, the atmosphere was just electric, it was an amazing experience for me as a normal fan,” he said.
“I didn’t see Tyson Fury improving very much with his shape from his last couple of performances. Since his first fight with Deontay Wilder he didn’t improve, that makes me think that if you stay on the same level and time goes by, it means you’re going down a bit.
“It was a regular heavyweight fight, with two clumsy big men walking around trying to hit each other, but the uppercut was a good one.”