Fury vs Usyk: ‘True Colors’

By Boxing News - 03/12/2023 - Comments

By Gary Todd: After months of speculation, rumors, and hope, terms have finally been agreed upon by both parties to stage the biggest fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis fought Holyfield for the undisputed title in 1999.

With only a handful of heavyweights to be crowned the undisputed champion, this one just doesn’t get any bigger, with two undefeated multiple world champions fighting in front of 95,000 fans at Wembley stadium.

April 29th was locked in, the stadium was booked, and reports were coming through that negotiations for the fight were becoming increasingly close to being done in a few days, to becoming altogether being shut down due to Tyson Fury’s demands for a 70% split, saying “ Usyk. You and your team are worth 30%. Take it or leave it ….every day you linger mess around, I’m gonna deduct 1% from the 30% …..tic tok pussies”

Usyk released a video in reply, saying, “ greedy belly, I accept your offer …70/30 split the fight with you on April 29th at Wembley, but you promise to donate to Ukraine immediately after the fight 1 million ( pounds) and every day of delay you will pay one percent of your purse to the Ukrainian people. Deal!”

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To try and put things into perspective and try to understand what makes Tyson Fury tick would be impossible. Through the years, his statements have been contradictory at best, and his actions and respect for fighters have been less than stellar. Fury has been a clown and a buffoon, he’s played a few cards, he’s been the baddie, he’s been a savior, and he’s entertained us in the ring , by showing boxing fans how tough he is, namely getting dropped from a bomb by the huge punching Deontay Wilder in the 12th round where he was stretched out and somehow managed to get back up to finish the fight. It was unbelievable. Fury would fight and beat Wilder again and again, leaving no doubt that he could fight, get knocked down, and get up again, time after time. Fury’s popularity had never been higher, his flame burning brighter than ever. The Gypsy King was a worldwide name in boxing, and yet he was running out of credible opponents.

There were ongoing talks of a massive fight with the behemoth, golden boy, Anthony Joshua, but he never followed the script as he kept getting beat and was so up and down so much, that the fight never materialized.

In 2022, Fury fought in packed arenas, fighting old sparring partners Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte, and he sparked both of them. Since parting ways with trainer Ben Davidson and joining the sugar hill gang, Fury has changed from being the fleet-footed boxer with the pawing slapping jab to the more feet-planting punching powerhouse that we expect from a heavyweight champion. With only rising heavyweight Joe Joyce being any kind of threat to him, there are talks of retirement again and more contradictions. There was even talk of Fury fighting wrestlers and UFC heavyweights for a pretty penny.

Oleksandr Usyk has been around for years. With hundreds of amateur fights under his belt, he dominated the cruiserweight division, becoming the undisputed champion, before jumping up in weight to fight the big boys at heavy. There were people saying he would be too small and questioning if he could hang tough with them. Usyk is 6’3, and he wasn’t carrying any unnecessary pounds when he stepped into the ring. He fought like he belonged.

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When he fought and beat Tony Bellew in his final fight at cruiserweight, this was his introduction to the UK and its fans. There were big money fights to be made, so that was the team Usyk’s strategy, but first, he had to fight the big punching American, Chazz Witherspoon. The American had some fighting pedigree, winning the golden gloves and also being the son of former champion Tim Witherspoon. Usyk proved to be too savvy and forced retirement in the 7th round.

Usyk would fight Derek Chisora in 2020, and he outboxed him over the 12 rounds. It was then announced Usyk would fight Anthony Joshua and there were more questions about the size difference and if the strength and power of Joshua would be too much for him.

The old adage of ‘ a good big man will always beat a good small man ‘ was thrown around repeatedly, but in the fight, Usyk outboxed, outgunned, and outsmarted Joshua to beat him in his own backyard.

A brilliant performance. The rematch was signed, and it was reported they would be fighting in the desert of Saudi Arabia. Usyk weighed in at 221lbs, and the 6’6 Joshua a solid 240.

In the rematch, Joshua fought with heart and soul, but in the end, Usyk had his number. Joshua had Usyk late in the fight but couldn’t pull the trigger, and he let Usyk off the hook to come back strong, winning again on points by a split decision to keep all the belts except the WBC.

As always, winning the belts is one thing; defending them against young, hungry mandatories is another. There is always someone waiting for their shot and one sanctioning body knocking at the door. Usyk had other plans, and all he had in his mind was to create history, a legacy for himself, his family, and Ukraine.

While Fury talked it up about retirement, money, and how much he needed or didn’t need, his ego exploded, and he thought he was bigger than the sport; and everywhere he went, he was reminded how good he was and how unbeatable he was, Usyk was going through hell which took him on a personal journey of grief and despair as his country and his people would be suffering together in a war-torn land so far away from boxing.

Both fighters would show their true colors. Usyk wore the ‘colors of Ukraine and freedom ‘while Fury wore the ‘color of money.’

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Gary Todd is an international bestselling author of his books and he has been involved in all aspects of the sport of boxing for over 30 years. For information, go to garytodd.org and check out his new book, “Annie’s Boy”