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Tyson Fury’s classless judge claim an insult to dazzling Oleksandr Usyk

Written by on May 19, 2024

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk becomes the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the 21st century after defeating Tyson Fury on a split decision – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Stunned by the remorseless brilliance of Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury lost more than his unbeaten record on this brutal night of reckoning. He also forfeited any right to be called a gracious loser with his classless claim that the judges had only awarded the Ukrainian victory because his country was at war (vote here if you agree). It was a gross insult to the courage of his opponent, who brought the reign of the Gypsy King to a shuddering close with a bravura display, channelling the pain of a shattered nation to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Fury, by contrast, ended his evening looking like a clown. How he had mocked Usyk, jinking his head from side to side in the corner and gurning to the crowd. If this was supposed to be his imitation of Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope, it did not work. Usyk simply studied this play-acting with contempt, weathering the worst that Fury could throw at him – including one fearsome sixth-round upper cut that contributed to a broken jaw – before dominating the second half of the fight.

“I believe I won,” boasted Fury, unable to compute defeat to a man on whom he had six inches’ advantage in height and seven in reach. Craig Metcalfe, the judge who scored the bout 114-113 in his favour to ensure a split decision, was about the only person in the Kingdom Arena who agreed with him. Usyk fully deserved this triumph, his superiority never more vivid than during an unforgettable ninth round, where he pummelled Fury with a ferocity that caused his legs to crumple. He was given a standing count, saved only by the ropes and the bell.

Oleksandr UsykOleksandr Usyk

What it was all about – the undisputed heavyweight title belt with its new owner Usyk – Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

Usyk had made it clear that the Russian invasion of his country, now in its third year, would provide a motivation that no adversary could match. And so it proved, with his focus so unrelenting that he denied Fury any hope of a late resurrection. It was deeply moving to see him hoist Ukraine’s aloft at the end, and to watch his embrace with Wladimir Klitschko. His connection to the war is profound: he gives money to volunteers in the regions under greatest threat, and he texts frontline soldiers who regard him as emblematic of their struggle.

Even the stuffed toy donkey that he brought into the building was a nod to the conflict, with his daughter Yelizaveta having handed it to him when he was forced by the fighting to train abroad. Fortified by gestures large and small, Usyk unleashed a maelstrom to which Fury had no answer. The only response was that baseless accusation in a TV interview that Usyk had been given preferential treatment out of sympathy for Ukraine’s plight. Except this result was not born of bloc voting, Eurovision-style. It was a reflection only of a stunning performance.

Usyk might be dwarfed by Fury, but in word and deed he so often comes across as the bigger man. All week Fury had goaded him, threatening to “knock this little f—– spark out”. He was at it again even as Usyk toasted victory, patronising him as a “good little man”. But it was Fury who appeared small, first failing to back up his crass pre-fight taunts and then devaluing the fulfilment of Usyk’s noble quest by alleging, baselessly, that the officials had shown pity.

Fury dominated the early rounds but Usyk fought back wellFury dominated the early rounds but Usyk fought back well

Fury dominated the early rounds but Usyk fought back well – PA/Nick Potts

Never once did Usyk, having paraded on his ringwalk in vibrant Cossack warrior regalia, look deterred. He announced his intent by striking with three clinical left hands, a tactic that drew familiar play-acting from Fury, who preened and postured, absorbing the unexpected bombardment and taunting Usyk to take greater risks. The problem was that Usyk barely seemed perturbed, continuing to come forward. His sheer technical proficiency shone through as he created unexpected angles and dazzled with his speed. Fury’s reaction? To tease, to torment, even to raise his hands and ask for more.

After three frantic rounds, Fury settled on the tactic of aiming squarely for Usyk’s midriff. It was a canny ploy: after all, Usyk had called a low blow against Britain’s Daniel Dubois last year before being allowed almost four minutes by the referee to recover. Fury was steadily gaining in confidence, and at halfway the damage began to tell. With one savage upper cut, he knocked Usyk back on his feet. It was perhaps the most this indomitable fighter had been hurt in his career, and Fury sensed blood, wagging his tongue mischievously at the audience as the bell tolled.

Throughout the bout Usyk landed a lot with his left, including this one which really rocked FuryThroughout the bout Usyk landed a lot with his left, including this one which really rocked Fury

Throughout the bout Usyk landed a lot with his left, including this one which really rocked Fury – Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

Hubris was to be his downfall. Under the impression that he was building an unassailable points lead, Fury let his concentration slip, his movement turning leaden. Alarmingly, a cut was developing beside his eye – an area that had required more than 60 stitches in previous years – as his head grew smeared with blood.

Remarkably, Usyk was discovering an extra gear, confirmed with two quickfire left hooks that rocked Fury back on his feet. In the ninth, he exploded, detonating a truly stunning barrage, with one lethal left causing Fury to slump back on the ropes for support. Usyk pounced with a series of concussive blows that left Fury haggard, exhausted, bewildered. With his legs having all but given way, it was all he could do to last the 12 rounds.

Fury did well not to fall to the canvas as Usyk hit him with a barrage of punchesFury did well not to fall to the canvas as Usyk hit him with a barrage of punches

In the ninth Fury did well not to fall to the canvas as Usyk hit him with a barrage of punches – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

He announced that he would be activating a rematch clause later this year in an effort to salvage lost pride. But it felt as if this fight had shaken more than Fury’s conception of himself. He had blustered beforehand that, of the estimated 117 million members of the human species ever born on Earth, nobody could beat him. Usyk could, though, laying bare not just the vacuity of Fury’s bombast but the inability to take a loss with humility.

He produced both a boxing masterclass and an object lesson in how great heavyweights could still behave with decency and integrity. Undisputed: it was a label that sat comfortably on his shoulders. As for Fury, his circus-act excesses punished, the howls of injustice could hardly have rung more hollow.


Usyk shocks Fury: As it happened . . .


01:06 AM BST

Lennox Lewis – ‘Fury was boxing like he won the fight’

Fury was boxing like he won the fight. No boxer can judge and say they won the fight. For me, everytime a round was close they should look at it like a loss.


12:58 AM BST

Usyk with the belts

Usyk said the win was big for UkraineUsyk said the win was big for Ukraine

Usyk said the win was big for Ukraine – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

UsykUsyk

The Ukrainian was brilliant in Riyadh and ultimately just edged Tyson Fury – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge


12:51 AM BST

Gareth A Davies’ verdict – Usyk deserved it


12:50 AM BST

Usyk speaks: ‘It’s a great day for me and my country’

“Thank you so much, my God, Jesus. Mister Excellency, thank you. It’s big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. It’s a great day for me and a great day for my country, Slava Ukraine.”


12:46 AM BST

Fury: ‘I believe I won that fight..we’ll come back in October’

“I believe I won that fight. I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won majority of them. And I believe it was – what can you do? – one of them decisions in boxing.

“We’ve both put on a good fight. Best we could do. And, you know, his country’s at war. So people are siding with a country at war. But make no mistake, I’ve won that fight in my opinion, and I’ll be back. We’ve got a rematch clause.

“You know, I thank Jesus for all the victories he’s given me. I’ve dropped a split decision to the good little man, and I thank him again in the mighty name of Jesus. We go back home to our families and we’ll run it back in October.”

Usyk nearly sent Fury down to the canvas and it may well have been the incident that swung the fight in his favourUsyk nearly sent Fury down to the canvas and it may well have been the incident that swung the fight in his favour

Usyk nearly sent Fury down to the canvas and it may well have been the incident that swung the fight in his favour – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


12:39 AM BST

The Ukrainian wins with a split decision

And is the new undisputed heavyweight champion of the world!

The moment Fury was nearly sent to the canvasThe moment Fury was nearly sent to the canvas

The moment Fury was nearly sent to the canvas – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


12:37 AM BST

USYK WINS!

115-112 Usyk

114-113 Fury

114- 113 Usyk


12:36 AM BST

Waiting for the judges’ scores, while we wait…

Gareth A Davies’ final score114-113 in favour of Usyk

We will see shortly whether he’s right


12:35 AM BST

So close…

Round Eleven

Usyk 10-9

Two battle hardened warriors giving their all in championship rounds

Usyk by dint of a few punches in a very close round

Round Twelve

Fury 10-9

Fury starts strong. The Briton’s head snapped back by a left. Big right from Fury

Fury… just…


12:33 AM BST

Round Twelve: It’s gone the distance, down to the judges now…

It all comes down to this, it’s a one-round bout now…

Usyk is known as a good closer and again has Fury on the ropes as he lands a good left. But the Briton comes back well, Usyk tries an overhand left, he’s had a lot of joy with the left and he nearly catches Fury with another. The Briton responds with a right of his own. This has been a fine fight…

A right hand from Fury hurts Usyk but the Briton doesn’t follow it up…Thirty seconds left and they are both throwing punches, few land.

It’s over with Fury still showboating.

They will have earned each other’s respect there – what a fight. It ebbed and flowed brilliantly.

The pair hug in the ring.


12:29 AM BST

Round Eleven: Two tired fighters out there now

Is this bout destined to be a draw? It’s anyone’s guess but both are looking tired out there at the moment. Fury catches Usyk with a good body punch but fewer punches are landing now, the energy levels have, understandably, dropped. Whatever happens Fury has shown grit as the round ends with another good left from the Ukrainian.

Who would want to be a judge at the moment?

FuryFury

Fury


12:26 AM BST

Round Ten: Good powers of recovery from Fury

You think Uysk has to go on the attack again and try win it this round. The Ukrainian is on the attack with Fury against the ropes not landing anything. It’s all Usyk, but it’s less frantic than the ninth round and that’s helping Fury who is still well in this bout, having ridden out the storm, great powers of recovery from the Briton.

Uysk is again on the attack who is landing punches aplenty. Better from Fury but still Uysk’s round.

FuryFury

Fury

Round Nine

Usyk 10-8

Fury bleeding left eye cut. Great lefts Usyk. Great attack – Fury out on his feet. Barrage of 14 punches. Such drama.

Round Ten

Usyk 10-9

Great recovery from Fury landed a powerful right but Usyk volume wins that round. Both fatigued…


12:21 AM BST

Round Nine: Fury really hurt as Uysk is on the attack

Great fight so far and Uysk has come back very well. He’s having a lot of success with the left, that was the punch that hurt Fury’s eye, but the Briton lands a strong body punch, this is intense stuff. Fury lands a big right but Uysk is then rattled by a huge left and Uysk is back-peddalling, he somehow stays on his feet but there’s nothing in the legs as the Ukrainian keeps coming forward. The Briton is ultimately saved by the bell. That opening left really shook up Fury and had it been in the middle of the ring he was on the canvas. Fury saved by the ropes and bell there…


12:18 AM BST

Round Eight: Usyk’s round as he catches Fury’s left eye

Fury looks fresh out there but Usyk lands a nice shot, he’s far from beaten and is showing plenty of character, the good ending to the seventh seems to have spurred him on. The pair then exchange two good hits, Uysk has gone up a gear here with Fury now in the middle of the ring trying to push the Ukrainian back. Fury is caught by a good jab and Fury has to wipe his nose. Uysk is on the up and it looks as though Fury’s left eye is hurt, there’s blood on the Briton’s face and he doesn’t look so fresh now. Usyk’s round that…

FuryFury

Fury

Round Seven

Usyk 10-9

Fury landed some great shots but got greedy hands low…

Usyk had a great end to the round and landed the more telling punches

Round Eight

Usyk 10-9

Great comeback from Usyk. Squeezing the space. Usyk wins big exchange

Great comeback from the Ukrainian in last two rounds – great lefts


12:12 AM BST

Round Seven: Strong finish from Uysk, bout far from over

Fury has most probably won the past four rounds and Usyk needs to do something and soon. Uysk is caught by a right uppercut, not for the first time tonight…Fury then catches him with a good combination. But then the Ukrainian fights back and catches Fury with a couple of punches, strong finish from the Ukrainian. This bout is far from over.


12:08 AM BST

Round Six: Fury’s most-dominant round

Fury won that last round and you feel as though Usyk could do with some sort of statement this round…He’s again on the attack but not having much luck, he found the target in the opening rounds, but not so much these past three rounds.

A Fury right hand really hurts Usyk, that’s followed up with another and the Ukrainian is back-pedalling, chance for the Briton to end the fight with a minute left? Usyk is still on his feet but look shaken. Definitely Fury’s round without question.

Round Five

Fury 10-9

Fury starting to land long shots…Usyk still pressing but looking a tad fatigued

Round Six

Fury 10-9

Uppercut from Fury to the body. It creates stillness in Usyk. Fury going after Usyk now busting him up. Huge right from Fury. Goading and teasing Usyk


12:04 AM BST

Round Five: Fury is using his reach well

Fury hits Usyk with what looks like a low blow, the Ukrainian doesn’t look happy with that…Fury then follows up with a fine legitimate punch, another right jab to the body. Usyk is looking the tireder of the two…

Fury is using his reach well, we thought that might be key and so far it has indeed proved to be. The Briton is looking the stronger of the two, just…


12:00 AM BST

Round Four: Fury looking more comfortable as Usyk is on the attack

This fight is 50-50 but Fury is looking more comfortable the longer it goes on, continuing with the jab looking as though there’s a bit more meat in that right hand. Another nice left from the Ukrainian but Fury is then hits him on the temple with his own left and Usyk looks slightly hurt. Fury then gets in a good uppercut, he’s looking the better fighter in this round. But as I type that the Ukrainian is coming forward and taking him on and landing some shots. Another tight (ish) round but Fury looking calm.

Round Three

Fury 10-9

Both looking dangerous. Big body shot from Fury, Usyk felt that. Fury more aggressive but working from the outside.

Round Four

Fury 10-9

Fury switches southpaw Looks very  confident

They clash heads Big uppercut Fury

But Fury just edges it… brilliant fight so far

Physical chess

FuryFury

Fury


11:56 PM BST

Round Three: Less frantic than the opening two rounds

Uysk is still being aggressive and is landing with those left handers, this round is less frantic than the first two, there’s a bit of hugging from Fury on the Ukrainian, trying to drain him of energy. Fury then lands a couple of jabs, good work from the Briton but as I type that Usyk comes back. Another tight round.

FuryFury

Fury


11:52 PM BST

Round Two: Fury getting in the ones and twos

Usyk picks up where he left off the first round as he goes on the attack and lands with a couple of good punches. Fury has only landed the jab do far, the Ukrainian is looking sharper at the moment…but early days. Fury lands with a good right and he’s getting in the ones and twos but Usyk isn’t fazed and continues to come forward. The Ukrainian is landing with the left and that was another entertaining, closely fought round.

Round One

Usyk 10-9

Great pressure from Usyk working to the body – fast start Creating great angles

Very fast start

Round Two

Fury 10-9

Big right left Usyk put Fury on ropes Fury comes back strongly

Three body shots landed by the Gypsy King. He grins. Usyk felt those

FuryFury

Fury


11:47 PM BST

Round One: Big overhand left from Usyk as Fury uses the jab

They’re underway in Riyadh, Fury in dark green shorts and Usyk in white, yellow and blue shorts. Fury comes out and dominates the centre of the ring early on, but the Ukrainian then replaces him and Fury is out, as expected, with the jab, that will be crucial tonight. They are both targeting the body, no fireworks in the first 90 seconds. Usyk looks so much smaller in there, but he looks calm in there as he gets in a couple of jabs to Fury’s stomach. The Briton then mocks him and smiles at the crowd as he’s stuck in the corner. The rounds ends with a big overhand left from Usyk who then goes on the attack. The Ukrainian with the first meaningful punch of the bout. It was a tight round however. The round ends with a bit of showboating from Fury…

FuryFury

Fury


11:41 PM BST

‘Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMBBLLLE’

Buffer has uttered his trademark line and we’re moments away from the opening bell.


11:38 PM BST

Michael Buffer

As you’d expect is in charge of pre-fight announcement duty…


11:36 PM BST

National anthem time

The Ukrainian anthem is followed by God Save the King…


11:34 PM BST

Now time for Tyson Fury

The Briton comes out to the sound of Barry White’s You Are The First, the Last, my Everything, good tune. He’s beaten in the outfit stakes, though, deciding to just come out in a backwards baseball cap and dark-green sleeveless jacket. The music changes to Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero, retro…

He looks so relaxed, as though he’s just off for a sparring session at the local gym…

FuryFury

Fury


11:30 PM BST

Time for the ring walks

Uysk is out first and he’s wearing a fur hat and a green military-looking long coat, he looks like an updated Cossack. He’s now in the ring and still got that hat on, must be hot…Hollywood actor Liev Schreiber is with him for some reason…

UyskUysk

Uysk


11:22 PM BST

Now there is some live music

Not sure why we need this when surely the first undisputed heavyweight title fight for 25 years is entertainment enough…will sporting bodies/organisers ever learn?


11:19 PM BST

The Saudi Arabian national anthem is being played

It’s a short number dominated by trumpets, not bad…


11:14 PM BST

The Dazn presenters

Are teeing up the ring walks and saying that more fans at Kingdom Arena are backing Fury:

“This is like a home fight for Tyson Fury.”


11:05 PM BST

Not long to go now

Here, once again, are the pre-fight thoughts of Gareth A Davies.


10:58 PM BST

Jai Opetaia has beaten Mairis Briedis by unanimous decision

Briedis came back into the bout in the final few rounds, but it was too little too late as the Australian won the backing of all the judges.


10:55 PM BST

Ronaldo now has Neymar for company


10:52 PM BST

Fury is nearly ready

The Briton is getting his hands taped up ahead of the biggest fight this century.

Tyson FuryTyson Fury

Tyson Fury


10:42 PM BST

Opetaia up to heavyweight? David Haye thinks so….

Jai Opetaia dominating every round here. Really is a brilliant, talented cruiserweight. No 1 in division for me by a long way. David Haye sitting near me and I just asked him if Opetaia can win a world title at heavyweight ?

We watched the next round together.

“Yep he’s good enough and he can do it…” responded the man who won world titles in two divisions. But would Jai have beaten you DH ? “It would have been a very tough night.”

Jai Opetaia has a bright future ahead of himJai Opetaia has a bright future ahead of him

Jai Opetaia has a bright future ahead of him – PA/Nick Potts


10:39 PM BST

In the penultimate fight of the night

It’s been all one-way traffic from Jai Opetaia as he takes on Mairis Briedis for a second time in the cruiserweight division. Briedis has blood flowing from his nose and the Australian is easily ahead in scoring. Opetaia is one to watch out for in the future, one to move up to heavyweight, a la Usyk.

Mairis Briedis suffered a cut to his nose in his fight against Jai OpetaiaMairis Briedis suffered a cut to his nose in his fight against Jai Opetaia

Mairis Briedis suffered a cut to his nose in his fight against Jai Opetaia – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge


10:32 PM BST

Stevie G wishes Fury well


10:27 PM BST

Boxing summed up in one pic

It’s from Northern Irishman Anthony Cacache’s victory over Wales’s Joe Cordina earlier this evening.


10:24 PM BST

Who do the experts think will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world?

It’s clear that there is little between the two fighters, you can make good arguments for both Fury and Usyk. But here are what the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson and Anthony Joshua think will be lifting all the belts in Riyadh.

READ: Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk predictions: What boxing experts are saying about the fight

Fury and UsykFury and Usyk

It’s sure to be an intense bout in Saudi Arabia – Shutterstock /Ali Haider


10:16 PM BST

Double impact

As one of Belgium’s most famous exports Jean-Claude Van Damme enters Kingdom Arena.


09:59 PM BST

No awkward seating arrangements this time for Ronaldo

He is sitting next to Anthony Joshua, unlike last time when he had the misfortune to be plonked next to Conor McGregor.

READ: Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo spared another Conor McGregor meeting as he sits with Anthony Joshua

This time Cristiano Ronaldo got to sit next to Anthony JoshuaThis time Cristiano Ronaldo got to sit next to Anthony Joshua

This time Cristiano Ronaldo got to sit next to Anthony Joshua – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


09:55 PM BST

“It will be an amazing spectacle with everything to play for.”

Here are the pre-fight thoughts of Gareth A Davies who is ringside in Riyadh.


09:46 PM BST

Cordina has just been beaten by Cacache

The fight was stopped in the eighth. Wales’ Cordina earlier was knocked down, but got up. Alas he couldn’t live with the Northern Irishman’s power and the ref had to step in to end the bout.

As predicted, an amazing new super-featherweight champion in Cacace. Sustained pressure after round four. So well deserved.

Anthony Cacace overpowered Joe Cordina in RiyadhAnthony Cacace overpowered Joe Cordina in Riyadh

Anthony Cacace overpowered Joe Cordina in Riyadh – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


09:25 PM BST

Wales’ Joe Cordina is in the ring facing Anthony Cacache

In this IBF super-featherweight contest, and it’s not going well, so far..

Been saying all week that Joe Cordina looked very very tight at the weight. Anthony ‘The Apache’ Cacache has looked in great physical shape conversely and my hunch was that Cordina may struggle. Torrid third round for the Welshman. The Apache will not let him off… body shots coming.


09:21 PM BST

Agit Kabayel, future contender?

Very impressed by Agit Kabayel. Huge victory over Frank Sanchez. He’s definitely a future world-title contender.

Agit KabayelAgit Kabayel

Agit Kabayel dominated Frank Sanchez throughout his seven-round win in Riyadh – PA/Nick Potts


09:15 PM BST

A fight well worth the hype

Here’s Gareth A Davies’s take on the first undisputed heavyweight title flight for a quarter of a century.

There are sub-plots aplenty to this fight. Like Fury’s cut eye which he sustained in sparring just under two months ago, and how he may be affected by that. How much sparring the 35-year-old will have been able to get involved in for the last seven weeks is one talking point; conversely, so too the fact that Usyk has completed back to back to back training camps due to the postponement of the contest twice, and that he may have been worn down mentally by the wait. All important in these contests.

READ: Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will be a fight for the ages

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr UsykTyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk


08:57 PM BST

‘I like him with a bit of weight on him’

That’s Lennox Lewis on Tyson Fury, questioning the Briton’s decision to come into this fight leaner than usual.


08:55 PM BST

Cristiano and AJ chew the fat

The poster boy for Saudi football has arrived and plonked himself next to Joshua. He’s gone for a relaxed look, wearing shorts. It’s a smart-summery look…

Anthony Joshua and Cristiano Ronaldo are sitting next to each other at Kingdom ArenaAnthony Joshua and Cristiano Ronaldo are sitting next to each other at Kingdom Arena

Anthony Joshua and Cristiano Ronaldo are sitting next to each other at Kingdom Arena – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Joshua and RonaldoJoshua and Ronaldo

Joshua and Ronaldo – two men who seem to like Saudi Arabia – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


08:45 PM BST

Agit Kabayel impresses once again

Heavyweight Agit Kabayel has just defeated Cuban boxer Frank Sanchez. The German knocked out the Cuban in the seventh round and Kabayel, who remains undefeated, was impressive from the start. Many pundits felt this was a 50-50 fight but it was, on the basis of what we’ve just seen, more 90-10.

Agit Kabayel punches Frank Sanchez during his seven-round winAgit Kabayel punches Frank Sanchez during his seven-round win

Agit Kabayel punches Frank Sanchez during his seven-round win – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

It's all over for Sanchez after Agit Kabayel put him down to the canvas in RiyadhIt's all over for Sanchez after Agit Kabayel put him down to the canvas in Riyadh

It’s all over for Sanchez after Agit Kabayel put him down to the canvas in Riyadh – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge


08:38 PM BST

There was a little hors d’oeuvrs ahead of tonight’s fight…

…at the weigh-in. More handbags than heavy punches, however…


08:29 PM BST

Tyson Fury has now arrived at Kingdom Arena

He’s looking very dapper, wearing a white and gold suit, a wide-brimmed hat and shades…he, like Usyk, doesn’t look worried/stressed/intense at all.


08:22 PM BST

Wonder what Joshua is thinking…

He’s ringside watching the undercard fights.

Anthony JoshuaAnthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua will be watching the title fight with a lot of interest, one imagines… – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport, and Anthony Joshua,Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport, and Anthony Joshua,

AJ with Eddie Hearn in Riyadh, when will we see the Briton face the winner of tonight’s bout? – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


08:18 PM BST

Oleksandr Usyk

Has arrived at Kingdom Arena, he’s looking relaxed. All things being well we’re about two hours 45 minutes (ish) away from the ring walks…

The significance of the Eeyore toy he’s carrying? He had it at the Anthony Joshua fight and said: “It’s my daughter’s. She gave it to me to be my talisman and said, ‘This needs to be right next to you.’ It is always close to me.”


07:59 PM BST

AJ is in town


07:54 PM BST

Mighty Moses could have a bright future

I have named Moses Itauma ‘The Takeover’. This kid 19 years old is super talented and may well be the future of the heavyweight division. I have spent some time with him in the Hilton Hotel here this week and I have begun documenting his life. I have also chatted to his father and his brothers this week. Learning of him running out of school, aged 15, to spar with Joe Joyce makes the mind boggle. After nine fights and the Kent kid was meant to win tonight he is so level headed and very mature. Fact he’s a southpaw also gives Moses huge advantages. Another victory, and back out in early June.


07:49 PM BST

Another quick fight on the undercard

This time heavyweight Moses Itauma made light work of Ilja Mezencev. The hot British prospect knocked out his opponent in the second round. He’s been on record saying he wants to be the youngest heavyweight champion ever and this impressive win does that target no harm at all.

Moses Itauma won in double-quick time against Ilja MezencevMoses Itauma won in double-quick time against Ilja Mezencev

Moses Itauma won in double-quick time against Ilja Mezencev – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Mezencev didn't last long against Britain's ItaumaMezencev didn't last long against Britain's Itauma

Mezencev didn’t last long against Britain’s Itauma – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Moses ItaumaMoses Itauma

Moses Itauma is a hot, young prospect in the heavyweight division – PA/Nick Potts


07:39 PM BST

How Fury and Usyk match up

Both Fury and Usyk into the fight with unbeaten records – the Ukrainian is 21-0 and the Briton has 34 wins and one draw on his CV. Something has to give here and we have analysed how each of the two world champions can make history at the Kingdom Arena on Saturday night.

Here’s how the two boxers bidding for history match up.

READ: Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: How the fighters match up


07:18 PM BST

Chamberlain underlines promise

The UK’s Mark Chamberlain has just knocked out Nigeria’s WBO Africa Super Featherweight champion Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab in the first round. It lasted all of two minutes 40 seconds and underlines his promise. Chamberlain is a favourite of Turki Alalshikh the influential Saudi who put together tonight, explaining why he was on tonight’s undercard.

Mark Chamberlain was hugely impressive in the Saudi capital this eveningMark Chamberlain was hugely impressive in the Saudi capital this evening

Mark Chamberlain was hugely impressive in the Saudi capital this evening – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Chamberlain took little time to send Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab down to the canvasChamberlain took little time to send Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab down to the canvas

Chamberlain took little time to send Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab down to the canvas – PA/Nick Potts

There was no comeback for Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab after a torrid opening two minutes of his bout against ChamberlainThere was no comeback for Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab after a torrid opening two minutes of his bout against Chamberlain

There was no comeback for Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab after a torrid opening two minutes of his bout against Chamberlain – Getty Images/Richard Pelham


07:09 PM BST

Safar edges Kovalev

Robin Sirwan Safar has just beaten Sergey Kovalev by unanimous points decision in their cruiserweight battle on the undercard. It’s fair to say that the best days of Kovalev, the man who once beat Bernard Hopkins, are well behind him.

Robin Safar outfought Sergey Kovalev in the Saudi Arabian capitalRobin Safar outfought Sergey Kovalev in the Saudi Arabian capital

Robin Safar outfought Sergey Kovalev in the Saudi Arabian capital – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge


06:53 PM BST

A lot of famous fighters from the past are in Riyadh tonight

And one of them is Roberto Duran wearing a watch that looks a bit more expensive than your average Swatch.


06:43 PM BST

Tyson Fury’s story

Nicely put together short film here…


06:34 PM BST

Fury can count on the support of…

…Steven Gerrard tonight. Think that’s more impressive than having Liev Schreiber fighting your corner…


06:31 PM BST

Dazn are interviewing…

…American actor Liev Schreiber at the moment, not sure why…anyway the star of such hit films as The Painted Veil (good film, you should watch it…) and Scream 3 (not so good…) wants Usyk to win due to his Ukrainian ancestry, but thinks Fury might do it.

US actor Liev Schreiber is in Riyadh tonightUS actor Liev Schreiber is in Riyadh tonight

US actor Liev Schreiber is in Riyadh tonight – AP/Charles Sykes


06:23 PM BST

Here’s the complete lowdown on the fight

From what the boxers are saying, to who is on the undercard, here’s everything you need to know about Fight Night in the Saudi Arabian capital.

READ: Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: When is today’s fight, how to watch and the undercard line-up

The fighters at the weigh-inThe fighters at the weigh-in

The fighters at the weigh-in – Shutterstock /Ali Haider

Oleksandr Usyk wants to win for UkraineOleksandr Usyk wants to win for Ukraine

Oleksandr Usyk wants to win for Ukraine – Shutterstock/Ali Haider

Tyson FuryTyson Fury

Tyson Fury says he’s going to do a ‘demolition job’ on Usyk – Shutterstock /Ali Haider


05:32 PM BST

Fury out to do ‘demolition job’ on Usyk

An undisputed heavyweight title fight is as rare as as a boxer not talking up his chances before going into the ring. There hasn’t been one this millennium and so, for once, tonight sees a bout well worth the considerable hype.

Not since Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield 25 years ago have all the belts been up for grabs, and they’re not the only things on the line in Saudi Arabia.

Both Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are undefeated in their professional boxing careers so far and the winner of the bout will become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era.

Fury holds the WBC belt, which he won in 2020 when he beat Deontay Wilder. He has defended that belt three times, against Wilder, Dillian Whyte and, most recently, Derek Chisora.

Usyk has held the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles since beating Anthony Joshua in 2021. He has defended those titles twice: in a rematch with Joshua and most recently against Daniel Dubois.

Fury is in no doubt as to what he’s going to do in Riyadh, saying he’s going to knock his Ukrainian opponent out.

“I’m looking to do a demolition job on him,” the Briton said. “I just want to beat the silly sausage. Yes, Usyk is fast, talented, he out-boxed a big heavyweight in Anthony Joshua twice but AJ is one-dimensional, one-paced, and I could outbox him with a blindfold on. I’m just different.”

For Usyk the magnitude of the fight is all too clear.

“It’s the most important fight of my career, my sports career and my sporting life. I want to say that my victory is the victory of the entire Ukrainian people. And defeat is personal,” the Ukrainian said.

“I was worried about Tyson Fury, that there might be injuries and that our fight might not take place,” he added. “If he was performing, I think he deserves an Oscar. It has to happen because we have a contract. It’s a problem only for Tyson Fury. He signed a contract, so he has to fight. It has been an incredible journey. I can do anything now.”

The ring walk is expected at about 11pm UK time, so stay here for all the build-up, the undercard and then boxing’s biggest bout in a generation.

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