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Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk: Saturday’s Riyadh showdown

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Boxing stars Fury and Usyk go head-to-head in Riyadh on Saturday. GETTY IMAGES

British heavyweight boxing titleholder Tyson Fury and Ukrainian challenger Oleksandr Usyk are set to battle for the undisputed heavyweight world championship this Saturday at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena.

As per a media statement released on Wednesday, the winner will claim the four championship belts in a unification match for boxing’s most prestigious global organisations: the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), and the World Boxing Organisation (WBO).

The four belts prominently display images of boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The statement further noted that both Fury and Usyk aim to etch their names alongside these iconic figures in boxing history.

Saturday’s highly anticipated match will mark a milestone in modern boxing, being the first time that the four belts will be unified in a single fight. This event pays homage to the esteemed legacy of past champions who have shaped the sport’s championship titles. 

It appears that size plays a significant role, as southpaw Usyk gives up 15 centimetres (6 inches) in height to Fury, who stands at 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches), as well as 18 centimetres in reach and nearly 22 kilograms (49 pounds) in weight. “To win this, I don’t need to be heavy, I need to be fast, and quick,” Usyk told Ring magazine in February. “You never see a fat wolf in the forest.”

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His flawless record of 21 victories and zero losses as a professional, with 14 of those wins coming by knockout, speaks volumes, and he also won Olympic gold in London in 2012. “I respect Usyk as a man,” said Fury ahead of the showdown.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Boxing

Usyk considering stepping down to cruiserweight after Fury rematch

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Undisputed heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk said he may return to the cruiserweight division following his rematch with British heavyweight Tyson Fury later this year.

Usyk – now the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO champion – defeated Fury by split decision in a thrilling contest at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh to become undisputed heavyweight champion.

The Ukrainian was previously the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 2019.

“I think maybe after the rematch, I am going to go down in weight to cruiserweight. I want more cruiserweight,” Usyk said in an episode of the ‘3 Knockdown Rule’ podcast released on Wednesday.

“Maybe I can be undisputed for a second time in the cruiserweight division, it’s my plan. When I start to prepare for my training camp (as a heavyweight), I have to eat all the time. For me it’s hard, I don’t like it.”

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Usyk, 37, is the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the end of Lennox Lewis’ reign in April 2000. He will face Fury in a rematch on Dec. 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS

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Boxing

Usyk-Fury heavyweight rematch set for Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia

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The heavyweight rematch between undisputed world champion Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will take place on Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia, according to the advisor who organizes boxing events in the kingdom.

Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, confirmed the date of the fight on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. He said it will take place in Riyadh, the location of the first fight on May 19.

“The world will watch another historical fight again,” he wrote. “Our commitment to boxing fans continues … We hope you enjoy it.”

Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 when he defeated Fury by split decision, earning a narrow win on two scorecards. The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first heavyweight to hold every major title belt since Lennox Lewis.

It was Fury’s first loss as a professional.

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-AP

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Boxing

Furious Fury to clash again with Usyk in October

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All hope is not lost for Tyson Fury who lost his WBC heavyweight championship belt to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia early this Sunday morning.

Both boxer had agreed before the unification bout that the loser of their fight would be eligible to trigger a rematch.

Owing to the two-way rematch clause, there will be a second showdown. As for a date, nothing is set in stone. The hopeful Saudi boxing chief Turki Alalshikh confirmed that a rematch is likely to go ahead on 12th/13th October 2024, not taking into account exceptional circumstances such as injuries or unforeseen events.

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