What does Oleksandr Usyk think when he hears Tyson Fury shout abuse at him?

Alex Krassyuk: The good thing is, Oleksandr is not native speaker in English so he doesn’t understand much of it. Tyson turns into a different character when the camera turns on but Tyson is a student of boxing and he knows what type of fight he has ahead of him and we treat him with respect.

When we had the face off before the press conference, Tyson showed a lot of respect to Usyk, and he said a lot of things which made me like a lot about him. He was saying ‘it is down to God who wins, no matter how hard you work, there is only one winner and anything can happen.’ I agree with him but to rely on God you have to work hard.

Is Oleksandr Usyk more confident about beating Tyson Fury after his recent performance and ring inactivity?

AK: Let me say, the Francis Ngannou fight didn’t change his mindset. He’s a very reasonable and wise man and understands that sometimes, sh***y days happen and that was a completely sh***y day for Tyson. There can be different reasons for it but that was one of the worst performances we have ever seen by Tyson Fury. But it doesn’t mean on February 17 we will see the Tyson Fury that fought Francis Ngannou.

As a team, we discussed this issue and believe this will be the biggest and toughest fight of Tyson Fury’s career. He knows how hard he has to train and work to step into the ring with unified heavyweight and former undisputed cruiserweight champion. Tyson is the man and the thing that happened to him against Ngannou, he underestimated him and didn’t think he was a boxing man but Usyk is a boxing man and he will treat him with all of the seriousness he should give him.

There is a size difference, a weight difference, boxing experience, boxing IQ, footwork and a difference in amateur experience. If you put all the factors on the table, there is no 100% answer – the answer will be found within the 12 rounds, and this is the fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship, and you can’t guarantee who is the winner but I am confident because I know how much work Usyk does in a training camp and how many challenges he overcomes.

I can’t argue with Tyson that it is up to God who the winner is but Usyk is made different and is the former undisputed cruiserweight champion and unified heavyweight champion but is so humble with it. But I know Tyson can overcome his arrogance and become a student in the training camp and it is something we want. We want this fight to be a horrendous fight, a hard fight and to overcome a Tyson Fury at his best because the value of the victory becomes so high.

To confirm, there is a rematch clause regardless of the result?

AK: Yes, we have discussed that in any case, when you have a blockbuster fight you have to see the sequel. We are dealing with Tyson Fury and sometimes a bad day comes, even two times in a row, and a man who can complain about. But Oleksandr will happily give him a rematch.

If Oleksandr wins, where does he rank in the all-time greats?

AK: It’s up to the fans to rank his achievements but it is not for us to talk about right now. Maybe in five or 10 years’ time, people will realise how big it was like how people see Evander Holyfield being one of the biggest Olympic stars and then won at cruiserweight and then heavyweight. He is around 60 years old now but we see how big he was and how big he is now.

Could Deontay Wilder be an opponent for Usyk after Fury?

AK: It’s not the right time to talk about it. I can tell you Deontay Wilder is in the top 3 heavyweights in the world and of course, a fight with him is something worth doing and worth seeing for me, as a boxing fan. It would be a great fight for sure so let’s see. But from the point of view of Usyk’s career, it depends on how the fight with Tyson goes, the time length of the rematch and the second thing, let’s not forget the fights Wilder and Anthony Joshua have on December 23.

Joseph Parker is a technician and can do severe damage to a guy who is not strong in boxing techniques but has the power in the punch. We have seen many times that it is Wilder’s weakness – he is a puncher not a boxer. For Joshua, this is also a big challenge as Otto Wallin is one of the most underrated fighters in the division. He is an awkward southpaw and Joshua is coming on the back of two losses and his comeback fights didn’t go too well. They are both great fights.

How long will Oleksandr Usyk continue?

AK: He’s 36 now and still has three years to go at his best. The only issue or concern we have is the health issue so that could be a problem. If his body is still ready to fight, then I don’t think he’s going to quit. Let me tell you, I have been dealing with Oleksandr Usyk since his first professional fight in 2013 and we have been very close with each other over the last 10 years, but he is a young kid in his soul and has never experienced retirement or really imagine how hard it is for a fighter to retire from boxing.

I just reminded Vitali Klitschko that he retired from boxing for four years and then came back and won the WBC belt. The reason was not for the money but because he was missing the sport. He was a politician already and a businessman, but he missed it so much and despite being over 50, he is still in training. The Mayor of Kyiv still misses it and when we speak about boxing, I still see the inspiration coming from Vitali.

How do you reflect on Usyk v Dubois

AK: Regarding the canvas, I had a thorough look at it and it was a normal canvas and wasn’t slippy. The humidity was high, but it was a normal material for the ring with cotton and special additional materials which made it waterproof and we paid a lot of money for. It was a one sided fight. A guy who has all of the skills in Usyk and another guy in Dubois who was a young kid at 25 and took the chance to take on the unified heavyweight champion and former Olympic champion. It was a nice experience for him to fight Usyk.

The low blow, it was in front of my eyes. I like how Usyk explains this – when you can’t win by the rules, you start to invent on how to play the rules. In respect to Daniel, it was a low blow and we had some pundits who watched the fight thoroughly and we counted 20 low blows throughout the fight. Anything could happen. Let’s say the referee was standing in a different angle and didn’t see the low blow and made the count, what would happen?

Everything is saying Usyk wouldn’t get up but how do you know that? He is a warrior and would definitely find some power and stand up to overcome the pain but the reason he was on the floor was because the referee said it was a low blow and according to the rules before the fight, if the fighter is hit with a low blow – intentional or unintentional– the referee can give up to five minutes for an injured fighter. Let me tell you, Usyk’s wife was shouting at Oleksandr after that to tell him ‘beat the s**t out of him’.

Oleksandr only took four minutes and why did he not take five minutes? He didn’t because he could see that his opponent was getting rest too. He recovered, came back, and knocked the other guy out.

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