Forget Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk is the fight we need

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After six months out, Tyson Fury returned to the ring on April 23 in front of 94,000 in his homecoming fight at Wembley Stadium.

After five straight bouts in the United States, his UK return lived up to weighty expectations.

Long-term mandatory Dillian Whyte stepped up to challenge 'The Gypsy King' for his WBC and The Ring world heavyweight titles. The Brixton heavyweight had been grafting for years to get a world title shot. So this opportunity was more than deserved.

After going radio silent in the build-up, Whyte showed his face during fight week. There was expected to be bad blood between the pair, but that was far from the case in the days before the bout. Fury used the tactic of befriending Whyte and showing respect to his opponent. Against 'The Body Snatcher' - typically a spiteful and angry fighter - this worked a treat.

Tyson Fury after beating Dillian Whyte
Tyson Fury after beating Dillian Whyte

On the night, Fury's reach was key as he kept Whyte at a distance with his jab. The challenger needed a fast start to unsettle Fury, but his slow footwork made it so he could not set up his - at times - lethal left hook. Fury arguably won every round as he was well in control of the bout. He chipped away at Whyte before the stoppage came in the sixth. Whyte's kryptonite is the uppercut and that shot was his downfall at Wembley. The lineal world champion landed flush on Whyte's chin and - with the help of a shove - he was floored. He bravely returned to his feet but the referee rightly stopped the contest. The push from Fury was a bit naughty, but it did save Whyte from further punishment later in the fight.

After a hostile build-up, that was that. Another immense night in Fury's extraordinary career.

The heavyweight focus now switches to the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.

After the former undisputed cruiserweight champion dismantled Joshua last September, the Brit is vying to regain his belts once again. According to Eddie Hearn, the rematch is set to take place on July 23, with Saudi Arabia a leading contender to host the event. Before Joshua-Usyk I took place, there was a lot of speculation that AJ-Fury would happen last summer. Excitement grew when a fight date was disclosed, though the Deontay Wilder arbitration case put pay to those plans. Instead, Joshua fought Usyk, who was his WBO mandatory challenger. It was said in the lead up that AJ's best chance of winning was to assert his physicality and punch power on his smaller opponent. Foolishly, Joshua attempted to outbox Usyk. This played into the challenger's hands at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 'The Cat' picked apart Joshua over the twelve rounds, winning comfortably via unanimous decision.

Oleksandr Usyk
Oleksandr Usyk

We will find out in July whether Joshua can avenge this defeat to become a world champion for the third time. It is fair to say that, this time around, Usyk goes in as a heavy favourite, even with the backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine. While Joshua is capable of beating Usyk if he fights a certain way, he has a mammoth job to hand the champion his first professional defeat. Usyk is a gifted boxer, a true pound-for-pound great and a generational talent. Aged 35, he is an Olympic and World Championship gold-medallist and a two-weight world champion as a professional. He is the only current fighter who can challenge Fury when it comes to pure boxing talent and IQ.

Fury vs Usyk next?

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury

Fury vs Joshua is a fight that does need to happen, but next must be Fury vs Usyk. Now, this is being said after Fury announced that he will not fight again after beating Whyte. Despite facing off with UFC champion Francis Ngannou, Fury did insist that he was done. We have been here before with Fury, so the legitimacy of these claims have been disputed. He said the same after his third fight against Wilder. While he may believe now that he is retiring, you would expect him to come back at some point. It is right that he does as well. Fury has achieved astonishing things but there is still so much to do, especially considering he is in his prime. Lennox Lewis is the last fighter to hold all the heavyweight belts at one time. But Fury is set up to repeat this feat if he carries on.

There is also an argument to be had that the Gypsy King's résumé is not as good as Joshua's. Fury's win over Whyte makes it tighter. Though with Joshua's wins over the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Andy Ruiz Jr and Joseph Parker, there is not much between the two Brits. It is hard to argue against Fury being the best heavyweight in the world, but if he wants to go down as one of the best ever, he will need to step in with Usyk and Joshua. You would fancy Fury to rip Joshua to shreds as he did with Whyte whereas the Usyk fight would stand as a much tougher test. The Ukrainian gives up a lot of weight and size to Fury, but his talents make it a fascinating match-up. With all the talk of politics in boxing, it would alleviate a lot of complaints about the sport if the heavyweight division had one undisputed champion with all four belts. Fury and Usyk are the perfect fighters to battle over the right to make history in doing so. Another record-breaking night at Wembley would be a fitting stage for the best heavyweight fight out there. You can run out of superlatives to describe Fury, but the same can be said for Usyk. They are already icons in their own right, so this is a fight that cannot fall by the wayside. The Greatest of all time tag is there for Fury to grab if he wants it. Starting with Usyk, a few more big nights are needed to make that happen.

The article Forget Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk is the fight we need appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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