Exclusive Interview With Spencer Oliver On The Usyk-Fury Fight

By James Slater - 05/20/2024 - Comments

Oliver: “That’s The Worst Possible Thing You Could Use As An Excuse!”

Former European super-bantamweight champion Spencer Oliver, now one of the most popular and well-respected pundits on the scene, was as thrilled and as excited as the rest of us when watching the Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury battle on Saturday.

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Watching the fight in the Talk Sport studio, Spencer took plenty of things away from the fight that Usyk won via 12 round split decision.

Here, Spencer kindly takes the time to speak with ESB – about the fight and what may come next for both fighters:

Q: Firstly, Spencer, it was a great fight. Do you think it would have been looked at as a great fight in any era for the heavyweights?

Spencer Oliver: “Absolutely, it ranks up there with any of them from the past. When you talk about great heavyweight fights, you look at Riddick Bowe against Evander Holyfield, those sort of fights. That trilogy will probably always be the standout. But that fight [between Usyk and Fury] definitely stands out. We didn’t expect it, did we? We thought it was gonna be a bit of a chess-match, stylistically, we didn’t think these guys would go out hunting the way some other fighters do. But Oleksandr Usyk surprises us all, he came out fast, he went out there and he started landing that left cross. I think Tyson Fury was surprised by the start of Oleksandr Usyk.

“But Fury proved he does have that adaptability, and after the first three or four rounds, which I thought Oleksandr Usyk won, Tyson Fury seemed to have worked it out – he landed a big uppercut in the fifth round and that changed things around a bit; he started having some success with that shot. Rounds 5, 6, 7, they all went to Tyson Fury, I thought he dominated those middle rounds. Then, in round nine, when that left cross that landed, that really seemed to take the legs away from Fury. Usyk did what he does best, he jumped on him, he threw combination punches, and his accuracy was brilliant as well. Fury was in all sorts of trouble, and fortunately for him the ropes kept him up. The referee gave him that count as the bell rang, but there was a time there when I felt that, when Fury was going down, before he took the count, before the bell rang, Usyk was lining up another left hand, and if he had let that go……and he would’ve got away with that, it was on the bell. That may have ended the fight, he may have ended the fight. But again, Tyson Fury did what he does best and he showed us why he’s a great champion; the powers of recovery are insane. We were watching in the studio, and I was thinking, ‘can Tyson Fury recover?’ I was thinking that even Tyson Fury can’t recover here. And he did recover and he did well. But for me, it was all Oleksandr Usyk after that, I gave him rounds 10, 11 and 12.”

Q: Well, once again there is some suggestion of controversy. With that ninth round, did Fury get a long count? Are we going to get some real controversy again!

S.O: “Yeah, definitely. There’s always controversy around the big fights. I mean, there was controversy about Oleksandr Usyk [supposedly] using an inhaler in the corner, all sorts of stuff going on. Look, controversy is always going to be there – that’s why we love this sport, we talk about so much stuff after the event. And Tyson Fury was talking about how he felt that he won the fight and that the only reason the fight went to Oleksandr Usyk is because his country’s at war, with what’s going on in Ukraine of course. And I was like, ‘wow, do not say that, mate!’ That is the worst thing possible you could use as an excuse’.

“I understand that emotions run high, and fighters say things they shouldn’t say. Anthony Joshua had that when he threw the belts out of the ring after he boxed Oleksandr Usyk the second time. That was emotion. But that was a terrible thing for Tyson Fury to say. I don’t think he won the fight, I had Oleksandr Usyk winning quite convincingly, I think I had it 116-112 for Usyk. I find it hard to see how Fury thinks he won that fight.”

Q: I agree. The big question now is – and obviously nobody knows at this point – can Fury come back? There is a possibility he may retire, but if if does, how does that affect his legacy. So that’s a two-part question actually, Spencer.

S.O: “Well, his legacy will always be cemented as a great champion, a charismatic champion, and I think that he will always be remembered for that. Because it is about showmanship and entertainment, we live in that world now, and Tyson Fury’s been fantastic over the years. But to be considered an all-time great, he has to do what Lennox Lewis did. Lennox Lewis avenged those losses, to Oliver McCall and to Hasim Rahman. And the draw with Evander Holyfield, he beat him in the return. So that cements his legacy as an all-time great and Lennox will always have that.

“Tyson Fury, if he wants that, he has to go that way…….And you have to box the best of the modern era; we still need to see Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua, and that seems closer than ever. But the immediate rematch has been signed for October, and Tyson Fury has to go for that and try to avenge that loss if he wants to be recognised as one of the all-time greats. But the best of the modern era, and a guy who will go down as an all-time great, and he’s the pound-for-pound best in the world right now, and that’s Oleksandr Usyk.”

Q: Do you think, with your gut instinct as a fighter and with all the pride that goes along with being a great fighter, Fury will take that rematch? Because he took a real shellacking in that ninth, didn’t he?

S.O: “He did, mate, he did. It was a really hard fight and he [Fury] struggled with the speed, the hand speed and the speed of his feet. Usyk, an undisputed cruiserweight champ moving up to become undisputed heavyweight champion, he carried that speed up with him. No-one expected that and I think that anyone who does that has to go down as an all-time great. Will Tyson Fury take the rematch? I think his pride will take him into the rematch, and I think he should take it and maybe try and make a few adjustments. Tyson Fury’s a great fighter in his own right.

“If you look back in the history book, Ali, Foreman, Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, all those guys – they all went over it a few times. So I think Tyson Fury needs to try and avenge that loss, he needs that fight with Anthony Joshua, to create his own legacy in the modern era. I think there’s a couple of fights left in Tyson Fury, I do. And I think that’s a return with Usyk and a fight with Anthony Joshua.”

Spencer Oliver was speaking to Boxing News 24/7 on behalf of talkSPORT BET

Last Updated on 05/20/2024