Eddie Hearn believes Oleksandr Usyk will be a “huge favorite” to defeat Tyson Fury when the two meet in early 2024 due to the drop off in the performance level from the 35-year-old Gypsy King in the last year.
The performance that Fury put in last Saturday night showed that his past days are in the rearview mirror, as he’s not aged like fine wine in the last couple of years.
Good food and the natural aging process have done a number on Fury, turning him into the slow-moving, utterly hittable blob we saw last Saturday night getting fought to a standstill by the novice Francis Ngannou. Everyone ages, but for some, it goes a little quicker, and Fury is a textbook example of a fighter who has aged in hyper-drive fashion.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and IBF/WBA/WBO champ Usyk will meet in February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to ESPN.
Hearn feels that Fury’s punch resistance is gone from the punches he absorbed from his three fights with Deontay Wilder.
Eddie notes that the left hook that Ngannou dropped Fury with in the third wasn’t a big shot, but he went down like he’d been shot by a 50-caliber rifle shell.
Afterward, Fury tried to play it off, saying he’d been hit by a punch to the back of the head, but that wasn’t the case. Fury’s punch resistance is now gone, and he could be vulnerable to suffering his first knockout loss if Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) can land a lot of shots.
Although Fury’s fans believe he deserved to win all three contests with Wilder, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was hit hard and dropped four times in those fights and knocked unconscious in one of them.
“I’ve always felt he could beat Tyson Fury. If AJ was in the ring with Tyson Fury last Saturday, he would have stopped Tyson Fury inside six rounds, and I believe he does it now,” said Eddie Hearn to the talkSport Boxing channel. “I don’t believe his punch resistance is the same coming through those Wilder fights.
It was just lucky for Fury that Ngannou didn’t hit him more than he did because he could have taken him out where even a long count wouldn’t have saved him. Usyk isn’t the biggest puncher in the division, but he’s got more than enough power to finish what Wilder started.
That punch that Usyk knocked out Daniel Dubois with last August will do Fury the same if he lands it. He might have to do a Super Man punch to get to the top of Fury’s head because he’s not going to be easy to reach without Usyk jumping.
“I’m not sure his heart is in it as much as he wants. For me, we want to get that Fury fight against AJ as quickly as possible,” said Hearn.
“If I’m Usyk and I’m AJ, and you see Ngannou drop him with not even a massive shot. I’m thinking this guy can be hurt, he didn’t look comfortable, and he looked afraid at times of Francis Ngannou.
“When they were in the clinch, as you’d expect, the size & the strength of Francis Ngannou was almost throwing him around like a rag doll. But you have to understand, Fury was probably undermotivated, and he was probably underprepared.
“Let’s not take anything away from Ngannou, but if I’m Fury, yeah, it probably puts a dent in psychologically, but the opponent, Usyk becomes huge favorite in that fight now. You will get a better Tyson Fury in that fight.
“When you do silly things like fight a UFC guy, and it backfires, it does affect your legacy,” said Hearn.