Oleksandr Usyk says he has fully prepared himself for all the “stupid things” Tyson Fury “likes to say” when he’s going into a fight, when Fury is trying to get under the skin of his opponent. Fury sure did a great job getting to Deontay Wilder, his mind games unsettling Wilder to the point where Wilder did not know what to think, what to believe. And Fury so knocked the ultra-experienced Wladimir Klitschko out of his game that the long-reigning champ didn’t know what to make of his “crazy” challenger – with Wlad then barely throwing a punch in their fight.
But will the mind games of Fury work on Usyk? The two rival heavyweight champions – who we all hope will collide next year, whether it’s for all four belts or not – have had a couple of face-to-face meetings, and Usyk didn’t bat an eye during them. With Fury doing his best to intimidate, insult and ruffle Usyk, the reigning WBC champ was met with ‘the Usyk stare,’ and a smile. Usyk was not/is not intimidated by Fury in the slightest.
Whether this makes any difference in the outcome of the fight, we will have to wait and see. But for sure, Usyk will not enter the ring a beaten man the way Klitschko seemingly did. Nor will Usyk see red the way Wilder did when he fought Fury. No, Fury has a real challenge on his hands here, and fans know it, hence the great interest in the fight.
Fury recently unloaded on Usyk some more, this via social media:
“I’m looking to fight Oleksandr Usyk, the man who’s got Anthony Joshua’s kryptonite, who made his cry after the fight. ‘I’m 18 stone.’ So? I’m 20 stone. I’ll beat him, he ain’t got no kryptonite to me. He’s f**k all to me. I’m gonna make him dance.”
To which Usyk replied:
“I’ve been balanced and ready to hear all the stupid things he likes to say. I put a wall between us, never take it to heart…When cameras are off he’s a different person. When they’re on he’s Tyson Fury, when off he’s Luke Fury.”
So, if Fury cannot get to Usyk mentally, will it affect him and his chances of victory in the fight? We’ve seen, throughout history, some heavyweights who did rely on mind games a great deal, fighters who needed that psychological edge in order to win (think Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Mike Tyson). Is Tyson Fury one such heavyweight?
As far as Fury being a different person when the cameras are on him, Usyk is spot on; as anyone who knows Fury personally would have to agree. Again, anything and everything that goes down before a fight can prove meaningless when the bell rings, but if Fury cannot secure himself some kind of an edge before he gets in the ring with Usyk, then maybe he will struggle during the action. Maybe.
Usyk sure will push some buttons if he continues to refer to Tyson as Luke, this “The Gypsy King’s” real first name.