In terms of the number of people who do not believe Tyson Fury has really retired, you can add Oleksandr Usyk and his manager Alexander Krassyuk to the list. Speaking with Sky Sports, Krassyuk said “you can’t trust what Tyson Fury says today because he says one thing and tomorrow he says the opposite.” Krassyuk believes his fighter Usyk will defeat Anthony Joshua again in their (still to be announced) return fight and that he will then fight Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
“We shouldn’t look too far ahead,” Krassyuk said. “But the strategy is the strategy, it means the direction you have to go and this [unification fight with Fury] is exactly the direction. He’s already unified, he has three belts. He has the rematch, a very serious rematch, Anthony Joshua has nothing to lose, nothing at all, he’s fighting under pressure of his compatriots, of his home, of his belts. The only pressure he has is that if he loses it might sort of be the end of his career.”
The Usyk-Joshua rematch, touted to take place in July in the Middle East, really is a make-or-break fight for Joshua. Krassyuk is right when he says a loss “might sort of be the end of his career.” At elite level, for sure. And assuming Usyk does repeat his win over AJ (or perhaps fights even better this time, maybe even getting the stoppage win), Krassyuk says Fury will feel the pressure to come back, to give the public what they want.
“It’s all about the interest, all about the publicity,” Krassyuk said of Fury. “He’s a big entertainer. That (being retired) might be what he really thinks at the moment but I’m not sure he will stay with this decision for a long time.”
And neither are plenty of other people. Fury’s trainer, SugarHill Steward has just given an interview in which he said Fury is still training. There is just no way, plenty of people believe, Fury, still in his prime, will fight no more.
Who wins if Usyk and Fury do collide? In the meantime, it’s up to Joshua to take his belts back from Usyk, but can he do it?