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Tale of the Tape: Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury

Julian Catalfo / theScore

Here, we look at how Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury stack up against one another ahead of Saturday's fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Odds courtesy of theScore Bet.

The time has come. After nearly two years of verbal sparring, failed negotiations, postponements, and fighter injuries, Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will finally face off for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

Pending a draw, Saturday's fight between the world's two top heavyweights will proclaim the first undisputed titleholder of the division since 1999, when Lennox Lewis achieved the feat during the three-belt era.

There's never been an undisputed heavyweight titleholder during the four-belt era, which began when the current group of sanctioning bodies began recognizing each other in 2007. Only 19 boxers (nine males, 10 females) have been undisputed titleholders in any division during that stretch, making Saturday's showdown all the more important.

Fury, who's held every major heavyweight belt (just not simultaneously), won't let the allure of being undisputed champion throw him off, even though he recently told Sky Sports that it's "a big thing."

Meanwhile, Usyk says the upcoming clash is the fight he's been dreaming about his entire life.

"A lot of people who train boxing, who have an opportunity to step up to heavyweight, all people dream of (boxing at) heavyweight. It's the big category. It's absolutely the king," Usyk told Sky Sports.

Both fighters enter Saturday during strange periods in their careers. Fury was knocked down - and nearly defeated - by first-time professional boxer and former UFC fighter Francis Ngannou last October before narrowly escaping with a split-decision victory. Meanwhile, in a fight in August 2023, Daniel Dubois knocked Usyk down with a gut shot in the fifth round. The punch was controversially ruled a low blow even though it looked like a potential knockout victory for Dubois. Usyk recovered to knock Dubois out in the ninth round.

Despite both fighters' low moments, they appear in tip-top shape for Saturday's prized bout, which has generated a firestorm of media attention and verbal and physical altercations between the two camps. Fury's father, John, even headbutted a member of Usyk's team during an intense exchange earlier this week.

Nevertheless, the media circus shouldn't detract from the fact that two of the most highly skilled heavyweights in boxing history will finally clash.

The 6-foot-9 Fury is a master of using his heavy build and swarming and leaning on his opponents to tire out their lower halves. He successfully employed this strategy to dismantle Deontay Wilder in the second fight of their trilogy series to win the WBC belt. He also possesses elite hand speed, a high in-ring IQ, and an unmatched determination to overcome the odds when it matters most.

Speaking of intelligence, there may not be a smarter boxer than Usyk. Between the Ukrainian's brainpower, endless motor, elite footwork, and evasiveness, Fury will have all he can handle when he squares off against "The Cat."

"I'm putting Usyk as the best man I've ever fought," Fury told Box Nation on Monday.

"Better than Wladimir Klitschko, better than Deontay Wilder, better than them all. Two-time, two-weight world champion and an Olympic gold medallist."

The biggest heavyweight clash in 25 years happens this Saturday in the desert paradise of Riyadh. There can only be one winner. One undisputed champion. One king of kings.

Saturday should settle all scores and leave one man standing, reigning supreme over the heavyweight division and the entire boxing world.

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