Former Champ Duke McKenzie Backs Usyk Over Fury

Duke McKenzie, a former three-weight world champion, expects Oleksandr Usyk to beat Tyson Fury for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship. 

They face off on May 18, with the winner becoming the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999 when he defeated Evander Holyfield. The fight has been rescheduled on two occasions, increasing the anticipation. Fury pulled out of their December 23 date last year after a tough bout against Francis Ngannou.

The Gypsy King did the same before the February 17 date after suffering a big cut over his right eye in sparring. The fight will go ahead this time, barring any further injuries. Turki Alalshikh has also said any fighter who pulls out now will pay a $10 million fine. Fury was seen as the slight favorite, but the cut may have evened things up. However, McKenzie backed Usyk’s boxing IQ to be the deciding factor. 

“Usyk wins, I hate to pour cold water on anyone’s parade but for me, Usyk wins because he’s a much more complete all-round fighter. I don’t think Fury has boxed anyone like him and Usyk will be so up for this fight and a good Oleksandr Usyk probably hold his own with just about any heavyweight that’s ever lived… His ring IQ, he’s very intellectual, very sensible, he punches perfectly, he times himself perfectly, he can nullify the bigger guys’ size,” McKenzie said

Fury may have to change his style. He is an aggressive fighter, working with SugarHill Steward, which earned him consecutive stoppage wins over Deontay Wilder. But Fury’s cut may see him walk onto Usyk’s shots and reopen the cut. Boxing off the back foot is also risky. There is a perception Fury’s legs have slowed down. The hard-fought wins over Wilder and Ngannou resulted in him getting off the canvas. McKenzie was clear Usyk would deal with whatever Fury brought to the table. 

“Fury can be read, you know what he’s going to do. He’s going to use his weight, he’s going to use his height and he’s going to try and lean on you, spoil you, push you back if he can, fiddle around, flick his jabs out, put a little combination together and then just keep leaning on you. You can read that quite easily, I think Usyk can read that quite easily. So for my money, if you can read Tyson Fury then you can beat him. The only problem Usyk will have is that Fury doesn’t know what he’s going to do from one minute to the next when he’s in the ring,” McKenzie added

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