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Editorials, Sports

Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury: Five takeaways

Usyk vs Fury: The first undisputed heavyweight title fight in 25 years did not disappoint when these two future Hall of Famers linked up.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 18th May 2024

The heavyweight division witnessed a crowning achievement on May 18th. In a clash for the ages, Oleksandr Usyk (22-0, 14 KOs) emerged victorious over Tyson Fury (34-1-1, 24 KOs), unifying the heavyweight titles and etching his name in history as the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis.


The main event was a thrilling back-and-forth battle. Both fighters displayed moments of brilliance, but ultimately Usyk emerged victorious. His strategic use of angles to land punches was impressive, but his relentless work rate was the true key to his success. He constantly pressured Fury, forcing the bigger man to work defensively throughout the fight. This relentless pressure seemed to sap Fury’s energy as the fight wore on.


Usyk’s aggression and varied attacks culminated in a dominant ninth round. He relentlessly threw punches, pushing Fury to the brink and nearly securing a stoppage victory.


Here are BOUNCE’s takeaways from the encounter.


A Spectacle that Surpassed the Hype


While labeled the “Fight of the Century,” this heavyweight clash somehow surpassed the immense hype. It was the perfect fight at the perfect time. Boxing was already riding a wave of success after a stellar 2023, and this fight fueled that momentum thanks in part to Saudi Arabia’s financial backing, making dream matchups a reality.


Tyson Fury against Oleksandr Usyk during the Heavyweight Championship fight at Kingdom Arena at Kingdom Arena, Riyadh. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2024. – Photo by Icon Sport.


There’s nothing quite like heavyweight championship boxing. It has a unique ability to capture viewers with its blend of controlled aggression and turn them into lifelong fans. Usyk and Fury delivered a thrilling spectacle that will be a rematch fight to remember. The bout showcased the beauty of boxing – its unpredictability, the tactical brilliance of fighters, and the ebb and flow of momentum. It was a fight reminiscent of the sport’s golden age, reigniting excitement and nostalgia.


Boxing is back. And it’s back in a big way


Usyk’s Gritty Second-Half Surge


Experts predicted a tactical clash or a dominance by Fury’s size and power. Fury seemed on track, repeatedly hurting Usyk with punches. However, despite the significant size disadvantage, Usyk displayed incredible determination in the second half. He pushed the pace, cornered Fury, and wore him down with body punches.


The turning point came in round nine. Usyk, known more for skill than power, unleashed a barrage of shots that nearly finished Fury. Though the referee allowed a wobbly Fury to continue, and the ropes saved him from a clean knockdown, Usyk ultimately fell short on time.



Usyk fought with surprising power and constantly pressured the larger man. While his footwork and skill were key, it was his champion’s heart that nearly dethroned the heavyweight giant.


Fury Eyes Heavier, More Aggressive Approach for Usyk Rematch


Despite coming in lighter than usual, Fury nearly pulled off the win. This highlights a key challenge: outboxing Usyk for 12 rounds is a tall order. Usyk’s constant pressure and high work rate were crucial in the later rounds. He outlanded Fury significantly, showcasing his impressive stamina.


While Fury isn’t past his prime, his age and previous fights might be catching up to him compared to Usyk’s fresher career. This, along with Fury Sr.’s belief in his son’s strength at heavier weights, suggests a change in tactics.


Tyson Fury (right) reacts after Oleksandr Usyk landed a punch during the Heavyweight Championship fight at Kingdom Arena, Riyadh. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2024. – Photo by Icon Sport


Expect a bulked-up Fury in the rematch. His strategy might involve a more aggressive, smothering style, using his weight to tire Usyk in clinches and potentially resorting to borderline tactics. This shift towards a brawl could favor Fury if he can overpower Usyk’s superior boxing skills.


Usyk’s Undisputed Crown Faces Mandatory Challenge


Usyk’s reign as undisputed champion might be short-lived due to boxing’s mandatory challenger rules. Despite the historic undisputed fight, the sport’s bureaucracy presents a hurdle.


Filip Hrgovic, the mandatory challenger for Usyk’s IBF title, has twice agreed to step aside for a payday. However, he’s no longer willing to wait. With a rematch likely between Usyk and Fury, the IBF will strip Usyk of the title on June 1st.


Hrgovic will fight Daniel Dubois for the vacant IBF title in Saudi Arabia. The winner is expected to face Anthony Joshua later in 2024, creating a new path to undisputed status.


This feels like a setback after Usyk’s victory, but it also raises the stakes. The winner of Usyk vs. Fury II will likely face the victor of Hrgovic/Dubois-Joshua in 2025 for the true undisputed champion.


Usyk: Carving His Own Path in Boxing History


Usyk’s journey towards boxing legend continues. While a rematch win over Fury would solidify his place as the face of the heavyweight resurgence, his achievements already speak volumes.


From Olympic gold to becoming the first undisputed cruiserweight champion, Usyk has defied expectations. He’s a giant among giants, even being the smallest heavyweight contender. He’s a strong contender for the title of greatest cruiserweight ever, having dominated the division’s toughest competition. Adding the title of best heavyweight alongside his countryman Klitschko is a monumental feat.


Oleksandr Usyk during a press conference at Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, after becoming the undisputed world heavyweight champion following a split points victory against Tyson Fury. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2024. – Photo by Icon Sport


Usyk’s mental strength and dedication are unmatched. He fights beyond money and fame, proudly representing Ukraine on the world stage. His year spent fighting for his country during the war exemplifies his character.


Usyk’s personality makes him a beloved ambassador for boxing. His pound-for-pound accomplishments rival greats like Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Alvarez. Though they may dominate recent boxing history, Usyk is etching his own unique chapter.

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