Tuesday, May 28, 2024  |


Lennox Lewis weighs in on Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury

Lennox Lewis
Fighters Network

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is expecting an absorbing fight when Ring champion and IBF/WBA/WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk faces WBC beltholder Tyson Fury at the Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.

The winner will be the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lewis, who retired over 20 years ago, and he has an interesting take on the fight.

“When I see Usyk and Tyson Fury fighting, I look at both as different animals,” Lewis told The Ring. “I look at Tyson Fury as a giraffe and I look at Usyk as a bunny but now after the Tyson Fury-[Francis] Ngannou fight, I’m looking at Usyk and the bunny rabbit turned into a wolf, he’s ready to pounce to me. Knowing Tyson has a situation with cuts on his face and a cut may arise from their fight, this is where the wolf will see and smell the blood. You know what happens to a wolf when that happens? He becomes more frantic. His mouth is watering, ready to get in there with Tyson Fury. I think that’s going to be a really good fight.”

Lewis on the attack against Holyfield in the rematch. Photo by Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images

However, Lewis isn’t reading too much into seeing Fury getting dropped and then going into a life-and-death battle with former UFC fighter star last October.

“I see Fury as erratic, you’ve got to look at Fury’s life,” he said. “He’s up and down, he’s like a wave. The Ngannou fight caught him at the beginning of the wave. I think the Usyk fight will catch him in the middle of his wave, he’s going to be a lot better, a lot more focused, a lot more ready to fight.”

The 58-year-old, who runs boxing camps in Canada and Jamaica, has a lot of respect for the Ukrainian superstar.

“I love Usyk, I think he’s a great champion,” said Lewis. “He’s undisputed at cruiserweight and he’s trying to be double undisputed, always difficult but if there’s a man to do it, he can do it.

“Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re not good. Usyk moves well, he feints well and he throws combination punches and that’s what you need at this level to be great.”

Usyk, 37, was a standout amateur claiming gold at the 2012 Olympics and owns wins over several brits including Tony Bellew (TKO 8), Dereck Chisora (UD 12), Anthony Joshua (UD 12/ SD 12) and, most recently, Daniel Dubois (KO 9). Lewis feels Usyk will embrace his underdog role because he doesn’t know how to lose.

“He’s never going to be intimidated,” he said. “You’re never going to intimidate an undisputed champion because he knows what it’s like to be that and he loves that position and he doesn’t know No. 2, he only knows No. 1.

Lewis also feels what both men have been through to this point could well be the deciding factor.

“Usyk has proven his mental abilities to physically go to war while still boxing. Fury and his well documented mental struggles add to their array of boxing skills,” he reasoned. “Usyk has been in war mode for a long time and still in war mode.

“Fury has been in war mode before but needs more than being the bigger man to win this fight. His mental focus has to be 100 percent from training camp to fight night – no distractions.”

However, when all is said and done, Lewis expects his countryman to triumph.

“It’s definitely 60-40 in Fury’s favor, you don’t know what type of Fury is going to show up.

“Don’t take Usyk lightly, though. Don’t think he’s totally out of the fight. Anything can happen, styles make fights and this is why we’re excited about this fight. There are different advantages for each opponent.

“I think the bigger man wins because he’s got bigger skills, he can do anything in there. He can box in close, at distance, orthodox, southpaw and he can also move well. He’s 6’9”, he’s a big guy. I go for the bigger guy. It’s a good big ‘un beats a good little ‘un scenario. If the little guy had the size, it would be much closer.”

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].