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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Pattle

Oleksandr Usyk teases Tyson Fury over ‘middleweight’ jibes as undisputed clash draws nearer

@usykaa via Twitter

Oleksandr Usyk has teased Tyson Fury over the Briton’s repeated taunts that the Ukrainian is a ‘middleweight’, as the pair’s undisputed heavyweight title fight draws nearer.

Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said this week that a bout between the “Gypsy King”, who holds the WBC belt, and unified champion Usyk is on track for March.

And Usyk, taking to Twitter to provide an update on his weight ahead of the planned contest, posted a photo of himself in swimming trunks beside a pool, showing off a slimmed-down physique on Tuesday (10 January).

“The Middleweight is here!” Usyk wrote. “Where are you Belly? @Tyson_Fury.”

Usyk, 35, previously reigned as the only undisputed cruiserweight champion in the four-belt era, before moving up to heavyweight in 2019. The southpaw stopped Chazz Witherspoon and outpointed Derek Chisora before securing back-to-back decision wins against Anthony Joshua in 2021 and 2022.

For his first clash with Joshua, Usyk came in at a career-heaviest weight of 221.5lbs, before weighing in marginally lighter for last summer’s rematch. With his first victory over Joshua, Usyk became WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion, and the Ukrainian retained the titles with his second win against the Briton.

Those results also kept Usyk unbeaten (20-0, 13 knockouts), while Fury is also undefeated (33-0-1, 24 KOs). The 34-year-old stopped Dillian Whyte and Chisora in 2022 to retain the WBC heavyweight title twice.

Prior to turning professional, Usyk’s first major accolade came at middleweight, as he took home a European bronze medal in the weight class in 2006. Two years later, the Ukrainian won European gold at light-heavyweight.

He went on to win an amateur world title at heavyweight in 2011, before claiming Olympic gold in the same division at London 2012.

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