Tyson Fury taunted Oleksandr Usyk before promising the unbeaten heavyweight rivals would deliver a “fight for the ages” when they clash in Riyadh on February 17.
The winner will be crowned the division’s first undisputed world champion since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999, with Fury’s WBC belt and the WBA, IBF and WBO titles held by Usyk at stake.
Fury enters a fight billed as ‘Ring of Fire’ on the back of last month’s fraught split decision victory over former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou, who was making his boxing debut.
But when the pair came face to face at a press conference in central London that was given a sprinkling of stardust by the presence of Sylvester Stallone, the 35-year-old let rip.
“I’m going to bust him up. Sausage. Ugly little man. Rabbit. Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run,” Fury said.
“You know what’s coming? You’re getting smashed to pieces, sausage. You’re fighting the best British heavyweight there’s ever been.
“You’ve beaten the rest of them, but you haven’t beaten Tyson Fury, sausage.
“You can never beat me. If you beat me in your dreams you better wake up and apologise. I stole that from Muhammad Ali, I apologise.
“When you sleep at night ugly man you’re going to think of me for the next eight weeks. I’m going to punch your face in. You ugly little man.”
Fury and Usyk were being lined up to meet on December 23, only for the Briton’s difficulty in dispatching Ngannou on a controversial night in Saudi Arabia to result in a delay.
With his verbal attack on the Ukrainian over, Fury talked up the quality of a contest between two outstanding boxers who posses skill and warrior spirit in equal measure, even if he thinks Usyk will struggle because of his size.
“We’re both undefeated. He’s a champion, I’m a champion. It’s going to be a fight for the ages,” Fury said.
“It’s been 24 years since we’ve had an undisputed champion. The Klitschkos were champions for around 10 years, so there’s been 14 years when the other heavyweights couldn’t do it.
“We’ve both been chosen and there can only be one winner. I’m going to become the undisputed champion. More than that, I’m destined to cement my legacy as the number one fighter of this era.
“To do that I’ve got to beat this little man, which is easier said than done because he’s a tricky boxer, slick and all of that.
— Frank Warren (@FrankWarren) November 16, 2023
“But I’ve seen many like him before and when they fight the big men, they struggle. And he will struggle on February 17. I will break him.
“He’s a middleweight, but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog and he’s obviously got a lot of fight in him.
“But when you meet a big man who is a lot bigger but also has the fight inside him, let’s put it in a nutshell – you’re f****d.”
Usyk is aiming to emulate Holyfield by becoming undisputed heavyweight champion having already conquered the cruiserweight division.
The London 2012 gold medallist, a southpaw technician, referenced ‘David and Goliath’ when considering the long-awaited collision, but he was largely happy to let Fury do the talking.
“I will speak in the ring. Every time Tyson Fury speaks a lot. For me it doesn’t matter,” Usyk said.
More than once Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk voiced his scepticism that the fight would actually take place, although Frank Warren pointed out that it was their camp that pulled the plug on their planned meeting last year.