Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk fight predictions, odds, undercard, preview, expert picks, start time



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Fights don’t get much bigger than Saturday’s showdown between WBC champion Tyson Fury and IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk. The winner of the bout will emerge as the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era and the first man in boxing’s glamour division to earn undisputed status of any form since Lennox Lewis was stripped of the WBA championship in 2000.

Boxing fans have been impatiently waiting for Fury and Usyk to share the ring for some time. Negotiations between the two fell apart several times before plans for a December 2023 clash were dashed when Fury was nearly defeated by Francis Ngannou in October. The fight was then rescheduled for Feb. 17, only for Fury to suffer a cut while sparring two weeks out from the fight.

The fighters are now set to move ahead when they meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with plenty of intrigue over how the fight will play out.

Fury is undefeated in 35 career fights, with the lone blemish on his record a 2018 draw in his first meeting with Deontay Wilder. He won his first world title with a 2015 decision victory over Wladimir Klitschko to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. Fury then put on substantial weight and dealt with several injuries before failed drug tests sidelined him for over two years, costing him his world titles in the process.

The first fight with Wilder came two fights after Fury’s return to boxing and many observers felt the ‘Gypsy King’ had clearly done enough to win the fight, even rising from a late knockdown that would have finished nearly any other fighter on the planet. Three fights later, Fury and Wilder were in the ring once again, with Fury dominating the fight before a stoppage in Round 7 to win the WBC title. An 11th round knockout over Wilder was next as Fury cemented his place atop the division.

Fury went on to easily handle Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora before disaster nearly struck against the former UFC heavyweight champ Ngannou. Fury appeared out of shape for the fight and struggled to handle a fighter making his boxing debut, even having to rise from the canvas after a clean shot in the third round before taking a narrow split decision.

Usyk brings his own storied career to the ring with an unblemished 21-0 record.

After becoming WBO cruiserweight champion in 2016 and making two successful defenses of the title, Usyk entered the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament. The tournament featured eight fighters, including all four world champions.

In the tournament, Usyk defeated Marco Huck by TKO, defeated Mairis Briedis by majority decision to add the WBC title to his collection and took a unanimous decision over Murat Gassiev in the finals to capture the WBA and IBF titles and become undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Following a win over Tony Bellew, Usyk announced his intentions to move to the heavyweight division.

Usyk has continued his successful career since moving up, stopping Chazz Witherspoon and taking a decision over Chisora before getting a shot to become unified champion against Anthony Joshua.

Usyk put on a masterful boxing display against Joshua in September 2021, rattling the multi-time unified champion several times in the bout en route to a clear decision win. The pair would rematch the following year, with Usyk winning a more competitive fight by split decision.

Last year saw Usyk defend his unified status again when he stopped Daniel Dubois in the ninth round.

The undercard features some intriguing matchups as well. Jai Opetaia and Mairis Briedis are set for a rematch with the vacant IBF crusierweight title on the line. Opetaia won their first meeting by unanimous decision in July 2022. Plus, Joe Cordina is set to defend his IBF super featherweight title against Anthony Cacae. Heavyweights with title aspirations clash when Frank Sanchez meets Agit Kayabel. And a former champion helps fill out the undercard when Sergey Kovalev takes on Robin Sirwan Safar in a light heavyweight contest. 

Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the fight card with the latest odds before getting to predictions and expert picks on the main event.

Fury vs. Usyk fight card, odds

  • Tyson Fury (c) -120 vs. Oleksandr Usyk (c) +100, undisputed heavyweight championship
  • Jai Opetaia -600 vs. Mairis Briedis +450, vacant IBF cruiserweight championship
  • Frank Sanchez -225 vs. Agit Kabayel +188, heavyweights
  • Joe Cordina (c) -500 vs. Anthony Cacace +400, IBF super featherweight championship
  • Robin Sirwan Safar -150 vs. Sergey Kovalev +125, cruiserweight

Read our full undercard preview here.

Viewing information

  • Date: May 18
  • Location: Kingdom Arena — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Start time: 12 p.m. ET
  • How to watch: DAZN PPV, ESPN PPV, PPV.com | Price: $69.99  

Predictions

Brent Brookhouse: This is a very difficult fight to pick. Usyk is a masterful boxer and his speed and technique could give Fury fits. This would be especially true if Fury were to show up out of shape once again. However, all indications are that Fury is in the best shape he’s been in years.

Fury has good power and impressive defense and footwork for a man his size, but it is that size that may be the biggest factor in the fight. Fury is a master at leaning on opponents and draining them of their energy. That plan backfired against Ngannou, in part because as a career mixed martial artist, Ngannou is an expert in working in the clinch. Ngannou is also much bigger than Usyk and it’s possible that Fury is able to pop from range and lean on Usyk whenever the smaller man gets inside.

As much as I want to pick the upset because Usyk has every chance to win the fight, Fury is a difficult puzzle to solve and the size advantage just tips things a bit too much in Fury’s favor down the stretch. Expect a close fight with both men having solid moments before a narrow decision on the scorecards. Pick: Tyson Fury via SD

Brian Campbell: There’s no way this doesn’t become a 12-round chess match of the most epic proportions as the two most skilled big men of this century finally square off. Fury’s size will definitely be a factor as his advantages in height (six inches) and reach (seven inches) can’t be overlooked. But neither can the absolute wizardry of what Usyk brings to the table. In this era of super heavyweights, he is always the smaller man. But up to this point, particularly in his pair of title upsets over Anthony Joshua, it hasn’t caught up with the Ukranian southpaw.

Fury is used to being the most skilled and dynamic boxer in the ring, every time out. This time will be different. If Fury is unable to truly establish himself as the bigger man and slow Usyk down with a combination of body shots and mauling in the clinch, it likely comes down to who can win seven rounds first. Usyk was never physically dominated or controlled by Joshua. And as long as he can win the footwork battle and give Fury enough to think about with the timing of his counter left crosses, this is yet another upset that Usyk can pull off. He’s too skilled and too daring. Pick: Usyk via SD12





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