How Does Tyson Fury Beat Oleksandr Usyk In The Rematch?

May 19, 2024
1 month
Tyson Fury after his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk

History was made in Saudi Arabia on Saturday when boxing crowned its first four-belt undisputed heavyweight world champion as Oleksandr Usyk edged Tyson Fury in a thriller.

Usyk claimed victory on a razor-thin split decision, essentially winning the fight by one round. After judges Manuel Oliver Palomo gave Usyk the decision 115-112 and Craig Metcalfe scored it 114-113 to Fury, Mike Fitzgerald went the side of the Ukrainian 114-113.

An enthralling, high-quality fight made the postponements worthwhile. Usyk set the early pace through his constant movement and angles, but Fury came on strong in the middle rounds and looked to have the unified champion in some trouble.

However, the momentum swung back in Usyk’s favor in the eighth round before a remarkable ninth that saw Fury punched around the ring and somehow avoid getting knocked out.

The late rounds were close, with the judges and many watching around the world split on who came out on top. Ultimately, it was Usyk’s arm raised in victory, making the Ukrainian only the third male fighter after Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue to become undisputed champion in two divisions.

With a rematch clause inserted into both fighters’ contracts, Usyk and Fury are expected to run it back later this year, likely in October in Riyadh again.

After slipping from the top of the heavyweight mountain and returning to the UK without any belts but with a first defeat on his record, Fury will eventually refocus on becoming a three-time world champion if the rematch goes ahead as planned.

So, what does the Gypsy King need to do to recapture the titles?

More Of The Same From Fury

It might seem counter-intuitive considering he just lost, but if Fury takes much of the same from the first fight into the rematch, it could be enough on its own to win.

From around the third round to the seventh, Fury was in total control. He was faster and stronger to the punch than Usyk, whose legs visibly stiffened a few times after being on the receiving end of some clean shots.

Based on the scorecards, it was only the 10-8 ninth round that swung the victory in Usyk’s favor, so in terms of gameplans and the execution of his skills, Fury didn’t do much wrong.

Impose His Size On Usyk More

There was one area of his strategy that Fury could have done more against Usyk and that was to impose his superior size and strength better.

The Briton enjoyed plenty of success when when he deployed his greater size and reach. For the middle rounds, Fury looked to have seized control as he landed the cleaner and heavier shots while leaving Usyk baffled as to how to respond.

However, he was not as clinical as he perhaps could have been in key moments. When he had Usyk troubled in the middle rounds, there were possible opportunities Fury let pass when he could have turned the heat up on Usyk.

Then in the final two rounds, convinced he was leading on the scorecards, there was little urgency from Fury to dominate the last few minutes to secure the win. That, however, might be due to the massive punishment he took in the ninth round. While his legs seemed to have returned, Fury was likely struggling physically

Fury Needs To Tighten Up Defense

Fury has never been the most defensively gifted. Before arriving in Riyadh, the Gypsy King had been sent to the canvas seven times in his career – and often by inferior opponents, including boxing novice Francis Ngannou last October.

Much of Fury’s defense is based on feints, shoulder-rolls, and distance control, and while it’s been effective enough to take him to the top of boxing, he has always absorbed plenty of punishment.

His big problem from a defensive standpoint is his size. Fury is such a big target that he can be easy to hit but he needs to find a way to tighten up his defense for the rematch to avoid taking fewer shots to the head.

Overcome Any Self-Doubt

Fury has always been the master of mind games, using his bravado and swagger as away to build an aura of invincibility while intimidating his opponents.

For a man who genuinely believes he’s the greatest heavyweight in history, how will he process the first loss of his career – a defeat that he never imagined possible?

There will be a period of self-analysis and self-reflection, but Fury will need to approach this defeat completely objectively, analyze what went wrong and refocus for the rematch.

If he is carrying any doubts or demons into the rematch, then he will lose before it’s even started.