Ring Of Fire Predictions: Fury v Usyk – Who Will Become Undisputed Heavyweight Champion?

May 16, 2024
2 weeks
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk during the public workouts in Riyadh

The eyes of the boxing world will be fixed on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday when the two best heavyweights on the planet, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, fight for all the gold.

For the first time ever, all four heavyweight world belts will be on the line as WBC champion Fury and IBF, WBA, and WBO title holder Usyk clash in one of the biggest fights of modern times. On top of that will be The Ring Magazine world title, lineal status, and two unbeaten records.

With just days to go before the bout, opinion is split down the middle over who will emerge victorious. Will it be the bigger, more experienced Fury? Or the slicker, more athletic Usyk?

There are also several interesting undercard fights to look forward to, including two world title bouts.

As fight night gets ever closer, here are the predictions for the full ‘Ring of Fire’ card (note: these are the predictions of just one writer).

Isaac Lowe vs. Hasibullah Ahmadi (featherweight)

Kicking off the card will be a 10-round featherweight bout between England’s Lowe (24-2-3 8 KO) and Afghanistan’s Ahmadi (16-1-0 5 KO). Lowe, a former WBA International featherweight champion, enters the ring with far greater pedigree against a fighter who’s competed most of his career at small events in Dubai.

The odds reflect the difference in their respective records, and anything less than a Lowe win will be a big surprise. An even bigger shock will be if this doesn’t go the distance.

Prediction: Lowe to win on points

David Nyika vs. Michael Seitz (cruiserweight)

Fast-rising cruiserweight prospect Nyika (8-0-0 7 KO) aims to take the next step in his career with an eight-round bout against Germany’s Seitz (12-0-0 10 KO). There are high hopes for New Zealand’s Nyika, who has enjoyed sparring sessions with world champions Chris Billam-Smith and Jai Opetaia. Setiz may also be unbeaten, but his record boasts no decent fighters, so this should be a routine night’s work for ‘The Nice Man’.

Prediction: Nyika to win by knockout

Daniel Lapin vs. Octavio Pudivtr (light-heavyweight)

Ukrainian light-heavyweight prospect Lapin (9-0-0 3 KO) will be expected to collect the WBA International title when he faces Portugal’s Pudivtr (9-1-0 4 KO). Lapin’s knockout rate might not look too special for a light-heavyweight but all three stoppages came in his last three fights, suggesting that he is gradually moving from novice to contender. Pudivtr should pose few problems in this 10-round bout.

Prediction: Lapin to win by knockout

Sergey Kovalev v Robin Sirawn Safar (light-heavyweight)

The first fight expected to be close and one that is almost impossible to predict. A prime Kovalev (35-4-1 29 KO) would be heavily fancied to beat the undefeated Safar (16-0-0 12 KO), but the Russian former world champion has been inactive for two years and has only fought twice in the last four-and-a-half years. However, he has a huge amount of experience to lean on, while this will be Swedish fighter Safar’s first time competing in a 10-rounder. Kovalev’s understanding of 10-round fights should give him the advantage, but it will depend on the 41-year-old’s conditioning. The odds have Safar the slight favorite but this could be the first small surprise of the night.

Prediction: Kovalev to win on points

Mark Chamberlain v Joshua Wahab (lightweight)

Back in Saudi after fighting on the Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou undercard in March, English fighter Chamberlain (15-0-0 11 KO) faces Nigeria’s Wahab (23-1-0 16 KO) for the WBC’s silver title. Chamberlain is a personal favorite boxer of Turki Alalshikh, and the Saudi boxing chief should be a happy spectator ringside; Chamberlain should win this 12-round bout comfortably.

Prediction: Chamberlain to win by knockout

Moses Itauma v Ilija Mezencev (heavyweight)

The fight that is expected to be the biggest mismatch of the night, British heavyweight prospect Itauma (8-0-0 6 KO) takes on German journeyman Mezencev (25-3-0 21 KO) for the WBO intercontinental title. Despite the disparity in experience, there will only be one winner, barring an enormous shock.

Prediction: Itauma to win by knockout

Frank Sanchez v Agit Kabayel (heavyweight)

An intriguing match-up between two unbeaten, top-10 ranked heavyweights. Cuba’s Sanchez (24-0-0 17 KO) is ranked in the top five by all four organizations, including second only behind Joshua by the WBC. Germany’s Kabayel (24-0-0 16 KO) is also climbing the standings, so a win for either fighter would give them a significant boost towards future world title fights. Kabayel enters the bout after a career-best win over the fearsome Arslanbek Makhmudov, although the Russian did suffer a broken hand early in their bout. A close fight but Sanchez should shade this one.

Prediction: Sanchez to win by knockout

Joe Cordina v Anthony Cacace (IBF super featherweight title)

Cordina (17-0-0 9 KO) makes the second defense of his world title against British rival Cacace (21-1-0 7 KO). The Welsh world champion has designs on becoming the unified and undisputed champion at super-featherweight, but he faces a tough challenger on Saturday. Cacace holds the minor IBO world title and is on a six-fight win streak. Ultimately, though, Cordina’s quality should come through.

Prediction: Cordina to win on points

Jai Opetaia v Mairis Briedis (IBF cruiserweight title)

A worthy co-main event sees cruiserweight sensation Opetaia (24-0-0 19 KO) face three-time world champion Briedis 28-2-0 20 KO) in a rematch for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title. Opetaia held the IBF world title as recently as December, only for the organization to strip the Australian for failing to face mandatory challenger Briedis. Now he has to earn the belt once again and is favorite to do so against the Latvian. Briedis pushed Opetaia in their first fight in 2022 but fell to a unanimous points defeat. The rematch should be more emphatic. Opetaia has gone from strength to strength in the years since, while Briedis has been completely inactive.

Prediction: Opetaia to win by knockout

Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk (undisputed heavyweight world titles)

Now for the big one. Undoubtedly the two best heavyweights in the world will finally meet in the ring on Saturday with everything on the line. There are pros and cons to support the case for both fighters. Fury (34-0-1 24 KO) has long cemented his status as the most dominant heavyweight of his era. The British fighter has conquered all before him, including Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder, and has a massive arsenal of weapons and gameplans he can use to his advantage.

Granted, Fury was abysmally bad last time out against Ngannou, but he will be in much better shape and focus to face Usyk. His size, speed, reach, and awkwardness make him such a difficult opponent for any fighter.

Usyk, meanwhile, is one of the finest boxers of this generation. An undisputed cruiserweight world champion, the Ukrainian has made a seamless transition to heavyweight. His twin victories over Joshua displayed all his brilliance, and he has gradually looked more comfortable in his additional weight.

There is a general feeling that this fight is in Fury’s hands. If the Gypsy King turns up and can deliver a prime-level performance, then it’s his bout to lose. But anything less and Usyk will capitalize.

Prediction: Fury to win on points

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