Carl Frampton pinpoints biggest concern for Tyson Fury in Oleksandr Usyk fight

Fury and Usyk meet for all four world heavyweight titles this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Former world champion Carl Frampton is backing Tyson Fury to get the win over Oleksandr Usyk but has concerns over whether the Briton has sparred enough ahead of Saturday’s undisputed title fight.

Fury and Usyk were originally scheduled to meet in February, only for ‘The Gypsy King’ to suffer a gruesome cut above his right eye after catching a stray elbow in a sparring session.

As a result, the fight was pushed back to May with Fury given 12 weeks for that cut to heal with him and his camp confident it will not be an issue on fight night.

Were the cut to reopen on Saturday, the WBC champion has already showed his resolve in similar situations. In 2019 after a huge gash was opened up above his eye while fighting Otto Wallin in Las Vegas, he sealed a comfortable points win despite being drenched in his own blood.

The cut suffered in February however meant Fury was unable to spar while the wound was healing. Fury was put through his paces by cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia, British talent Moses Itauma and South Africa’s Kevin Lerena during his initial fight camp at the start of the year but Frampton says a lack of sparring since suffering the cut could be an issue.

‘I don’t think Fury fights more cautiously [due to the cut he suffered],’ TNT Sports pundit Frampton told Metro.co.uk.

‘He fought Otto Wallin covered in blood. He has been through it and knows how to deal with it so I don’t think it is going to be something playing on his mind. I don’t think he will be too concerned.

Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin

Fury fought – and won – with a gruesome injury five years ago (Picture: Gene Blevins/Getty Images)

‘The only concern I had from the cut is that 12 week is a long enough time for it to heal and recover but he will have needed at least six weeks of sparring [heading into the fight]. I am hoping his sparring hasn’t been affected too much and he has got the required amount of sparring he likes to do. That would be my only concern.

‘But no one is going to know what went on [in those final weeks] unless you were there.’

Usyk meanwhile is fighting a British fighter for the fourth time on the bounce after back-to-back wins over Anthony Joshua, having stopped Daniel Dubois last August.

That night in Poland, Usyk was sent to the canvas with what appeared to be a ferocious body shot that was instead deemed a low blow by the referee. Usyk was given almost four minutes to recover, regaining control of the fight and winning by knockout in round nine.

Oleksandr Usyk vs Daniel Dubois

Usyk was floored by a shot deemed to be illegal against Dubois (Picture: Getty)

It has prompted theories the 37-year-old will be vulnerable to body shots thrown by Fury but Frampton believes Usyk has proven he is ‘tough as nails’, using ‘clever’ tactics that night against Dubois.

‘Usyk is usually the smaller man so when you’re hit around the belly by these bigger men, it is going to hurt,’ Frampton said.

‘I don’t think anyone can question how tough Usyk is, he is as tough as nails. If the referee had started counting as soon as Usyk went down against Dubois, he would have made that count, rolled it off and done what exactly what he did in knocking him out.

‘He used his experience and took as long as he could which is clever. I was listening to [Fury’s trainer] Sugarhill Steward talking about Usyk having weaknesses to the body and he dismissed it and I agree with him.

‘He was trying to win a few seconds off the referee, that is exactly what he did. He played the game, he knew exactly what he was doing and it worked for him.’

In a true 50-50, Frampton is backing Fury to get the job done.

‘I am picking Fury,’ he said. ‘It would be ignorant to say it is just his size that wins the fight because he is an incredible boxer but if he combines that with being able to use that weight and strength to put on Usyk, that is the difference for me, that’s why I lean towards him.’

Watch Fury v Usyk, ‘Ring of Fire’ live from Riyadh on TNT Sports Box Office on Saturday 18 May. For more info visit: tntsports.co.uk/boxoffice


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