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Tyson Fury refuses to face-off with Oleksandr Usyk and sends 'prayer' message

Tyson Fury shied away from an intense face-to-face showdown with Oleksandr Usyk following Thursday's press conference for this weekend's upcoming undisputed heavyweight world title battle.

The face-off that was to take place in Saudi Arabia, the venue set to crown the first-ever holder of all four heavyweight belts, experienced its share of drama as Usyk kept his cool while Fury, cheered on by a group of travelling Brits, appealed to the crowd instead. Despite facing Usyk, the reigning cruiserweight champion, Fury kept eye contact to a minimum.

Usyk showcased his artistic side during the concluding press conference with a penned poem whereas a stoic Fury refrained from indulging in any question-answer session. "I'm going to make this short and simple," he stated, "I'm ready for a fight, whether it's tough or easy, I'll be ready. God Bless Usyk, I'll say a prayer for him that we both go home to our families in one piece because that's what it's all about."

READ MORE: Tyson Fury weight for OIeksandr Usyk - trainer hint, Francis Ngannou comparison as issue resolved

READ MORE: Oleksandr Usyk team send clear Tyson Fury message ahead of undisputed heavyweight title fight

Usyk's team had earlier raised concerns over the state of the ring's canvas. Both competitors tested the ring on Wednesday night, with the savvy Ukrainian southpaw starting the mind games by switching to an orthodox stance.

A member of his team later voiced unease about the condition of the canvas' seams and how they might trip one of the heavyweights during the fight, reports the Mirror.

Usyk refrained from commenting on the issue, instead stating: "I'm excited and I'm grateful for this fight to be happening. Let's make history. "Tyson, let your hands

Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk