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Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk: Gypsy King confident he's still the man for the big occasion

Tyson Fury fights are rarely without layers of intrigue, and Saturday night’s undisputed heavyweight title clash with Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh has more than most.

At 35, Fury heads into an era-defining bout against the unbeaten Ukrainian with debate raging over his conditioning, his form, the tactics he might employ and whether the elite heavyweight of previous conquests will reappear after years of relative inactivity and tepid performances.

The consensus is that he will need to rediscover his best against Usyk, an opponent who always arrives in shape, whose talent and consistency have enabled him to transition from cruiserweight and climb to within one victory of being crowned the best big man on the planet.

The capricious Fury insists it’s a challenge that will bring out the best in him, that he has blown hot and cold in the past merely because he felt insufficiently threatened.

“If you put these average men in front of me, like [Derek] Chisora and Dillian Whyte and Francis Ngannou … I am not getting turned on, they’re not my type, if that makes any sense – but I am definitely turned on for this one," Fury said of Usyk.

“You put me in a six-rounder and I look [bad], but if you put me at the top of the world, on the world’s biggest stage, and I look good – I always do. That’s how it rolls.”

It seems that many agree. Despite recent struggles, Fury will start as a slight favourite at Kingdom Arena on Saturday night.

It’s the same venue in which he suffered near-disaster against the MMA import Ngannou last October, when poor conditioning and underestimating the man in the opposite corner left the ringside Usyk squirming in his seat, unsure if he was watching the undisputed fight evaporate before his eyes.

That Riyadh

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