Tyson Fury may not think much of Oleksandr Usyk as an opponent, but his trainer, Sugarhill Steward, apparently views the match-up quite differently.
Steward, the well-respected Detroit-based trainer, indicated in a recent interview that he sees Ukraine’s Usyk as more than a credible “threat” to Manchester, England’s Fury, the WBC titleholder, in a potential fight.
The southpaw Usyk is coming off a recent successful defense of his WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles with a split decision win over Anthony Joshua in their rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. An Usyk-Fury fight, if it ever gets made, would be for all the belts. A recent report by ESPN suggested the fight could take place in the Middle East next February, around the time of the Super Bowl.
While many oddsmakers have pinned Fury as the favorite, most observers in the sport predict a competitive fight. Indeed, Steward thinks Usyk’s propensity for winning cannot be denied. Steward also pointed out that Fury has been knocked down to the canvas before—four times in all against Deontay Wilder in their trilogy and once at the hands of career cruiserweight Steve Cunningham in 2013.
“The threat that Usyk can pose to Tyson is Usyk knows how to win,” Steward told SecondsOut. “To me that’s—and this is me being honest and I’m almost trying not to answer because I don’t wanna make it seem like Usyk is not a good fighter, which he is. I like watching him. I like the things that he can do. But he can be a threat to anyone, he can be a threat to Tyson just because he knows how to pull out victories. That makes it an interesting fight.
“And he’s a heavyweight. Tyson’s been down before, Usyk knocked guys out before. This is still the heavyweight division where either man can be knocked down or knocked out. That’s why it’s the heavyweight division, that’s why it’s the big granddaddy division of them all. It brings all the excitement. The big boys!”
Steward also pointed to Usyk’s unique footwork as an X factor.
“We all know that Usyk has good mobility,” Steward said. “That’s gonna always pose a trip to anybody no matter how big you are or how small you are—his mobility and his ability to…Listen this man creates so many different angles, so many different lines of attacks, some of them are just made up as he sees them. He just makes and creates them. It’s not just something that’s planned.”
It is not entirely clear if Steward will be working with Fury moving forward. Fury recently stated that he had chosen Isaac Lowe to be his new trainer, but it was unclear if it was just part of a gag.