Thursday, May 16th 2024

Press Conference: Fury & Usyk Set Serious Tone Two Days From Undisputed Showdown

Fury-Usyk & and a LOADED undercard will stream LIVE on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (May 16, 2024) — It was an occasion befitting the biggest heavyweight fight of the millennium, a three-part press conference filled with pageantry and special guests.

In two days, an undisputed heavyweight champion will be crowned for the first time in nearly 25 years as WBC/Lineal champion Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) battles WBO/IBF/WBA ruler Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) will vie to become the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis scaled the mountaintop in 1999.

The expected faceoff did not happen. Fury refused to look Usyk in the eyes, facing forward to the crowd. The intensity, however, was palpable. After many years of hype and conjecture, the fight is almost here.

Eight fights in total are scheduled for the Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV stream, which begins at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.

The pay-per-view undercard features a pair of world title fights. In the co-feature, cruiserweight king Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) puts his Ring Magazine belt on the line against Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs), the man he dethroned for the IBF world title in July 2022. The vacant IBF world title will also be at stake in this highly anticipated rematch.

The fighting pride of Wales, IBF junior lightweight world champion Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs), defends his strap against Belfast native Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs). In other undercard bouts, undefeated heavyweight contenders Frank Sanchez (24-0, 17 KOs) andAgit Kabayel (24-0, 16 KOs) square off in a WBC title eliminator, while former light heavyweight king Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 KOs) sees action in a 10-round cruiserweight tilt versus Robin Sirwan Safar (16-0, 12 KOs).

Here’s what Fury, Usyk, and some of the undercard fighters said at Thursday’s press conference.

Tyson Fury

“I’m going to make this short and simple. I want to thank God for the victory that I’ve received already. And I want to thank everyone involved for putting this massive event on. I want to thank Usyk for turning up and challenging me. And that’s about it. Thank you to all the fans that traveled over to support me because I know it’s tough times at the moment and money is hard. So, I aim to put on a show.”

“I’m ready. I’ve got nothing to say apart from I’m ready for a good fight. And if it’s tough or easy, either way, I’ll be ready.”

Oleksandr Usyk

“I’m excited. I’m grateful for His Excellency, the reason this fight happened. Let’s make history!”

Bob Arum (Top Rank Chairman)

“In boxing, there’s a saying that the most important division is the heavyweight division. When we have the opportunity to have an undisputed heavyweight champion crowned, as we will Saturday night, it is something very, very significant. The last fighter to be crowned the undisputed champion is sitting out in the audience. It happened 25 years ago. Lennox Lewis became the undisputed heavyweight champion. Saturday night will be a very, very important night for boxing because not only will we be crowning the undisputed heavyweight champion, but the two participants in the fight have never, ever lost a fight. Now, how rare is that? How great is it that this fight on Saturday, which will be held here in the Kingdom, in Riyadh… the eyes of the world, not just boxing fans, but fans and people all over the world, will be focusing on the arena, on this fight, and believe me, it will be a great one.”

Jai Opetaia

“I feel like a whole different version of myself now. I’ve picked it up a few levels. I’m 28 now, just going into my prime. I feel like I’m the next generation of greatness coming through. I look around, and I see greatness everywhere. And I’m honored to be in front of them, but it’s my time now. I feel I’m the next generation of greatness, and I told him that last fight.”

“I’ve got nothing disrespectful to say to Briedis. I always say, everywhere we go, you earn respect, you don’t disrespect. So, Saturday night, we earn the respect again.”

Mairis Briedis

“For Jai Opetaia, I have big respect because when we fought, I saw a real warrior in the ring and how he fought {with a broken jaw}.”

Joe Cordina

“This is a massive stage to showcase my talent on. It’s a big fight. For years, I thought me and Anthony would cross paths, and we’re here now. I’m looking forward to a tough fight, and I’m looking forward to sharing the ring with him.”

“I believe in my ability the same way he believes in his ability. He believes he knows my weaknesses. I believe I know his and vice versa with the strengths. It’s going to be a good fight, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Anthony Cacace

“Listen, I’m here for a fight. I know all about Joe Cordina. I know his strengths. I know his weaknesses. I’ve waited 12 years as a pro for an opportunity like this, and it’s finally arrived on the biggest stage in world boxing for God knows how many years. So, I’m just very appreciative to be here. I’m here to win.”

Agit Kabayel

“The next opponent is Frank Sanchez. He is a good boxer, good Cuban style. I’m ready for the challenge.”

“I hate predictions. I hate trash talk in this game. I’m humble. We’ll see on Saturday night.”

Sergey Kovalev

“I’m very happy to be back to business. I’ve had one fight in four years. For me, that’s a very long rest, but I kept my body in shape, and I’m ready. This Saturday, it will be my night.”

Saturday, May 18

Top Rank on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)

Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, 12 rounds, Undisputed Heavyweight World Title

Jai Opetaia vs. Mairis Briedis, 12 rounds, Vacant IBF and Opetaia’s Ring Magazine Cruiserweight World Titles

Joe Cordina vs. Anthony Cacace, 12 rounds, Cordina’s IBF Junior Lightweight World Title

Frank Sanchez vs. Agit Kabayel, 12 rounds, WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator

Moses Itauma vs. Ilja Mezencev, 10 rounds, Vacant WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title

Mark Chamberlain vs. Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab, 12 rounds, Vacant WBC Silver Lightweight Title

Sergey Kovalev vs. Robin Sirwan Safar, 10 rounds, Cruiserweight

Daniel Lapin vs. Octavio Pudivitr, 10 rounds, Vacant WBA Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Title

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