‘I am ready for a rematch’: Usyk looks to future after world title win over Tyson Fury

Ukrainian sheds tears after split-decision win over British fighter in Saudi Arabia

Oleksandr Usyk, the new undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, broke down in tears but shrugged off concerns that he might have suffered a fractured jaw while defeating Tyson Fury in a riveting battle in Riyadh. After he was taken to a local hospital for a routine MRI scan which cleared him, Usyk returned to the Kingdom Arena where he had beaten Fury on a split decision.

Talking freely, without any apparent pain, the Ukrainian confirmed that he had needed just four stitches to close a small cut above his eye. Immediately after the fight, while still in the ring, Usyk had said, “Thank you so much to my team. It’s a big opportunity for my family, for me, for my country. It’s a great day.”

Usyk later paid an amusing tribute to his trainers, whom he said had pushed him so hard for the past nine months. Thinking of the moment when he won all four world heavyweight titles he added, “Since 2008 I was planning for this. It’s not for me. It’s for my God, my supporters, my country, the Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian mothers and fathers, children.”

“But now I want to go to my home, I want to rest, and take a break,” he said. “I want to eat, sleep, kiss my wife.”


Fury spoke to reporters while Usyk was being checked by the doctors. The deposed WBC champion, who carried the marks of their gruelling battle on his face, rowed back on his immediate post-fight comments when he had suggested that Usyk had been wrongly favoured by the judges.

In the ring, Fury had said of Usyk: “His country is at war. So people are siding with someone whose country is at war. I won that fight.”

Fury was more conciliatory at the press conference. “It was a close fight,” he said. “I thought I did enough, but I’m not a judge.”

His promoter Frank Warren stressed that Fury’s earlier comments should not be taken out of context, as they had been made soon after the fight ended when he was still churning with emotion.

Fury, like Usyk, was most interested in returning home to his family. He is likely to take up his option of a rematch, possibly in October, but he shrugged and said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Usyk also wanted to focus on his family, rather than boxing, and he shed tears at the press conference as he remembered his late father who died just days after he won the Olympic heavyweight title at London 2012. But, after his brilliant display in the ring on Sunday morning, when he withstood the skill and power of Fury before dominating the last third of the fight, Usyk also said: “Yes, of course. I am ready for a rematch.” – Guardian