His former sparring partner Agit Kabayel believes Tyson Fury has “everything” he needs to triumph on Saturday over Oleksandr Usyk.

The 35-year-old Fury and Usyk, 37, are on the eve of contesting the undisputed heavyweight title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the Kingdom Arena.

Kabayel will be a particularly keen observer once he has finished fighting Frank Sanchez on the undercard in perhaps the highest-profile fight of his career. 

Having not only sparred Fury in the build up to Fury’s abandoned rematch with Wladimir Klitschko but agreed to fight him in 2020 until their fight fell victim to the Covid pandemic, Kabayel has also observed enough to believe that the WBC heavyweight champion will win.

“[Fury’s] mentality is better,” said the German. “He is focused. He will win the fight. He will beat Usyk. He has good focus.

“He has long arms; he is tall; he is intelligent. He has everything. He works with the brain.

“This fight’s very close. One guy, he is really good at boxing – Oleksandr Usyk – but in my heart I think Fury wins the fight, on points. I hate predictions but I will say this.

“[In] 2020, the fight was close, the contract was finished but corona[virus] – you know. But no problem. Tyson, for me he’s like my mentor; my big brother. He helped me a lot.

“I was sparring him in 2016 for the second fight with Wladimir Klitschko – this fight got cancelled. I was there with him for two weeks; he gave me very good hospitality; was very friendly… After this we are a little bit friends, but I know this is sport; this is a business. If the fight’s coming, I will respect him; we will see.

“I respect him a lot. When the fight’s coming, it’s sport for me. I see everything as a sport. I don’t take it personally.

“Now I fight a final eliminator and after the fight you will see.”

The fight between the undefeated Kabayel and Cuba’s Sanchez – both 31 and undefeated – is particularly appealing, and Kabayel said: “We are ready for the next. Sanchez has good footwork; we had a good training camp for Sanchez. We will see.

“This stage is the biggest stage of my career. I’m very happy that I’m here.

“Many guys yesterday told me, ’You will fight AJ [Anthony Joshua]’. You know first of all I will only look at Saturday night – I fight with Frank Sanchez; I will not talk too much about the future. If it’s coming, it’s coming. I’m ready.

“But first of all, Frank Sanchez. I have a big step on Saturday night.”

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