Tyson Fury is a slight favorite against Oleksandr Usyk | Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images

Tyson Fury is just a slight favorite against Oleksandr Usyk.

The story of the odds has been just as fascinating as the fighters when it comes to Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk. These two have been the number uno and numero dos(ser) of the division for close to three years now and with that ordering chopping and changing in many’s eyes, the odds on each fighter winning has followed suit.

Even as short a time ago as December last year you could get Oleksandr Usyk as a 11/5 (+220) underdog with the needle moving to see him as a 20/23 (-115) favourite just six weeks later. Now, the Ukrainian sits balanced at Evens (+100), with Fury coming in as the slight 4/5 (-125) favourite in Riyadh.

So, if the fight result is a coin toss, then prop markets can surely wield some value, and where better to start than some up and down action. Tyson Fury has been knocked down seven times in his career despite never losing a fight, and with the “Gypsy King” entering the latter stages of his career his reflexes and ability to move over the 36 minute distance are surely suffering. 11/2 (+550) is the price for Fury to be knocked down and win the fight (something he has done on four separate occasions) and if you fancy both to tough the canvas then 10/1 (+1000) is a fairly lofty offering.

Bet on Fury vs Usyk and more boxing with DraftKings Sportsbook!

Fury is certainly on the decline but how steep is it? His 2020 routing of Deontay Wilder in their second fight seems a long time ago now, with a couple of dud performances against Derek Chisora and Francis Ngannou all we have seen of him since early 2022. But Usyk himself isn’t completely void of ring rust. The difference is the toll that Fury’s weight issues have had on his body throughout his career, compared to Usyk who has grown gradually into the heavyweight division and now looks good for it.

Fury’s awkward, spidery style is a nightmare for any heavyweight with his 34-0-1 (24) record proving that assessment, but if there is a man to crack that code then it’s the agile, well-schooled Usyk. If Usyk is able to get on the inside of Fury then those short, sharp combinations and uppercuts could well begin to chop down the tree and question the equilibrium of a man that is known to tumble. This being said, Usyk to win this by stoppage is the value pick of the four outcomes at a meaty 5/1 (+500).

We know Fury can be hurt and we know Fury can be cut and, above all, we know what a talent Oleksandr Usyk is. Usyk will arguably be the best fighter that Fury has entered the ring with, and with a career littered in drama it’s hard to imagine this fight just ticking by with none.

The co-main event in Saudi features a man that could possibly be the next to climb into the heavyweight conversation: Jai Opetaia. Almost two years on from taking the IBF cruiserweight title from Mairis Briedis, the duo are set to dance again with Briedis being out of action since. At the start of 2025, Briedis will turn 40 and it’s hard to see the Latvian getting revenge over who could well be the current fighter with the highest ceiling.

Opetaia is 1/7 (-700) to win the fight which is pretty unbackable, but it lengthens well to 8/11 (-138) if you fancy Briedis to be stopped for the first time in his career. It wasn’t that long ago that Briedis was running around after Jake Paul dressed as Mario and singing him birthday songs, so I think we can be forgiven for assuming his whole heart might not be 100% the fight game – what better than a Saudi payday to send you off into retirement? Briedis to win back his title is 9/2 (+450) and is hard to justify backing with any conviction.

Further down the bill we’ve got the return of Sergey Kovalev as an 11/10 (+110) underdog against Robin Sirwan Safar, and like myself, the bookies have thrown a few darts to the wall here in an attempt to see what sticks. Kovalev is a shadow of his dominant best and crucially has had one fight since November 2019. Safar is a 4/6 (-150) favourite but without any big-fight experience it’s impossible to gauge his true level. Saying that, a fit and healthy cruiserweight in the top 15 of an organisation’s rankings should probably have the capability to put Kovalev away at the 200-pound limit.

Safar to win via stoppage in this 10-rounder is 6/4 (+150) and probably the best pick with a small uneducated stake.

Elsewhere, Frank Sanchez and Agit Kabayel put their 24-0 records on the line in order to throw their hats into the heavyweight title scene post Fury-Usyk. Sanchez is the 4/9 (-225) favourite here but I can’t see this fight catching fire, so a stake on the fight going the distance at 4/7 (-175) looks the most sensible if needs must. It just feels like that ugly heavyweight fight that you see on undercards that goes on and on and on with nothing of note really happening.

Read the full article here