Promoter Eddie Hearn is picking Oleksandr Usyk to defeat Tyson Fury on May 18th in their undisputed heavyweight championship fight in Riyadh.

Hearn says he wants Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) to win, but he feels that IBF/WBA/WBO champion Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) will come out victorious because he’s in “great shape” for the fight.

Fury needs to win because that keeps the hopes of a match between him and Hearn fighter Anthony Joshua alive. The contract for Fury-Usyk has a rematch clause, which means the two will fight again before Joshua gets his chance to face the winner.

WBC champ Fury also looks in excellent condition, appearing much lighter than the career-high 277 1/2 pounds he weighed for his last fight against Francis Ngannou last October. However, Fury doesn’t look like he’s gotten any younger, which could be his biggest problem against Usyk. He needs more youth.

Fury has size going for him, but his hand and foot speed are gone at this career stage. He wins fights now by using a mix of clubbing shots and leaning to wear down his opponent.

He hasn’t faced a quick fighter that was light on his feet since his match with former cruiserweight Steve Cunningham in 2013, and he struggled in that fight, getting dropped.

In the seventh, Fury grabbed Cunningham in one arm and nailed him with shots with his free hand to get the knockout. Fury may use the same tactic against Usyk to hold him still so he can land. That’s illegal, but if the referee isn’t paying attention, it won’t matter.

Fury is too slow to beat Usyk by boxing him, and his hand speed isn’t good enough for him to fight on the outside the way taller fighters usually do

“Backwards and forwards. It’s such a 50-50 fight, you know?” said promoter Eddie Hearn to the iFL TV YouTube channel about the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury fight on May 18th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“I’m hoping Tyson Fury does the business. At the moment, Oleksandr Usyk on points. Last week, I thought Tyson Fury on points,” said Hearn when asked who he feels will win the fight. “Just saw a picture of him.

“He [Usyk] had a short haircut, and I thought he looked like a bit of a nutter. So, that was the scientific reason behind the pick. I thought he looked in great shape. I think he’s ready, but Fury will be ready,” said Hearn.

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