Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver expects Oleksandr Usyk to fight aggressively against Tyson Fury on Saturday in Riyadh.

Tarver feels the extra muscle that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk has put on in his upper body is a signal that he’s going to be on the attack against the tall, rangy 6’9″ WBC champ Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs).

In Tarver’s view, Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) has no other choice but to fight aggressively because if he attempts to box Fury, he’s going to come out on the losing end.

Fury’s reach is too long for Usyk to win a jabbing contest, and he’s not going to be able to land enough shots in that kind of fight to outpoint him. Tarver feels that Usyk must get inside to land his shots, which is not going to be easy because Fury immediately grabs his opponents when they get close.

Fury’s Mauling Tactics and Usyk’s Counter

Although he’s not a powerful puncher, Fury is strong enough to hold onto his opponents and lean all his weight on them to tire their legs out. That’s basically become the main part of Fury’s game since he hooked up with trainer Sugarhill Steward. It’s not complicated.

Fury uses his reach to land his flicking shots and when his opponents get close enough to hit him, he grabs them and mauls like a giant bear. It’s not pretty to watch, but he’s got fans that enjoy his style.

However, if Fury is unable to grab Usyk into his giant maul, he’s going to be in trouble he’ll pick him apart and make him look bad. Usyk might even knock Fury out. The 35-year-old Brit has taken a lot of punishment in his fights against Deontay Wilder and Francis Ngannou.

Is Fury’s Reign a Sham?

He’s not exactly treated his body well, ballooning up in weight after every fight due to his eating and not exercising enough. It’s a miracle that Fury has lasted this long on top of the sport.

A big reason for that is the match-making that’s been done for him. When you’re matched against fighters like Ngannou, Wilder, Otto Wallin, Dereck Chisora, and Dillian Whyte, it’s not hard to stay on top.

Fury hasn’t been facing top-level opposition, and now he’s about to on Saturday, which is why there could be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks saying afterward that they’d been deceived by Fury and failed to realize that he’s been matched in a way to keep him from getting beat. Fans were duped.

Fury is a good basic fighter, but he’s a product of soft match-making. That’s the reality, but it’s interesting that fans and the media are thick to see it. I don’t mind saying it. Fury is a creation, but he might still win on Saturday if he can punch & grab all night.

Tarver’s Prediction and Advice

“I’m definitely going for Tyson Fury, but it’s going to be a challenge. Usyk looks like he’s muscled up on top. He’s going to try and fight aggressively, I believe, instead of box,” said Antonio Tarver to Fighthype, discussing this Saturday night’s fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

“I believe if he tries to box Tyson Fury, he’s going to get his head boxed off. He’s going to have to be aggressive and get inside real close. I think if he does that, it’s going to be a very interesting fight,” said Tarver about Usyk.

“I think that’s his best chance. Use his weight advantage, height advantage and reach. I think control the distance,” said Tarver about Fury. “Every time Usyk tries to come in, make him eat two or three jabs. Keep him at bay. As long as he’s [Fury] boxing while he’s moving, he’s going to look good doing it.”

YouTube video

Read the full article here