Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will square off for the undisputed heavyweight championship on Saturday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A sequel is in store for October, regardless of the result. After that, both fighters will likely head in different directions.

Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), 35, has long been linked to a fight with Anthony Joshua, an opponent Usyk defeated twice.

The Ukrainian southpaw Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) turns 38 years old in January, but he doesn’t have plans of retiring anytime soon. 

“Yes, of course, I am going to continue boxing. May up to three more years,” Usyk told BoxingScene. “My motivation for fighting is discipline, family and fans. I appreciate the support of the people and the Ukrainian soldiers. This is my motivation. We are capable of more with good work. … My biggest win is yet to come. It will happen when my soul is delivered to paradise.

“I feel good. The Fury fight is a big event for me, my family and my country. I can’t wait. I’m not thinking about the knockout. My focus is on boxing. If I can, it will be a knockout. If not, it will be a 12-round win.”

The former cruiserweight king and 2012 Olympics gold medalist Usyk will concede six inches in height while also having to overcome a serious weight disadvantage.

Usyk said he plans on weighing a bit more than the 221 pounds he has weighed in his last three fights. Fury has weighed in at the range of 270 pounds over the last four years.

Usyk is unbothered by any of the potential threats Fury presents.

“Nothing. He’s good at talking. For me, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t work for me,” said Usyk. “For me, the [Francis] Ngannou performance doesn’t matter because Tyson will be different with me. Maybe Fury is easier than Joshua for me, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Fury will have to level up and look sharper than he did against Ngannou in October, when he suffered a knockdown but snuck away with a split decision win. “The Gypsy King” will also look to keep the damaged eye that forced a 90-day postponement out of further danger.

One Tyson that Usyk has no interest in fighting is Mike Tyson, if a matchup were to somehow be presented to him.

“Iron Mike” is on the comeback campaign at the age of 58 and will fight Jake Paul in a professional bout on July 20.

Tyson hasn’t shut the door on other pro bouts, but Usyk has – if it ever leads to conversations about an Usyk-Tyson matchup, even if Tyson is picking Fury to beat Usyk.

“No, it’s not possible because I have a lot of respect for Mike. Mike Tyson is an icon,” said Usyk.

“I respect Tyson Fury. I respect all of my opponents. I respect people. If an opponent talks bad words, it’s their problem, not mine.

“Not if, but when I beat Fury, I will become an undisputed champion for the second time. It will be an amazing fight.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.

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