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Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk go face-to-face, with neither looking easy to rattle

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk went face-to-face in Riyadh and shared a short embrace.

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk went face-to-face in Riyadh
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk went face-to-face in Riyadh
TNT Sports
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Tyson Fury is facing Francis Ngannou on Saturday, but diehard boxing fans are far more concerned with what’s next for Fury, a likely December showdown with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed world heavyweight championship.

Fury, who holds the WBC title, has recently said it’s all on course for Dec. 23 in Saudi Arabia, and he and WBA/IBF/WBO titleholder Usyk shared a short face-to-face today.

Here’s a look at the video, where the two even embrace a little bit, with a lot to potentially read into that.

Fury spots Usyk and then says, in an exaggerated voice, “Oleksandr Usyk, I choose you! Get over here!” This appears to be some sort of Pokémon/Mortal Kombat mash-up bit, which is fine.

Usyk, in typical Usyk fashion, simply replies, “OK,” and walks over to Fury.

Fury offers a quick hug, to which Usyk seems indifferent and professional or whatever, and on a second hug, Usyk picks Fury up in a bearhug, perhaps just to show that he can.

“I needed that hug!” Fury says jovially, before offering hellos to more members of Usyk’s team. Usyk keeps his eyes on Fury as Tyson walks off — not menacingly, or at least as “not menacingly” as Usyk can manage — and then heads away himself.

Now if you want to read into it, and I say why not, here’s what I see:

  • Fury is offering a “surprisingly” warm greeting for Usyk. Fury has a habit of switching between personas when potential opponents are actually right there by him or not. Sometimes he’s extremely complimentary, sometimes playful, sometimes he’s talking pure trash. Tyson seems to like to keep opponents guessing as a way to get into their heads and make them unsure of who he really is. By scattering his approach, he offers no legitimate insight to read, including what I’m doing right now. I could be completely off. Tyson also is simply weird.
  • As we’ve detailed before, Usyk is also simply weird. He was long known as a cut-up among his Ukraine teammates as an amateur, apparently a really funny guy. Since he’s not a native English speaker, we don’t often get this in our press, but you can tell he’s got a goofy streak to him even still.
  • Taking those two things, I don’t think either of these guys are capable of being “intimidated” in the way we’d normally mean that. I don’t think either of them can rattle the other ahead of a fight. I think they’ll both try, in their way.

It’s clear the hype is already starting for Fury vs Usyk, and I’m getting on the train. Let’s go!

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