Home Boxing News Tony Bellew warns Tyson Fury not to waste his time on Oleksandr...

Tony Bellew warns Tyson Fury not to waste his time on Oleksandr Usyk mind games

Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew at the press conference to officially announce the "He Who Dares" promotion.

WBC heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) has always prided himself on his ability to get into his opponents’ heads but he may as well leave the mind games at home ahead of his bout against WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 18.

That’s the opinion of retired cruiserweight Tony Bellew, who was stopped in eight rounds in the final fight of his career by the Ukrainian southpaw in their 200-pound contest in Manchester, England in November 2018.

The 35-year-old Fury of Morcambe in England was scheduled to face Usyk, 37, in Saudi Arabia on February 17 before he suffered a cut eye in sparring one week ago that forced the bout to be postponed for three months.

Bellew believes Fury’s time will be better spent working on his game plan to defeat Usyk rather than trying to mentally rattle his opponent.

“You’re not getting inside his head to be honest,” Bellew said to talkSPORT. “I believe, without blowing my own trumpet, that I’m very, very good at that. I’m absolutely fantastic at winding people up.

“But I didn’t think [Usyk] spoke great English and then he came into the dressing room after beating me up and then spoke perfect English to me, he done me good and proper.

“But listen, I’m his biggest fan. I’m his biggest fan, he understands really good English, he just doesn’t speak it well. It doesn’t matter though, his mindset is on another level to anyone’s I’ve seen.

“Tyson’s not going to get to him, he really isn’t and if anything it’ll get to Tyson the fact that he’s not getting to him.”

Baseless rumours have circulated online since Fury withdrew from the original date, with some fight fans questioning the legitimacy of the cut that reportedly required 11 stitches to close. Bellew doesn’t like the scuttlebutt and says fans should accept that getting cut in camp is simply one of the risks of the sport.

“If he doesn’t heal quickly, what I will say is he ain’t taking a punch on that until March, he ain’t sparring until the middle of March. Then he’s also got to be very, very careful and wary when he does start sparring, it’s hard to say,” Bellew said.

“Some of the ludicrous stories of where he’s cut his face and stuff like that, get a grip of yourself. This is a lad who’s going to fight for reportedly anything between £50million and £70million, and you think he’s going to cut his own face to get it to fall through?

“Don’t be ridiculous, some of the stories out there, some of the conspiracy theorists. Listen, I’ve always thought that he wasn’t the keenest on facing Oleksandr Usyk but when you’re putting up the kind of money you’re putting up, he’s not scared of no one.

“No fighters are scared of each other, let me just emphasise that. We’re not scared of no one, he’s got two arms and two legs like him. But he’s just been very unfortunate, it happens.

“Everyone’s seen what he’s done to David Haye, David Haye got cut. I think it was a couple of weeks before facing him. It’s just unfortunate that he’s suffered the same fate now, it’s happened to him directly, so karma works in strange ways.”

As for tipping a winner, Bellew didn’t hesitate.

“Usyk,” he said. “He wins on points and he wins wide.”