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Johnny Nelson tips the winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury undisputed heavyweight title clash

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk

Boxing pundit Johnny Nelson believes the best version of Tyson Fury beats the best version of Oleksandr Usyk.

WBC heavyweight titleholder Fury 34-0-1 (24) will meet WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Usyk 21-0 (14) at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to determine once and for all who is the best big man on the planet.

At six-foot-nine and 270-something pounds, Britain’s Fury, 35, will clearly be the biggest man former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk has faced since moving up from the 200-pound weight class five years ago.

The 37-year-old Ukrainian southpaw has boxed just five times at heavyweight, claiming the unified world championship from Anthony Joshua 28-3 (25) on points in 2021 and repeating the treatment in their immediate rematch the following year.

His title defence against young gun Daniel Dubois 20-2 (19) last August was shrouded in controversy when Usyk went down from a borderline body shot in the fifth round that was ruled low by referee Luis Pabon. Usyk went on to win by ninth-round knockout.

Fury has not boxed since his 10-round non-title split decision victory over boxing debutant and former UFC champion Francis Ngannou 0-2 last October. He turned up in less than optimal shape and had to climb off the canvas in the third round before eking out an unconvincing win.

Nelson enjoyed a successful 20-year pro career that saw him claim the WBO cruiserweight title from Carl Thompson in 1999. He made 13 successful defences of his belt before retiring as champion in 2005 just shy of his 39th birthday.

Nelson dipped his toes in the heavyweight waters a few times in his career, most notably against Jimmy Thunder and Henry Akinwande for a win and a loss respectively.

In an interview with Boxing Social, Nelson offered his opinion on how the undisputed heavyweight world championship clash would play out.

“First of all, you look at the condition of Tyson Fury, I know the dietician he is working with, Greg, he is a straight talking Yorkshire man, no nonsense, and it’s his way or the high way, and Greg has got him in unbelievable condition,” Nelson said.

“All the boxes have been ticked. So now it comes to the fight itself, I believe the best Fury beats the best Usyk.

“Fury in the press conference last week talked about cruiserweights fighting heavyweights. He didn’t say anything I disagree with. Cruiserweights beat most heavyweights apart from the top heavyweights, the ones that have height and reach and natural weight and power.

“I think if Fury gets in there in good shape he gets the job done, uses height and reach, his speed, he’s southpaw, orthodox. Offensively, defensively, he’s very unreadable.

“Usyk is polished, he’s good at what he does, but now he’s going in there on form against the best heavyweight in the world so we don’t know until the bell goes, but I do believe the best Tyson Fury beats the best Usyk.”