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Tyson Fury calls for Christmas clash with Oleksandr Usyk for undisputed heavyweight championship

Tyson Fury has called for the undisputed heavyweight championship clash with Oleksandr Usyk to take place the night before Christmas Eve; Fury says he will be ready to fight Usyk on December 23, after he becomes “the official baddest man on the planet” against Francis Ngannou

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Tyson Fury says he wants to fight twice this year and expects to face Oleksandr Usyk on December 23

Tyson Fury has confirmed he will be ready to fight Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed heavyweight championship clash on December 23.

It's a short turnaround for Fury, who has his first contest of 2023 on Saturday, albeit one against a mixed martial artist, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

But he is adamant he can take on Usyk for the unified WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles on two days before Christmas.

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"We've signed the contracts," Fury told Sky Sports. "December 23, that's out there isn't it? It's only eight weeks away from Saturday. Why not?

"I've not even had a fight this year so get two in before the end of the year would be fantastic. Double payday," he continued. "There'll be a nice big turkey in the Fury household this Christmas.

"If it happens December 23, I'll be playing that song, Driving Home For Christmas, I won't land back in the UK till Christmas Eve, late Christmas Eve and if we get a delay I'll be spending Christmas with the reindeers in the airport!"

Boxing needs to change

The contest with Usyk has been a long time in the making and Fury has made no secret of his frustration with the business of boxing.

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"You very rarely get two undefeated champions fighting each other and when you do it's like every 10 years," he said. "[Usually] you know who's going to win before they've even fought, it's a pointless thing… I'm a boxing fan. I've been a boxing fan my whole life and even I'm pretty sick of it."

He explained: "So something needs to change. In UFC the best fight the best, the contenders - No 10 will fight No 11, No 4 will fight No 3 and No 1 will fight No 2.

Tyson Fury
Image: Tyson Fury is frustrated by how long it takes the best to fight the best in boxing

"I don't think [boxing's] ever been like that. Sometimes you get the best fighting the best but there's always been a build-up of cannon fodder all the way through their careers. Like for their first 20 fights they didn't fight anybody. That sort of behaviour. In the UFC they don't do that. They chuck them in straight away.

"If you're good enough, you're good enough and if you're not, go home.

"If you're a champion and you're fighting a defence or somebody in the top 10 then that's totally fine. I'm on about grassroots level. I'm on about the way it's built up. When a champion's fighting the No 3 ranked contender there's nothing wrong with that."

Fury does believe that his sport will change. "I think it needs to change for sure and I think it will," he said. "There's some big power moves happening in boxing and it's all stemming from Saudi Arabia. I think there's going to be a massive change in the next few months. There's going to be a power change in boxing and it's going to be for the better.

"So something needs to change and I think we're going to see it pretty soon."

'The official baddest man on the planet'

It's natural for Fury to think that when his next contest is a lucrative non-title 10-round boxing contest with Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.

Should he beat Ngannou, he says, "I'll be the baddest man on the planet. Not only will I be the world heavyweight champion but I'll become the official baddest man on the planet.

"Battle of the baddest, it's in the title!"

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No retirement plan

Even though Fury acknowledges he's "at the latter end of my career, I'm 35 years old and I'm reaping in the rewards," the reigning WBC champion is not planning on retiring from boxing.

He wants to keep on fighting and keep on training. "For a man in the middle of his life, a man who's got ambition, a man who wants to do something, I truly don't believe happiness exists. I think it's a by-product of something else," he said.

"Does happiness really exist for me in my life right now or is it a by-product of me going to work every day, achieving goals? Does that give me joy? Or is there such a thing as happiness?

"I don't know, for me I don't think it exists."

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Fury continued: "I don't have an exit strategy because beyond boxing I don't have anything that I'm interested in. You could give me a trillion dollars today and it wouldn't improve my life at all. It wouldn't make any difference whatsoever.

"I suppose I'm just a simple guy, who just likes to do what I do which is take the kids to school, go to the gym, take the dogs for a walk, clean up and that's it, repeat.

"Groundhog Day, that's my life, living in Morecombe Bay doing the same things year in year out. It's probably why I'm so successful at what I do."

Live for today only

That for Tyson Fury, one of the most mercurial characters in the world of professional boxing, is a guide to life.

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"I never look to the future. That's the golden rule. The future is unimportant to me because I live for today only," he said.

"I don't even live for the next four, five days in advance. I only live one day at a time because that's the only way I know how. Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, today is for living.

"Tomorrow will be what it will be. Tomorrow will bring what it will bring but as for today, it's the only thing I'm focused on.

"If you can live your life like that, which 99.99 per cent of people can't, you've then you've cracked it.

"That's why I've cracked it."

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