Tyson Fury’s mind is ‘no longer on boxing’ and has ‘big problem’ for Usyk fight


Tyson Fury

Zhang has his eye on the winner of Fury vs Usyk (Picture: Getty)

Zhilei Zhang believes Tyson Fury’s mind is no longer on boxing and fears he could have a ‘big problem’ heading into his historic heavyweight title clash with Oleksandr Usyk.

WBC champion Fury and IBF, WBO an WBA king Usyk meet on 17 February in Saudi Arabia to crown the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

‘The Gypsy King’ is coming off a tough night against Francis Ngannou, sealing a narrow split decision win over the former UFC heavyweight champion in October despite being knocked down in the third round.

Fury has been accused of not training hard enough for Ngannou with his father John Fury left shocked by his son’s physical condition and preparation for that non-title contest. Speaking after the fight, Fury dismissed suggestions he was not in fighting shape for that contest.

Chinese heavyweight Zhang will be a very interested observer when that undisputed fight takes place in the New Year, currently the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt and one of the fighters next in line to fight the winner.

The 40-year-old scored two stunning knockout wins over Joe Joyce in 2023 and is hopeful of securing a place on the undercard in February.

Zhang is eager for Fury to walk away with all four world titles and fight him later in the year but believes the Briton may have taken his eye off the ball.

Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou

Fury was given a major scare against Ngannou (Picture: Getty)

‘I think it is simple, Fury didn’t train for this fight [against Ngannou],’ Zhang told Metro.co.uk through FreeBets.com. ‘To be honest with you, he is not the version we are used to seeing.

‘I can see his mindset is not in boxing at the moment, he is doing commercial things, he is doing PR, marketing, different things, but not boxing. And in this business, you can’t really fool yourself. You can’t fool training.

‘After the fight [against Ngannou] in his press conference and interviews he said he had a good training camp for that fight. If that is the case, he has a very big problem going into the Usyk fight.’

Asked if he would prefer to fight Fury or Usyk, Zhang added: ‘I hope it is Tyson Fury. And I want to tell him: My brother, train hard and do the right thing and get four belts and give them back to me when I see you in the ring.’

Zhang knocks out Joe Joyce

Zhang recorded two crushing victories over Joe Joyce in 2023 (Picture: Getty)

Fury and Usyk were originally scheduled to meet on 23 December only for the date to be pushed back as a result of the former’s bruising night at the office against Ngannou.

A spectacular heavyweight card will still go ahead in Riyadh on that date with Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder in action against Otto Wallin and Joseph Parker respectively, with Daniel Dubois taking on Jarrell Miller.

While he will not be involved in that card just before Christmas, Zhang is fit and ready for action, already in fight camp for when his moment comes.

‘The Saudi card is tempting, everybody is fighting each other,’ he said. ‘Me personally as a fighter, I always want to be on the big stage. If I can be the chief support for Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk that would be great for me.

‘But you never know, everything is up in the air at the moment and I do not have information right now. I am just training.

‘I feel great right now, we are actually in a full camp right now. We believe we can go into full mode at any moment and take a fight at any moment.’

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