Tyson Fury (22-0, 16 KO) won't be fighting the man he trained for on Saturday, but he will be fighting. Originally, the 6'9", 25-year-old from Wythenshawe, England, was scheduled to face Dereck "Del Boy" Chisora in a highly anticipated rematch.
Chisora suffered an injury to his left hand and had to pull out of the fight. Alexander Ustinov (29-1, 21 KO), a 37-year-old, 6'7" veteran heavyweight, will step in as Chisora's replacement on short notice.
The fight takes place in Fury's backyard in Manchester, so he'll undoubtedly be the heavy favorite of the fans in attendance. While the bout won't be as emotionally charged as a scrap with Chisora would have been, there still figures to be a KO finish with fighters this big in the same ring.
Fury is the favorite heading in, but not by as big of a margin as one might expect. Per Odds Shark, Fury is listed as a minus-400 favorite. Because of Ustinov's size and power, this may turn out to be an interesting and exciting bout.
Here's how you can watch:
When: Saturday at 4 p.m. ET
Where: Phones 4u Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Live Stream: Livesport.tv (subscription required)
On to the Next One...
Initially, Fury didn't take the news that Chisora was pulling out of the fight well, reacting negatively on Twitter (NSFW language). But once Ustinov stepped in as the replacement, Fury wasted little time singing the praises of his new opponent:
I Believe Ustinov is a step up from chisora only lost 1 to pulev— Tyson Luke Fury (@Tyson_Fury) July 23, 2014
Clash of the titans Tyson2fastfury vs Alexanderthegreatustinov. 6"9 vs 6"8. 18stone7 vs 20 stones. Whoop wooooop let's dance big man— Tyson Luke Fury (@Tyson_Fury) July 23, 2014
The praise could be dismissed as an attempt to prop up a late replacement, but Fury isn't the only one who sees Ustinov as a live dog.
Id actually prefer to see Alexander Ustinov v @Tyson_Fury than Dereck. He can be a right handful and will be fit & motivated to cause hell!— Mickey Helliet (@Mickey_Helliet) July 23, 2014
Fury has made himself into quite the polarizing figure on social media, even if his in-ring work has been a little less compelling. His tweets run the gamut from boxing related to social commentary. Both have gotten him into trouble in the past.
Most recently, he mistakenly directed a violent tweet toward a woman...
He later apologized, his ire originally directed at the wrong person, but Fury is often a loose cannon on Twitter. He has picked fights with everyone from Chisora, to David Haye, to retired legends like Lennox Lewis.
One can only hope the bout on Saturday is a bit more entertaining than Fury's various Twitter beefs.
This Is Going to Be a Slow-Paced Fight
If you've ever seen Fury fight, you know he's not the swiftest heavyweight in the world. Well, Ustinov is even slower. He has won two fights in a row including a unanimous-decision win over David Tua (yeah, that David Tua) back in November 2013.
Even though his recent exploits don't scream "major contender," Ustinov's power and expected motivation to shine could present a major challenge for Fury.
If you love heavyweight slugfests, this one is going to be for you.
There's a slight inkling to take Ustinov in the upset. Fury trained presumably hard to face Chisora, a much shorter fighter (6'1.5") with a different skill set. He could be ill-prepared for an experienced fighter who nearly matches him in size.
However, the deciding factor in this prediction is Fury's above-average jab. When he's at his best, the jab highlights his mammoth 85" reach and can make it tough on a fighter without the requisite head movement to slip the punch.
Ustinov is not difficult to hit at all, thus he'll find himself in trouble.
Fury may have a few anxious moments, but he'll catch his opponent flush around the fifth round and stop him.
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