OLEKSANDR USYK has dismissed the idea that Tyson Fury will represent the toughest fight of his career.

The top two heavyweights are scheduled to fight in Saudi Arabia, as part of Riyadh Season, with February 17 set to be confirmed as the date this week. The winner, presuming there is one, will be recognised as the lone world champion in the division.

Both men fought only once in 2023, Usyk stopping Daniel Dubois and Fury struggling to outpoint debutant Francis Ngannou. Boxing’s marquee division has suffered with a lack of high-quality matchups this year but the landscape is set for a serious uplift in 2024. This evening (November 15), an eight-fight card topped by Anthony Joshua-Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder-Joseph Parker will be announced for December 23, again in Saudi Arabia.

Usyk has this week been in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, attending the latest WBC Convention and spoke exclusively to Boxing News.

Asked if a fight against Fury would be his toughest to date, Usyk scoffed, “Against Tyson Fury? Pfft. No. Of course not.”

With that familiar mischievous glint in his eye, he added, “What are you talking about? I’ve never had hard or tough fights in my career.”

The Ukrainian travelled to Riyadh late last month to witness Fury against Ngannou in a bout many predicted would end with the Briton outclassing and embarrassing the former UFC heavyweight champion. What unfolded was something completely different, however. Fury was not only dropped in the third of the 10-round contest but struggled to hurt Ngannou or take complete charge. Fury, somewhat contentiously, eventually won via split decision.

“I think Tyson Fury wasn’t serious about Francis Ngannou and we saw what we saw,” Usyk told BN.

“We saw that Francis Ngannou did a great job in his training camp and he showed the result in the ring. Nobody gave him a chance to win, and I was one of them. I was one of the people who said Tyson Fury was supposed to knock him out. But now people like Ngannou show the world that you cannot write him off.

“He [Fury] will act differently with me in the ring. I am sure about this.”