RIYADH: Tyson Fury’s father appeared to headbutt a member of Oleksandr Usyk’s entourage on Monday in a bloody clash at a media day for Saturday’s undisputed world heavyweight title fight in Saudi Arabia.

John Fury, with a cut on his forehead and blood streaks on his face, confirmed to Sky Sports television his involvement in an incident at the event in Riyadh attended by both fighters.

“[He] disrespected my son, the best heavyweight to ever wear a pair of boxing gloves,” he said. “Coming out with all that rubbish. He was in my face, trying to be clever.

“Coming into my space [with] Usyk, Usyk…I was only chanting my own son’s name. So then he went a step closer and a step closer. So at the end of it I’m a warrior, that’s what we do. We’re fighting people.

“You come in the space, you’re going to get what’s coming,” he added.

Sky reported the Saudi authorities had decided to draw a line under the incident.

Billed as the “Ring of Fire”, the fight will unify Briton Fury’s WBC heavyweight championship with the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts held by Ukrainian Usyk. Both are undefeated professionally.

“I didn’t see anything, I was in the room doing interviews, but I’m not here for all that, I’m here to get the job done and go home and rest,” Sky quoted Tyson Fury as saying.

The fight was originally meant to happen on Dec 23rd last year and then set for Feb 17 before being rescheduled when Fury suffered a cut in sparring.

Usyk’s manager Alexander Krassyuk hoped Fury senior would apologise.

“It would be nice if we hear some apologies from John, because this was his behaviour,” he told Sky. “We are the example for the whole world…a new generation of kids are taking us as an example. What will they see from this?”

Saudi authorities said that no charges have been filed regarding the incident at present.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2024

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