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Why Oleksandr Usyk Values Olympic Gold Ahead Of Being Undisputed

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RIYADH – Oleksandr Usyk will continue to value his Olympic gold medal above the undisputed heavyweight title if on Saturday he records his finest victory by defeating Tyson Fury.

The IBF, WBA and WBO champion enters his most significant fight at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and does so aware that victory will guarantee he is remembered as one of the finest fighters of all time.

It was at London 2012 that he won his Olympic gold medal at heavyweight, since then he has won all 21 fights as a professional and the undisputed cruiserweight title.

The last undisputed heavyweight champion was the great Lennox Lewis, who retired in 2003 having also won Olympic gold 15 years earlier, but ahead of potentially the finest of all professional achievements, Usyk insisted that the pinnacle of his career was 12 years in the past.

“My gold medal will always be better than undisputed,” said the 37 year old. “Everyone who does sport – any sport; boxing; judo; karate – they all dream of the Olympic games. 

“I know men with three world championship medals but no Olympic gold – only bronze. 

“I did two Olympics and only got one medal. It takes four years – my final opponent [Clemente] Russo had done four Olympics, still no gold medal, in 16 years. 

“The Olympics takes four years but a world title belt is easy – you can get one in six months, or a year. But professional boxing is a business for some people. 

“For me it is sport but for a lot of people it is a business; it’s money; belts; fame. For me, first, it is a sport.”

The 35-year-old Fury has spoken of his plans, in the event of victory, to gift the four world titles to Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority so influential in making Saturday’s fight. 

“I will take them back home,” Usyk said. “I have four belts coming for four children; two for my sons and two for my daughters; one each. 

“Both sons came to the gym [near Valencia, Spain] after one of my sessions because my family lives close by. My sons come to the gym and give me power and motivation. 

“Before I had sons, when I was young, I knew when I had them they could help me with water and hand me my gumshield and tell me, ‘Hey, come on father, you can’.”

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