- Usyk and Fury meet in December in anticipated world heavyweight showdown
- But the Ukrainian was clearly unsure how to read Fury’s display against Ngannou
- LISTEN: Exclusive Tyson Fury interview on THE HOOK – our new boxing podcast
The Ukrainian heavyweight champion sat at ringside in Riyadh to watch Fury ahead of their showdown in December.
Usyk’s head-scratching reaction when Ngannou sent Fury to the canvas in the third round was telling.
In the end, the judges scored the contest narrowly in Fury’s favour, thereby preserving their multi-million dollar fight to be undisputed world heavyweight champion on December 23.
Afterwards Usyk wasn’t sure how to read Fury’s performance.
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk shake hands in the ring after the Gypsy King’s unconvincing split decision win over former MMA fighter Francis Ngannou
The cameras caught Usyk’s shocked reaction when Fury was knocked down in the third round
The Ukrainian, who faces Fury in December, was left scratching his head after the knockdown
‘I had an impression that he was playing. I’m not thinking about [whether he was playing possum] but I will be training 100 per cent,’ the Ukrainian told Fight Hub TV.
‘But listen, it’s boxing. Maybe it was the element of surprise. Maybe. I think it was [a] show.’
Asked whether it made him feel more confident ahead of the pre-Christmas bout, Usyk said: ‘I don’t know, I have no idea.
‘Listen, [Ngannou] is a world champion at MMA, that was a hard punch. Then there’s the element of surprise. Maybe Tyson Fury didn’t take it serious, “Oh it’s an MMA fighter blah blah blah”. I don’t know.
‘Of course I was surprised [by the knockdown]. I watched the knockdown and I said, “Oh, oh, oh Francis! Be careful please!” I was saying, “Tyson! Jab, jab jab, move, jab!” I was saying that.’
Fury and Usyk shook hands in the ring afterwards with the Gypsy King wearing his WBC heavyweight belt. Usyk will put his WBA, WBO and IBF belts on the line in December.
Tyson Fury defeated former UFC star Ngannou by a narrow split decision on Saturday night
Ngannou sent Tyson Fury to the canvas with a thunderous left hook in round three