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Home » Mauricio Sulaiman column: Usyk vs Fury – A Battle for the Ages

Mauricio Sulaiman column: Usyk vs Fury – A Battle for the Ages

When a fight meets and exceeds expectations, it is then that the world does not cease talking about the event and the fans celebrate with joy, renewing their fascination with maximum passion for our sport.

Last Saturday, Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury thrilled, giving us a fight packed with drama that, without a doubt, positions this battle among the all-time greats in history.

The heavyweight division is, by tradition, the most prestigious. The world heavyweight champion is lauded as the most powerful, revered, and feared athlete in the world.

This was the case for many decades: Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Vitaly Klitschko.

Lennox retired from boxing as WBC world champion after his dramatic fight against Vitaly Klitschko, and Lewis was the last undisputed heavyweight champion … until now.

It was in 1999 when he defeated Evander Holyfield and became undisputed champion, a concept that fans and media like and thirst for. It means that he is the only monarch of the division by holding the four belts currently recognized: WBC, WBA, WBO and the IBF.

Saudi Arabia has become the most interesting destination for today’s most important fights. Riyadh Season is, without a doubt, the capital of the world for magnanimous events.

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh is an avid fan of the sport of fists and started a spectacular campaign to ensure that the fights that the world wants to see take place, and it is revolutionizing boxing.

After five years and multiple attempts to unify the top division, this was finally achieved and the Kingdom Arena had a full house, thousands who witnessed Ring of Fire, millions who watched on DAZN. All in all, a historic fight which is now in the book as one of the greatest history.

With an inexhaustible budget, the fight was advertised and promoted throughout the world in a visionary, entertaining way, with highly attractive and effective elements.

A short film was made simulating an Old Wild West duel, an exclusive song was produced, it was announced on giant screens all around England, New York, Tokyo, and Mexico City, in the Latin American Tower, in the World Trade Center, trucks, airports, bars and restaurants, and even human signs, who walked the streets with said advertising.

Social networks were flooded for weeks with all kinds of publications, which became a crescendo trending topic on fight week and culminated on Saturday before, during and, above all, after the fight.

Jacob & Co. designed and manufactured a unique watch which was auctioned in a spectacular event, in which there were other valuable articles – shorts signed by legends, the WBC belt with the signatures of Fury and Usyk, and even a glove signed by the Beatles!

The watch finally was sold for 800 thousand dollars!

The production inside the arena was spectacular: lights, music, lasers, effects, and moving screens. The footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. attended, sitting in the front row, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme along with Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, Antonio Tarver, Amir Khan, and Badou Jack, and heavyweight legends Larry Holmes, Wladimir Klitschko, and Anthony Joshua. Inside the ring were Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, with the undisputed belts in their hands.

Spectacular ring walk by both teams, emotive national anthems, indescribable atmosphere.

With all this said, all the paraphernalia and the multi-millions spent on this card, blended and melded into the moment, the high anticipation for the first bell to be rung.

There they were, only Fury and Usyk inside the ring, nothing else mattered anymore, only the battle between these two gladiators was underway. Reminiscent of the Roman Circus Maximus, Madison Square Garden, Zaire stadium for Rumble in the Jungle, and Manila Colisseum for Thrilla in Manila, befitting those classics, now it was time for Ring of Fire.

At the end of the fight there was a winner by split decision, to the joy of the thousands of attendees and millions of viewers, because we all knew that we had just seen a legendary fight that will be remembered for generations. Congratulations to Usyk for becoming the Undisputed Heavyweight champion, to Fury for being part of history and demonstrated his heart of a lion, to HE Turki Alalashik for making this a reality and to the promoters of the event Queensberry, Top Rank, and K2, DAZN Boxing, and all the teams of everyone involved.