TYSON FURY has revealed he applauded Sky Sports’ Adam Smith when he slammed Johnny Nelson for labelling Oleksandr Usyk an ‘average southpaw’.
Nelson, who was cruiserweight world champion between 1999 and 2005, incredibly claimed last year that pound-for-pound superstar Usyk was not a standout boxer compared to other southpaws.
Fury has defended Usyk’s ability as he praised Smith for his assessment of the Ukrainian
Smith hailed Usyk as a fantastic fighter – both as an amateur and a professional
Sky Sports presenter and commentator Smith took umbrage to that view.
And Fury has now revealed he agreed with Smith in slamming Nelson’s controversial point.
Grabbing the mic and interviewing the Sky man on iFL TV, Fury said: “A couple of months ago Johnny Nelson said to you that Oleksandr Usyk is an average southpaw cruiserweight.
“And I was actually very impressed with your thing. You was absolutely livid, absolutely boiling. You was like ‘arghhhh’. Can you tell us a bit more about it?”
And Smith explained: “I was doing an interview and Johnny just said he was an average southpaw and I just took complete offence to that.
“I think he is a fantastic fighter. I think he was a wonderful amateur. He was brilliant against Joshua and I thought that was a disgraceful thing for my good friend and colleague to say.
“But there we go, that’s his opinion.”
Fury then replied: “I was actually clapping in the room because that was amazing. So well done for that.”
Usyk, an Olympic gold medallist from London 2012, beat Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO world titles.
Since then, there have been ongoing talks about a rematch.
But those discussions have taken a back seat since former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk decided to fight on the frontline for his country against the Russian invasion.
And Joshua‘s promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed – with Usyk’s situation in Ukraine taking priority – that AJ may consider an interim bout while he waits for the chance to become a three-time world heavyweight champion.
Hearn said: “It’s difficult to speak on behalf of Oleksandr Usyk.
“Firstly, my thoughts are with everybody in Ukraine and people showing incredible bravery out there, particularly some of the great fighters of the past and Oleksandr as well.
“He can have the time that he needs. We [Joshua’s camp] don’t want any other fight but Oleksandr Usyk.
“Whether there’s a delay for that fight and we have an interim bout, I guess that’s subject to the situation with Oleksandr Usyk and how much time he needs.
“It’s a very emotional time and personal time for the people of Ukraine. So we’ll respect them and give them all the time, but we wouldn’t be looking to get out of our obligation, is what I’m saying.
“The only fight AJ wants right now is Oleksandr Usyk. If we have to fight in between, no problem at all, but we’ll respect this time for Oleksandr Usyk and speak to his advisers.
“If there needs to be a delay for the contractual period, we will be happy to grant that, but we want that fight.
“We don’t want that obligation to slide away.”
Meanwhile, Fury will defend his WBC title against fellow Brit Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on April 23.