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Team Fury's antics will not interfere with my quest, insisted Usyk

Written by Declan Taylor

OLEKSANDR USYK has warned Team Fury that no fight week antics will 'get in the way' of his quest to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Monday's first event of fight week turned violent as John Fury, Tyson's father, head-butted Usyk's junior team member, Stanislav Stepchuk, as the two boxers held a series of talks at the Hilton in central Riyadh.

Fury Sr, who was left with cuts and bleeding on the head, apologized for the altercation while Stepchuk walked away unharmed.

Usyk later sat down at his press table with the British press and smiled when the incident was brought up. As he spoke, his team stood nearby and he gestured to them as he surveyed what was happening in the lobby.

“We are professional athletes, not street fighters and this is a big event for our people, the UK and Ukraine,” said Usyk.

“My team is very good at wanting to fight, not boxing, street fighting, shooting, knives, fighting. But I said 'hey, hey guys, come back'. We had to behave ourselves.”

“The situation doesn't mean anything to me, it's just motivation for my team. If they want to discredit my team, it's not possible. Because I don't only have qualified coaches and trainers, I have professional soldiers.”

Speaking about Stechuk, who became an unpopular character in the story of the time, Usyk added: “My friend did not bleed because he is a strong man.

“He is a street person. You saw the video, he was like a Pitbull, ruff! I said 'stop!' they said OK. You are only my friend, it is a secret that the soldiers are in my group.

“It's really disappointing that it happened at an event like this, because it's about behavior. I am not disappointed with my team, they are disappointed because I pushed them back and prevented them from fighting.

“They wanted to leave, I was watching them waiting for the sign to go. They expected thumbs up but I gave them thumbs up. 'Please go back,' I said. And they weren't happy.”

Usyk, who faces Fury in the first untitled heavyweight fight since 1999 and the first with four major belts on the line, also declared that a victory at the Kingdom Arena will no longer be enough to seal his greatest boxing victory.

“My gold medal will always be better than I doubted,” said Usyk, who was the 91kg champion in London in 2012.

“Everyone who does sports – any sport, boxing, judo karate – they all dream of the Olympics. I did two Olympics and only got one medal. “It takes four years, my last opponent, Clemente Russo, who has made four Olympics, has not yet won a gold medal, in 16 years.

“The Olympics last four years but the world title belt is easy, you can get it in six months, or a year. But professional boxing is other people's business.

“For me it's a game but for many people it's a business, it's money, belts, fame.

For me, first of all, it's a game.”

However, Usyk still has a plan for four belts if he leaves Saudi Arabia with them.

“I will bring them home,” he adds. “I have four belts for four children, two for my sons and two for my daughters, one each.”

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