Zhilei Zhang: I believe that Tyson Fury has the advantage

 | Thursday 16th May 2024, 10:43am

Thursday 16th May 2024, 10:43am

zhilei zhang

Heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang has had his say on who will win this weekend’s undisputed heavyweight title showdown. Betfred Insights sat down with ‘Big Bang’ to talk about Tyson Fury’s upcoming Saudi showdown with Oleksandr Usyk, which will crown the first undisputed heavyweight king since 1999.

Zhang, speaking on behalf of FreeBets.com, is leaning towards a certain ‘Gypsy King’ when the bell rings in Riyadh. “I believe that Tyson Fury has the advantage when it comes to his height and his reach and his flexibility. So I think he's going to win by decision.”

Fury vs Usyk Tips

  • Usyk on points @ 2/1
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 4/9

But the 41-year-old is expecting a good fight, particularly given the shape each man is in. Fury’s recent struggle with Francis Ngannou and Usyk’s controversial escape against Daniel Dubois have had some labelling this clash as past its best. But Zhang disagrees.

“I think both fighters are in the prime of their career. Tyson Fury trimmed down a little bit as we all can see. Oleksandr Usyk is definitely in the best shape ever.”

As well as casting his eye over the biggest heavyweight fight in a quarter of a century, Zhang has also watched the build-up with keen interest. The standout moment of fight week was the moment that John Fury landed a headbutt on a young member of Usyk’s team. Zhang has his thoughts on why the controversial flashpoint came about.

“I think he got emotional before such a big fight. Definitely for his son, but at the same time, anything could happen during the build-up to the fight. That also shows you how big that fight is. Even as a team member, it's so easy to lose control. And everybody's paying attention to what happened. The fight is going to be great.”

Zhang has a massive fight of his own on the horizon. On June 1, he takes on former WBC champion Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia. The fight is the crown jewel of the Matchroom vs Queensberry 5v5 event. Two of the world’s most renowned heavyweight knockout artists going one-on-one while at a career crossroads. 

Each fighter is coming off their own respective loss to Joseph Parker, who has beaten Wilder and Zhang by decision in his last two outings. These setbacks have given each man plenty to play for ahead of June 1. Zhang has taken the positives from the Parker loss and is looking to put things right.

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“I learned a lot from that fight. I went into that fight way too relaxed and I was underestimating Parker a lot. When I dropped him in the third round, I started to dance, I started to get very relaxed. I did not go on and finish him off.

“He was able to pull me into the deep water in the second half. He changed his whole strategy . He was talking a lot. He was doing a lot of clinching. I give him a lot of credit, but in terms of the fight itself, the experience is a great lesson for me to learn. I'll come back stronger.”

When pushed for a prediction when he meets Wilder, Zhang was unequivocal. ‘Big Bang’ offered a mission statement that served nicely in ramping up the hype for this blockbuster heavyweight bout.

“One thing I can tell you, there's going to be fireworks. Don't stand up and go to the bathroom. Don't do that. Stay in front of the TV because anything could happen when Chinese power is fighting Alabama Power.”

Zhilei Zhang was speaking courtesy of FreeBets.com

Get up to £5 in Free Bets if your PickYourPunt on Fury v Usyk loses!

How to qualify?

  • Place a bet on any PickYourPunt market on Fury v Usyk (odds of 3/1 or greater) after 10:00 on 17/05/24.
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You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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