RIYADH: Ahead of their highly anticipated showdown in Riyadh on Saturday, boxing titans Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk exchanged words on Thursday, setting the stage for what promises to be an electrifying encounter billed as the “Ring Of Fire.”

Their press conference ahead of the clash, which took place at Boulevard City in front of a packed audience of media representatives and fans, underscored the intense rivalry between the fighters and the high stakes of their clash.

Both men are at the pinnacle of their careers: Fury holds the WBC heavyweight title, while Usyk is the unified WBA, IBF and WBO champion. The bout on Saturday is not only a battle for individual supremacy but also represents a historic moment in boxing, with the winner set to be crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999.

True to form, Fury dominated the press conference with his larger-than-life personality and razor-sharp wit. The British fighter took the opportunity to entertain the crowd with his trademark banter, danced on the stage and generally paid little attention to his rival. Clad in a striking suit, he exuded confidence and made bold predictions about the outcome of the fight.

“I’m gonna make this short and simple,” he said. “Thank God for the victory that I’ve received already. And I want to thank everybody involved in this massive event. And I want to thank Oleksandr Usyk for turning up and challenging me.”

He also thanked the fans who have traveled from around the world to support him at the event “because I know it’s tough times at the moment. Money is hard.”

He added that he is fully prepared for the challenge, saying: “I’m ready for a good fight and if it’s tough or easy, either way I’ll be ready.”

In stark contrast to Fury’s flamboyance, Usyk displayed stoic calm and unwavering determination. Known for his technical prowess and agility, the Ukrainian ignored Fury’s attempts to undermine his confidence, speaking quietly but firmly as he expressed his respect for Fury and confidence in his own abilities.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said, adding that he is excited to visit the Kingdom. “Let’s make history”

Despite the verbal jabs and competitive spirit on display, both fighters expressed mutual respect for each other’s accomplishments. Fury acknowledged Usyk’s remarkable rise through the heavyweight ranks, while Usyk lauded Fury for his resilience and fighting spirit.

This respect did little to ease the palpable tension, however, as the fighters faced off for the cameras. Though Fury refused to take part in the traditional stare-down finale, the steely gazes nonetheless served as the precursor to a fierce battle.

Usyk’s manager, Alexander Krasiuk, said: “There is only one task left. It is to take this green belt and return it to Ukraine, the country it belongs to.”

In response, Spencer Brown, Fury’s manager, said: “We have come from Britain here to win the belts and take them back.”

Fellow fighters and boxing pundits also took the stage on Thursday to share their perspectives on the big fight. Press conference host Dev Sahni noted the historical significance of the bout, saying: “Both (fighters) are going to let their fists do the talking on Saturday night. It is the fight of the century; the first undisputed world heavyweight champion will be crowned right here in Riyadh on Saturday. Do not miss it.”

American boxer Ryan Garcia described Usyk as a “hell of a man” but added: “Fury is the man. I think he is the best heavyweight of all time.”

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