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  • Writer's picturePaul Weir

Unveiling the Referee and Strategic Dynamics of Fury vs. Usyk

Strategic Dynamics

Tyson Fury’s upcoming undisputed heavyweight title showdown with Oleksandr Usyk is sure to be one of the most memorable scraps of the decade – if not the century, and now the referee for the fight has been revealed.

The Gypsy King’ goes into the fight with obvious physical advantages, boasting a monumental six-inch heigh and seven-inch reach advantage over his fellow heavyweight champion.

As a result, Fury is sure to want a referee that allows him to impose himself onto Usyk, permitting them to hold and work out of clinches so that Fury can force his weight onto the Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, the WBA, WBO & IBF title-holder will likely want a referee that splits he and Fury when they become tangled, minimalizing the impact of his disadvantages in size and allowing him to use his supposedly superior boxing skills and ring IQ without risk of getting overwhelmed by the Briton and carrying his weight throughout the encounter.

Mark Nelson has been appointed for what will be his fourth world title clash of 2024, following on from his gigs officiating Jason Moloney’s victory over Saul Sanchez (WBO Bantamweight), Takuma Inoue’s knockout win against Jerwin Ancajas (WBA Bantamweight) and Luiz Alberto Lopez’s stoppage against Reiya Abe (IBF Featherweight).

“American referee Mark Nelson will be the third man in the ring on Saturday night when Tyson Fury takes on Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title in Saudi.”

Nelson is best known for refereeing Jeff Horn’s controversial victory over Manny Pacquio back in 2017, where Horn pulled off a major upset with the help of the judges.

It seemed that ‘Pac-Man’ had done more than enough to get the victory on away soil, with Nelson even admitting that he almost called a halt to the fight and awarded Pacquiao a stoppage win, yet the judges saw it differently and awarded Horn with a unanimous-decision win.

During the aftermath of the clash, Pacquio’s coach Justin Fortune labelled Nelson as ’Sketchy’ after the American allowed Horn to headbutt the champion on two occasions and refused to stop the battle despite Horn being dealt with a sizeable cult, although the blame truly lied with the judges that night.


Since then, Nelson has proven himself to be a worthy referee, with a plethora of world title fights amongst the smaller weight-divisions to his name but he does lack experience in heavyweight fights and it will be interesting to see whether he is reluctant to get involved in the action and get in the middle of Fury and Usyk when they inevitably get tied.

Will Tyson get to use his size and weight to maul Usyk when inside or will Referee Nelson break them up at every oppertunity.



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