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Should the fight go as Tyson Fury expects this weekend, it will confirm him as the greatest heavyweight of all time — at least according to the ‘Gypsy King’ himself.

Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, faces Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this Saturday night in a fight that is expected to unify boxing’s major heavyweight world titles for the first time in 25 years.

The Englishman, who came close to suffering a seismic shock in his last outing in the ring against Francis Ngannou in October, has in the lead-up frequently referred to his opponent as a ‘blown up cruiserweight’, implying that the 6ft3in two-weight world champion is physically ill-equipped to handle the size and reach which has flummoxed so many of Fury’s opponents.

But now, and with just days remaining until that first bell rings in a bout that has been pushed back on at least two occasions, Fury appears to have changed his tune about the threats that the wily Olympic gold medallist can pose.

“I think he’s the best opponent I’ve ever faced, because I’ve fought world heavyweight champions before or undefeated people before, I’ve fought Olympic gold medals before, but I’ve never fought a two-weight world champion before. So I think that puts him at the top of it all,” Fury said this week in an interview with DAZN.

And should he triumph, Fury says it is he — and not some of the sport’s other heavyweight luminaries in history — that should be revered as the finest big man to ever lace up a pair of boxing gloves.

“I think this win puts me at number one, barring none. Beating Usyk now puts me number one status of all time,” Fury added.

That’s big talk from a big man, particularly with Muhammad Ali generally regarded as not just the best heavyweight but the best boxer of all tine.

But should Fury engineer the type of dominant showing against Usyk that he has forecast in the past, it will be difficult to not place him in the division’s all-time elite.