Heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury sees himself as the last man standing against the encroachment of Oleksander Usyk.  

Fury, the WBC beltholder from England, is scheduled to fight for the undisputed championship against WBO, WBA, IBF unified champion Usyk of Ukraine on Feb. 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  

The fight, which has gone through a year of belabored and unsuccessful negotiations, finally came together when Turki Alalshikh of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority got involved. The outfit was behind Fury’s crossover bout with Francis Ngannou last month and is responsible for the upcoming Dec. 23 card featuring Anthony Joshua against Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder against Joseph Parker.

In a recent interview, Fury was not particularly eager to dwell on his tougher-than-expected fight with Ngannou, in which the Cameroonian scored a shocking knockdown in the third round.

“What did you expect me to do? Stay down?” Fury told Sky Sports. “No matter what life chucks at you, always gotta keep moving forward, getting up and moving forward. That’s what you gotta do.”

“I don’t reflect, it’s in the past,” Fury added. “That’s it. I’m happy. Got paid, got laid, onto the next one.

Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) characterized his fight with Usyk as an existential battle for the European continent.

“There’s only me who stands in the way of total domination of Europe. He’s beaten all the British guys, [Derek] Chisora, [Anthony] Joshua, [Daniel] Dubois,” Fury said. “There’s only me.  

“They gotta pull out the long-range guns, and we’ll see. If he can beat me, which I know he can’t, there’ll be nothing standing in his way of total domination.”

The southpaw Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) last fought in August, stopping Dubois in nine rounds. There was a controversial moment in the fifth round when Dubois landed a punch that caused Usyk to fall to the canvas. The punch was ruled a low blow and led to an unsuccessful appeal by Dubois’ promoter.  

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.