|Venue: York Barbican Dates: 23 November – 5 December Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and app|
|Follow the UK Championship on the BBC|
Ronnie O’Sullivan says the way he has “never ducked a challenge” compares to British world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury.
O’Sullivan, 45, is a six-time snooker world champion, while Fury has been crowned world heavyweight champion twice.
“I’ve played the best at their best, they’ve played me at my best,” O’Sullivan said.
“I like to think I’ve took on all comers in my career.”
Since winning the World Championship in 2020 after a seven-year gap, O’Sullivan has had a disappointing 15 months by his own high standards, reaching just one semi-final this season on the back of losing five ranking finals last term.
In that time he has seen Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson come to the fore, but he takes on Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham on Wednesday (13:00 GMT) keen to take up the gauntlet and add to his record seven UK Championship titles.
“[In] Boxing you get someone like Fury who fights anyone, then you get other fighters who refuse to fight certain fighters,” O’Sullivan added.
“I like to think I’m a Fury (who has previously defeated Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder), never ducked anyone, never ducked a challenge, pick myself off the floor and come out fighting even when I’ve not felt like fighting.”
Despite often playing down his enthusiasm for competing in recent years, the third-ranked O’Sullivan is among just two of the world’s top 10 players still left in the tournament in York and the most decorated.
‘The Rocket’ has scored over 200 centuries more than any other player, but is still one world crown behind the seven won by Stephen Hendry in the modern era.
O’Sullivan is unmatched when it comes to 20 Triple Crown titles – the World Championship, Masters and the UK Championship – and has also won more ranking events (37) than anyone else.
When asked about former world champion and BBC Sport pundit John Parrott’s suggestion that O’Sullivan could lay claim to being Britain’s best-ever sportsman, he added: “It’s not for me to say, there’s been a lot of great British sportsmen.
“The only way you can judge if a sportsman is truly a great or not, is if they’ve fought whoever was the greatest at the time in front of them. For me that’s what makes a great a great.”