Fury demands too much for Usyk fight, Saudis wouldn’t pay says Frank Smith
By Charles Brun: Frank Smith of Matchroom Boxing says Tyson Fury demanded too much from the Saudis for the Oleksandr Usyk undisputed heavyweight championship on April 29th.
Smith notes that Usyk reached a deal with the Saudis on his side, but when it came down to Fury’s side, he asked for a “substantial amount of money that didn’t make sense” for the Saudis.
As a result, the Fury vs. Usyk fight will NOT happen in the Middle East, and there are serious doubts about whether it will happen in London, England, at Wembley Stadium.
Smith says that if the fight is going to happen on April 29th, they’ve got to come to an agreement in this next week because there’s simply not enough time to do a fight of that magnitude in less than ten weeks of promotion.
Should Fury try revisiting Saudi talks?
It’s unclear if it’s too late for Fury’s promoters to go back to the Saudis and ask for a price that they’re willing to agree to. Yeah, it would look like Fury would be slinking back, but it’s better to do that than to strike out on yet another mega-fight after he blew the deal for the Anthony Joshua fight last November by setting bizarre deadlines and then not doing the same thing for journeyman Derek Chisora or Dillian Whyte.
Even if Fury has to do a little groveling with the Saudis, it won’t be the end of the world if he’s willing to forget about his pride and focus on making good money.
If what the Saudis were offering still pays more than what Fury would make fighting in England, why on Earth would he reject that?
“I don’t personally see, and I might be wrong, and this isn’t me saying I don’t want it to happen; I just don’t see a fight of that magnitude; it’s a massive fight, undisputed heavyweight championship of the world has to be given the right build-up that it deserves for that type of fight. We don’t see it very often,” said Frank Smith to Boxing UK about the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk fight.
“I don’t see how that happens in the next ten weeks, in my opinion. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I have my views about what happened in Saudi. It might be difficult to make it happen.
“Maybe they might pull it out of the bag in the next week, but I think next week is the most important time to get it up and running because of a show of that size; you really can’t wait until much later.
“I think Usyk agreed to a fee for that fight [against Fury in Saudi Arabia]. I think Usyk and Bob Arum said he agreed to a fee for that fight. So it goes down to the Fury side to agree to what they wanted. You can imagine they asked for a substantial amount of money that didn’t make sense.
“Everything has a price that people are willing to go to. I think, and we’ll get a lot of stick for this because this is the same thing we always say, AJ’s commercially the standout name in the division. People will point to different things, but he is. That’s the reality,” said Smith.
Joshua-Wilder bigger than Fury-Usyk
“Like I said the other day, AJ-Wilder is the bigger fight commercially right now than Usyk-Fury,” said Smith. “That’s not me saying it’s the bigger fight in boxing or that it’s the most important fight in boxing. I just say that’s the bigger fight, and it comes down to the fighters involved.
“We’re obviously not involved in the details of that fight, but I can understand what Eddie is saying.
“The major focus is getting the April 1st fight up and running,” Frank said about Joshua when asked if Matchroom Boxing has plans for Joshua. “He’s training out in Dallas. He’s going to take a lot from that camp and learning a lot [with new coach Derrick James].
“We want to see the AJ of old coming back, and I think we’ll see a great performance from him. At the same time, it’s our job to work on the background of what we look at doing next.
“Ultimately, it comes down to AJ and what he wants to do. We’ve got a lot of plans for what we want to do for the summer. The key for him is activity this year. Like I say, Anthony Joshua is still the biggest commercial star in the sport alongside Canelo. We look forward to some big nights with him kicking off with April 1st, live on DAZN,” said Smith.
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