By Brian Webber: In bad news for fans, the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury undisputed heavyweight championship fight has been pushed back by the Saudis until January.
It’s believed the rationale for this is being done because of the summer fights between Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Fury, and Usyk.
With those four fighters being in action in the summer, it would be too risky for the Saudis to stage their event in December due to the short time between the four participants in the card to recover.
IBF, WBA & WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) has a title defense against his IBF mandatory Daniel Dubois in September, and it’s far from a certainty that he will win.
If Dubois defeats Usyk, he’ll be the one that faces WBC champion Fury in January in Saudi Arabia for the undisputed. Fury’s fight for October is expected to be announced soon, and he may face an MMA fighter in a hybrid-level boxing match.
It’ll be interesting if the World Boxing Council chooses to sanction the fight as a title defense for Fury. That would obviously be a sad turn of events, similar to how the Nevada Commission sanctioned Floyd Mayweather Jr’s match against UFC fighter Conor McGregor as counting as a professional match. That’s a fight that Mayweather broke Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 longstanding record.
Fury choosing his own route
“Well, they’ve moved things because Fury is now going to fight in October. They obviously want Fury involved. I heard this from George Warren a few weeks ago that they don’t have to go with the Saudi narrative. That they’re going to choose the route map for Tyson Fury,” said Gareth A. Davies to iFL TV about the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury undisputed heavyweight championship being pushed back from December to January.
“He doesn’t have to be beholden to the Saudi plan, the Saudi program, and they’re probably right to think like that. Originally the Saudis were promoting events or having events. Now they are promoters. They’re signing fighters up.
“They’ve signed Wilder; they’ve signed Oleksandr Usyk. “Well, apparently, they’ve signed Deontay Wilder. I say, ‘Apparently.’ We know that they’ve signed Oleksandr Usyk. That was made public a couple of weeks back.
“Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s [Usyk vs. Fury] not going to happen this year. It’s been delayed and delayed and delayed. The Saudis will not make contractual offers until these guys are fought in the summer.
“Are we even going to see Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte? It doesn’t look that likely, although we’ve heard this morning that they’ve withdrawn the rematch clause from that contract. Hopefully, Dillian Whyte now signs it.
“Frank told me just before I sat down with you that the Saudis are moving that big undisputed fight to 2024, the first quarter of 2024. So Oleksandr Usyk is probably going to fight another [opponent].
“It could be the winner of Joyce and Zhang, or Filip Hrgovic after Daniel Dubois after he beats Daniel Dubois. “Then maybe it isn’t time,” said Gareth when told they might not do Usyk vs. Fury in January.
Who will Fury fight next?
“What they’re [Team Fury] thinking is they’ve been in talks repeatedly, but there’s no concrete offer on the table. There’s no actual contract, no actual figures on the table, and they can’t sit and wait for someone else’s narrative.
“I think we’d all like to seen Usyk and Fury fight at Wembley
Stadium in April, the end of April. That would have been the time for it, and as we say, week after week, slowly, the pieces are moving now, and slowly, decisions are being made.
“It will all pan out in the end, but there are a lot of wrinkles to iron out. Hopefully, Frank’s saying we’ll get the Fury announcement at the back end of next a week or the week after they say it’s going to be impressive. I don’t know who the exact opponent is.
“Is it Bakole? Is it Francis Ngannou? I can’t see who else it would be from that list. Could it be Frank Sanchez? Could it be Jarrell Miller? We just don’t know. They’re very tight-lipped about it at the moment, and that’s unusual. Normally, I get a good sense,” said Gareth.