Tyson Fury & Oleksandr Usyk in the works for February in Saudi Arabia

By Boxing News - 10/31/2023 - Comments

By Brian Webber: IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk & WBC champ Tyson Fury have their undisputed bout in the works for February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mike Coppinger of ESPN is reporting the Usyk-Fury fight in the planning stages for February, so we’ll see if it happens or if needs more time for the Gypsy King to continue to lick his wounds from his match last weekend against the inexperienced novice Ngannou.

As long as the fight happens in February, it should be great, but if Fury needs even more time, fans are going to be upset because he’d been making a big production about facing Usyk on December 23, only to change his mind after taking a pounding last weekend.

If Fury is a real fighting man, he’d tough it out and face Usyk in December regardless.

The reaction to today’s news of the Usyk-Fury fight being planned for February is a mixed one from fans, as some of them aren’t excited about this match-up, particularly given the recent fights from both.

Some believe Usyk did a fabulous acting job to avoid a body shot knockout loss to Daniel Dubois, feigning a low blow, last August, while Fury was seen as being given a gift from the judges last weekend against Francis Ngannou.

February is a little later than the boxing public would have liked, but it’s better than the fight being pushed to March, April, or May.

Fury The 35-year-old Fury hasn’t been the busiest of fighters lately, but it’s still a quick turnaround coming back four months after his fight with Ngannou, which the fans saw him losing.

The management for Fury (34-0-1, 24 KO) thought it would be a good idea to match the undisputed championship fight with Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) from December 23rd to February to give Tyson more time to rest from his long camp and tough fight with Ngannou.

Fury to fight Usyk in February

“I thought this was going to be a waste, and it wasn’t. It was an actually entertaining fight,” said Chris Algieri to the ProBox TV channel, discussing the Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou fight.

If the fight between Fury & Usyk comes off in February, that’s great, but the negative about it is there will be an immediate match due to the clause in the contract. So, no matter how one-sided the fight is, boxing fans will be stuck having to see a rematch, which could be pointless.

People would rather see the Fury-Usyk winner move on and fight Ngannou, Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder next. Some new blood would be nice, like Jared Anderson or Arslanbek Makhmudov, rather than seeing the same old guys over & over.

How is the heavyweight division going to stay popular if it’s the same tired old names with Joshua, Fury, Usyk & Wilder being constantly recycled without other fighters being given a chance?

“I think we just added a guy to the heavyweight division,” said Algieri. “Ngannou is going to stay. Why would he go back to MMA? He’s not going to see $10 million paydays over there. Stay where you are, bro, and he looked good enough to where he can be there.

“I don’t think he can step right back into it and make money. I know he has a big contract with them,” said Algieri about Ngannou being signed with PFL. “I don’t know what the stipulations or the dollar amounts are, but dude, how much money are you going to make with a Tyson Fury rematch, which won’t be hard to make?

“He’s [Ngannou] already going out on Twitter, saying, ‘I beat you. Come on, Tyson. You know I beat you. If you’re beating honest, you’d say I beat you.’ For him to be able to call out a guy like Tyson Fury. It’ll be very easy to get that rematch.

“There’s no kind of money that he’ll see in the PFL that will equate to the kind of money that he’ll see against Tyson Fury, which he lost the first fight by split decision. He dropped Tyson,” said Algieri.

Ngannou remains a problem for Fury

“I would suggest [Ngannou] getting one other fight in to get some rounds under your belt because, listen, Tyson is tied up with Usyk anyway,” said Algieri. “Tyson-Usyk is not happening in December, just like we all said it wasn’t going to.”

If Fury emerges victorious in his two fights with Usyk next year, fans are going to want to see him face Ngannou in a rematch, and they’re not going to be happy if there’s another controversial outcome like we saw last Saturday. If Fury loses again, the judges need to get it right this time and not give it to him anyway.

“We’ll see when that happens, probably in the first quarter of next year, which gives Francis some time to get back in the gym, get back out there, get another win,” said Algieri. “Get in there with one of those guys like a Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora. Those kinds of guys that test you, they push you, and you learn a lot.”

Ngannou isn’t going to want to fight washed-up heavyweights like Chisora or Whyte, as there’s no money in those matches, and U.S. fans aren’t going to want to see that trash.

If this is all Ngannou can get, that’s one thing, but that’s not the case. He’s popular enough to fight anybody and doesn’t need to face old down in their luck journeyman fighters.

“Usyk did the same thing. Those are the kinds of guys that he fought to get ready for the Anthony Joshua’s of the world and the Tyson Fury’s of the world,” said Algieri. “Get a fight under your belt, and take a fight that you’re definitely going to win, and then go call out Tyson.

“Call out Tyson from the top of the rooftops. Listen, go to the mountaintop and call out Tyson Fury; get that rematch. What you said about Ngannou being an athlete. I knew that about MMA guys, but his preparation was fantastic.

“I knew everybody was talking about ‘Mike Tyson trained him.’ Mike Tyson wasn’t there every day. I’m excited. We have a new heavyweight contender,” said Algieri.

Tyson needs to improve

“It was shocking, to say the least. Tyson Fury said he was in camp for twelve weeks. I don’t know if he was eating burgers in camp for twelve weeks. I don’t know if he was taking camp seriously for twelve weeks,” said Paulie Malignaggi.

The condition that Fury came into training camp at was obviously poor. If he was close to 400 lbs, as believed to be the case, there was no way that he could take that kind of weight off in time for him to perform at a high level against Ngannou.

“I can say that because he wasn’t sharp at all,” said Malignaggi. “Dude, throw a damn short punch. Shorten up your punches. A lot of the shots that missed Ngannou didn’t miss because Ngannou made them miss. They missed because this doofus was throwing them way over the top and throwing them way too wide and couldn’t adjust them.

“He wasn’t shortening up his shots. Even in his corner, SugarHill [Steward] was going, ‘Shorten up the shots.’ Dude, if you shorten up your shots, you’re going to land.’ Ngannou is not making you miss. Ngannou is just aggressively answering because you’re throwing over the top and throwing things so wide.

“Where is the ability to throw short punches, and that comes from just not being in the gym, not being sharp? That doesn’t come from somebody who has been in camp for twelve weeks.

“I don’t care if you weighed 400 lbs before you started camp. It was a terrific performance from Ngannou. I didn’t think he won. I didn’t think he won enough rounds,” said Malignaggi.

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