Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undisputed title fight is now off | ‘How many more times do I have to bow my head?’

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The Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk fight is now off.

Talks to make the undisputed heavyweight title fight have failed to reach a conclusion, Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed to Sky Sports.

Usyk will now look to make a defence of his heavyweight titles against WBA mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois.

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Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk would have been a major fight in world boxing

“I will try to express how disappointed I am, not just for Usyk, not just for this fight not happening but for all boxing fans around the world. Because this is probably the most anticipated fight, the most awaited fight, the most wanted one, not just from the fans but from our side as well,” Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

“I would love to see this fight. I would love to make it happen as the promoter. Usyk would love to be part of such a huge fight, we all are willing, we are thirsty to make it happen. Of course we are going to use each and every effort, if there is any. But from my perspective I don’t believe it’s possible.”

Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager, has questioned whether Fury and his team genuinely wanted the fight in April.

“The Usyk side pulled out of further negotiations as the Fury side never had enough [and wanted] to pull everything and all rights to their side,” Klimas told Sky Sports.

“I don’t want to go into details as all negotiations were confidential but I will tell you one thing, when a fighter doesn’t want to fight he overprices himself knowing that the fight won’t happen.

“They most likely forgot that Usyk is holding the majority of belts in the heavyweight division and Tyson just has one.

“They claimed Tyson is a face and must have all the rights, but look at statistics on pay-per-view with Tyson vs Chisora and Usyk vs Chisora and then tell me who is who?”

Sky Sports has approached Fury’s UK and US promoters for comment.

Usyk thumb
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Usyk and Fury went public with the negotiations on social media

Frank Warren, Fury’s UK promoter, has told Talksport radio that he believes the negotiations can be salvaged.

But Krassyuk responded that the issue around a rematch clause was just the final straw for those talks to collapse.

“They did as much as we did. They tried hard. We all tried to make it happen,” Krassyuk told Sky Sports. “[The] rematch clause was just the point where it all exploded.

“The discussion about the rematch split was just the point where Usyk was fed up with everything. He said, ‘How many more times do I have to bow my head in front of Tyson. Why should I do this? It’s enough. Either he accepts what I say or I leave’. Tyson did not accept it and he left.”

Krassyuk did say a one-fight deal could still be “acceptable, but the split should not be 70/30.”

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A heavyweight title clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk is off – relive the recent social media war of words between the two as a fight was seemingly on the cards

The undisputed championship, he insisted, was their “highest priority”.

“The money that was anticipated for Usyk in this fight was not even close to what Usyk earned in his last fight. It’s definitely not Usyk’s payday and it’s definitely not his attempt to get more money. It’s his attempt to get the WBC belt,” Krassyuk said.

“We will do our best to deliver this fight to the fans,” he added. “With Usyk, we’ve been together since 2013. We went through hell, through fire, through water, through everything. We never had any troubles with our opponents, we were always flexible.”

The Fury vs Usyk fight would have been one of the most significant contests in world boxing.

Between them they hold all four of the major heavyweight world titles.

Fury, who first became a unified world champion when he sensationally defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, never lost those titles in the ring but they became vacant when he did not box for more than two years.

Oleksandr Usyk stares at Tyson Fury
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Usyk stares at Fury after his last fight

He made a remarkable return in 2018 and controversially drew with Deontay Wilder that year. Fury then beat Wilder in the rematch to win the WBC title and triumphed again in a sensational 2021 trilogy fight.

Undefeated he has held the WBC belt ever since and last year Fury headlined two stadium fights in London, stopping both Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora to defend his title.

Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, has established himself as Fury’s closest rival at the top of the heavyweight division.

He stepped up to heavyweight and in 2021 dethroned Anthony Joshua to win the IBF, WBO and WBA titles.

The Ukrainian defended those belts with another emphatic win over Joshua last August.

After their punishing fight Tyson Fury would like to see Derek Chisora retire (Photo: Queensberry Promotions)
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Fury fought Derek Chisora last time out (Photo: Queensberry Promotions)

Usyk has become a renowned global figure, returning to his Ukrainian homeland when Russia invaded in February of last year and continuing to represent his country on a global stage when he resumed his boxing career.

After Fury beat Chisora in his last fight, he faced off with Usyk in the ring and their teams conducted intensive negotiations for a protracted period.

Publicly Fury demanded Usyk agree to a 70/30 split, which the Ukrainian did accept as long as Fury consented to make a sizeable donation to the Ukrainian relief effort.

But the two parties were unable to conclude negotiations and Usyk’s promoter confirmed on Wednesday that talks had finally collapsed.

Dubois next for Uysk?

Britain’s Dubois is well-placed to challenge Usyk next, as long as he has recovered from the injury he sustained when he beat Kevin Lerena in his last fight.

Dubois is the mandatory challenger for the WBA title that Usyk holds and the WBA has already stated Usyk must begin negotiations for a defence against Dubois if he cannot show signed contracts for the Fury fight by April 1.

Dubois is also represented by Warren, like Fury, so talks between the promoter and Usyk’s team will continue.

“We’re going to be having discussions anyway because if it comes to the mandatory Daniel Dubois, he’s with Frank as well,” Krassyuk said. “I treat Frank with big respect.

“We will have to comply with our obligations [for] the mandatories, probably. It’s very early to speak about that.”

No fighter has been considered the undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis 20 years ago. Fury vs Usyk would have crowned one finally. But the wait, for the fight the boxing world was longing to see, is set to continue.

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