Saturday saw an interesting twist in the saga of when and where unified WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk and WBC title holder Tyson Fury might meet in the future.
This, as the Ukrainian former undisputed cruiserweight champ Usyk travelled to Saudi Arabia to announced that he has joined with Skill Challenge Promotions, as his co-promoter. And, this all but assures that if a Fury fight is to happen in the short term, it will be in the Middle East.
Here’s the full press conference from the announcement earlier on Saturday,
“For me it’s a great honor and a great opportunity,” Usyk said to the media. “to bring the biggest fight in the history of boxing in the heavyweights to the boxing fans of the whole world. This is the fight (Fury) that is so wanted throughout the planet and with the help of God and the help of Prince Khaled and the help of our whole team… Tyson Fury doesn’t want this fight, but we’re going to make it.”
Usyk is referring to the failed negotiations earlier this year, as Fury and he were attempting to agree on the undisputed bout for April 29th in London’s Wembley Stadium. Ultimately, the Ukrainian star and his team with K2 Promotions walked away saying that Fury’s repeated one sided demands, including wanting to re-open negotiations for a rematch clause, were too much and they would fight someone else.
That someone is WBA top contender and secondary title holder Daniel Dubois of England. And, Usyk’s primary promoter, K2 Promotions, won the purse bid for Usyk to defend against Dubois in Poland on August 26th. K2 wants the bout in Poland, a northern neighboring country of Ukraine, as millions of Ukrainians have immigrated there or fled during the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began early last year.
As for the Saudi backed- Skill Challenge, they put on the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury cruiserweight battle and fight card back in February won by Tyson Fury’s half brother on a decision. On the undercard that night, they also featured a veteran former title holder in Badou Jack, 28-3-3, 17KOs, who captured the WBC cruiserweight title and signed a future promotional deal with Skill Challenge.
Usyk-Fury Part of Doubleheader?
This announcement and presser Saturday only re-affirms that Usyk believes that any possible Fury bout would be done with the Saudi financing and on the timeline, to likely take place in the Winter for possible Fury showdown in Saudi Arabia. It’s also believed that Matchroom Boxing is trying to have former heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, whom Usyk defeated twice in their last two bouts, fight former WBC champ Deontay Wilder as part of a possible Usyk-Fury double header of bouts.
The Saudis are already familiar as they backed Matchroom’s promotion of the second Usyk-Joshua bout last August won by Usyk on another 12 round decision.