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Tyson Fury insists Oleksandr Usyk bout will take place this year, but unified heavyweight champ not so sure

Oleksandr Usyk (left), Tyson Fury (right) with promoter Bob Arum in the middle. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) insists his fight against WBA, WBO and IBF counterpart Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) will take place this year.

Late last month it was announced that Fury and Usyk would face off in a four-belt unification bout in Saudi Arabia on a date to be determined.

Rumour has it that the Saudis want the fight to take place on December 23, but with Fury set to face boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a 10-round non-title bout this Saturday, questions have been asked about his willingness to face the undefeated Ukrainian southpaw with such a short turnaround.

But this week Fury insisted he would be match-fit and ready to go in December against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.

“Usyk’s a sausage,” the 35-year-old Fury said to Sky Sports. “I’m expecting it to take place in December, that’s what I’ve been told, so I’ve got no reason to disbelieve it for sure.

“Usyk has to fight me in December, doesn’t have a choice. He’s signed a contract so if he doesn’t, he’s breached contract and he gets sued, so doesn’t really have a choice.”

His comments come after domestic rival and former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 26-3 (23) suggested the Usyk-Fury fight would not take place until next year with the card also featuring his proposed bout against former WBC champion Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42).

“They want to put Usyk-Fury, Joshua-Wilder on the same night. That might not happen until April,” the 34-year-old Joshua said to the media at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on Sunday.

“When Fury gets through Ngannou, it is going to be late October, early November, so I doubt he will now prepare for Usyk and fight in December, it’s too short. So the next window will probably be in March-April, so that’s probably when the undisputed fight will potentially happen.

“Then obviously what we are being told is they want to make it a mega card and they like the sound of Joshua v Wilder on the same card as well.”

But even Usyk himself has cast doubt over the Fury fight taking place this year.

“I can’t say that everything is okay,” the 37-year-old said on his Usyk17 YouTube channel this week. “But I’m fine. Some wounds, old injuries need to be healed. Everything’s under control.

“I do my training sessions everyday, but I need 14 weeks for my camp. The first four weeks I’m doing work that helps me get ready for the training camp. Then I’m working hard for the next 12 weeks.

“I would like [the Fury fight] to be in December, but there’s no certainty.

“I would like to know the exact day and place. Knowing it allows me to plan my training camp and choose its place. All these help me to start training. I understand that the promotion of the match is important and necessary – it is a component of the show.

“But when I know the day and place, I can put on my helmet, close the visor and set off.”