Home Boxing News Oleksandr Usyk confirms February date is likely for Tyson Fury bout

Oleksandr Usyk confirms February date is likely for Tyson Fury bout

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Photo credit: Sky Sports

WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) is looking forward to the opportunity to prove he is the best big man in the world.

The 36-year-old Ukrainian southpaw was widely expected to face WBC titleholder Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) in Saudi Arabia on December 23 before the 35-year-old Brit struggled to a split decision victory over boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou 0-1 a fortnight ago.

In that bout the 37-year-old French-Cameroonian had Fury cut in the second round and on the canvas in the third round only to come up short on the scorecards 93-96, 94-95 and 95-94 at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 28.

The performance of Ngannou surprised almost everyone, not least Fury himself.

“That definitely wasn’t in the script,” Fury said to TNT Sports.

“I got caught round the back of the head [for the knockdown]. I wasn’t hurt. I got up and got back to my boxing. He’s an awkward man and a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He’s given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years.”

After the close call against Ngannou, the Usyk-Fury bout was pushed back to next year with a date being worked on for February.

“It could be February and I would very much like it to be February,” Usyk told Reuters. “I was ready to fight on the 23rd but since Fury got some injuries in the last fight, a knockdown, then probably it will be postponed to next year.

“I’ll just do more technical work. Technically, nothing changes. I just have a little more time for some additional tasks, and that’s it.

“I don’t think about Tyson Fury at all… I think about myself, about my team, about my family.

“I don’t need to think about my opponent. I just need to be with him, fight and that’s it.”

There was talk after the Ngannou fight that Fury should offer him a rematch or retire, but his co-promoter Frank Warren says his boxer will do neither right now.

“Did Ngannou turn out to be the fighter anybody thought he’d be?” the Queensberry Promotions boss said to SecondsOut. “He wasn’t in there against someone who was hapless, who couldn’t fight.

“If that happened against a guy couldn’t fight, then I’d sit there and say, ‘Yeah, maybe you’re right’. But it was an off-night, he won the fight and he got clipped.

“He does get clipped in fights, it’s happened a couple of times now, I hate to see that.

“He knows better than anybody, Tyson. He knows better than me, you, what he should be doing. He’s nobody’s fool.

“If he wanted to retire, I would wholeheartedly back him to do that. He doesn’t wanna retire and I don’t think he should retire.

“I don’t think he should retire because it was what it was – and we’ll certainly find out if it was an off-night in his next fight.”

Warren added: “The fight is on. We’ll be announcing it very, very soon with the date.”