Home Boxing News Tyson Fury will withdraw from Oleksandr Usyk fight, says former world champion

Tyson Fury will withdraw from Oleksandr Usyk fight, says former world champion

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Photo credit: Sky Sports

The highly anticipated heavyweight unification clash between WBC titleholder Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) and WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) will not take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 17 as planned.

That’s the opinion of retired former super middleweight champion turned pundit Carl Froch.

Britain’s Fury, 35, had a tougher than expected time against boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou 0-1 in October. He looked sluggish in the early going and had to climb off the canvas in the third to eke out a disputed split decision win in their 10-round non-title bout.

Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 36, had his own dramas when he was dropped by a body shot in the fifth-round of his title defence against Daniel Dubois 19-2 (18). The blow was ruled low and Usyk went on to stop the 26-year-old Brit in the ninth round, but it prompted discussion about Usyk’s ability to take a body shot.

The boxing world has long looked forward to a clash between Fury and Usyk for all four major sanctioning body world titles, but to hear Froch tell it, it won’t be happening early next year.

“He’s got a bit of timber on him, a bit of derby that he needs to reign in before the fight,” Froch said on his YouTube channel.

“I think it’s gonna be a tough one for Tyson to have a good Christmas and New Year, relax, and let his bald head down over Christmas and New Year.

“He’s got a wonderful family, we’ve seen on Netflix. He’s got a big family, his wife and seven children. So, he’s gonna want to relax and have a good time.

“Is he going to want to be training over Christmas and New Year, which he’s going to have to do, if he’s going to be ready for the February event?

“I’m not so sure, I’ve got a feeling that fight might get pushed back until March. You heard it here first.”

Froch added: “Hopefully it does happen in February.

“The Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk fight for the unification – for the heavyweight undisputed unification fight – has to happen.

“I’m optimistic it will, I’ve just got my reservations that it’s going to happen in February.”

Even Fury’s father John Fury thinks his son won’t be ready on the scheduled date.

“The 17th February is the date they have got to work towards. But, in my opinion, Tyson needs a bit more time to get his conditioning right and his weight right,” he told Metro.

“For my money, his last three fights, I have seen a bit of decline. Not a decline in ability but a decline in strength, power and physical condition.

“I don’t know what they are doing up there, you have to address it. He didn’t look himself out in Saudi.

“He didn’t look right, everything had changed about him, his demeanor, his body. I was puzzled…

“For my money he looked fat-thin, he should have been better, a bit heavier with a lot more muscle.

“Tyson is a mammoth fella. He needs to power up in the body department and the only way you do that is a proper course and they take time and we don’t have the time.”