Usyk Pursues Possible Plan B With the Fury Fight Off The Table, WBC Frustrated & Wilder Offers to Step in
London, UK (March 23rd, 2023)– WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO World Heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has left his training camp in Ukraine, with the unrealistic preset April 1, 2023 deadline for his proposed world heavyweight titular unification bout with Tyson Fury now off the table. Usyk had settled for a 30 percent/70 percent purse split.
A proposed two-way rematch clause with Fury could not be agreed upon, with Usyk insisting on a purse 70/30 split in his favor if he won the first bout. Promoter Eddie Hearn stated a 60/40 rematch clause for Usyk if Usyk beat Tyson Fury the first time would have been better for negotiations. With the April 29, 2023 date with destiny at either Wembley Arena or Dubai, United Arab Emirates seemingly unattainable, mandatory challengers Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois, Joe Joyce and Filip Hrgovic come into play, with a fourth name wild card now seeming to enter the picture as well.
Former World Boxing Council World Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, through manager Shelly Finkel, has gone public stating he would step in in place of Tyson Fury to fight Usyk in a heartbeat. Wilder is currently faced with a mandatory eliminator bout with former world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. to determine the next mandatory opponent for Tyson Fury, should Fury’s unification bout fall through with Usyk. A chance to defeat Usyk and go for his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts would certainly be a better option for Wilder than fighting Ruiz, or the winner of Anthony Joshua versus Jermaine Franklin.
Alex Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, confirmed he had spoken to Fury’s promoter Frank Warren and Usyk versus Fury is out. According to ESPN’s Steve Kim, in conversation with Egis Klimas, team Usyk has moved off the Tyson Fury date of April 29, 2023, and will now pursue their mandatory opponent obligation for June or July of 2023. Plan B involves WBA regular World Heavyweight champion Daniel Dubois, the top mandatory challenger, as the most viable opponent for Usyk available next. Usyk versus Dubois took place in the United Kingdom, Usyk versus Tyson Fury could have yet another verbal rematch at ringside like they did after Tyson Fury versus Dereck Chisora III, which could fuel a Fall 2023 match date perhaps. If not, Fury could have Anthony Joshua available as a next opponent, if Joshua beats Franklin, or Fury could just fight somebody else if he gets tired of waiting.
WBC President Mauricio Suleiman, in a new press conference with Izquierdazo, expressed frustration over the long and unsuccessful negotiations to make the fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title, the first such time the title would be unified since Great Britain’s Lennox Lewis did it.
Noted Sulaiman, “We are all tired of waiting for their decision if they fight or not. I want them to decide if they are going to fight, and if not, move to our next step”. When the interests are that big, and get priority over the interest of sport, things can get complicated. Ego, abuse of power, selfishness. Big fights can get done fast. Everything is there for them to sign, but someone is sticking his hand there, obstructing (the signing of the mega bout). This is a unique opportunity (for the WBC to act) to unify the four heavyweight titles. If that (the heavyweight unification) fight is not done now, the title is going to (remain in) fragment, and each fighter will have to face his mandatories (relegated to fighting their mandatory challengers). It would be a shame if this fight doesn’t happen. He (Tyson Fury) is at freedom (is free to choose his next opponent). We have not ordered anything else. A fight between Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr. was ordered to get a mandatory rival (to determine the next mandatory opponent for Tyson Fury) but that fight has not happened either, so there is nothing else. We were waiting for the Usyk fight (with Fury) and then we would see”.
Share your opinion in the comment section below of what you think about these negotiations in the heavyweight division.