Bob Arum has taken to social media with the clearest indication yet that the undisputed heavyweight showdown between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will happen.
The Top Rank head honcho looks after ‘The Gypsy King’s’ Stateside affairs and co-promotes the 34-year-old with Frank Warren and Queensberry.
Arum also works with Usyk’s team in a roundabout way, with his manager Egis Klimas also managing the career of lightweight superstar Vasiliy Lomachenko who is promoted by Top Rank.
And after the Ukrainian’s split decision victory over Anthony Joshua at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, 90-year-old Arum –– who promoted Muhammad Ali’s clash with Joe Frazier — posted a tweet to say that the clash that could earn both fighters up to £200million is already in motion.
Top Rank and our co-promoter, Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, are hopeful we can make the biggest heavyweight championship fight since Ali fought Frazier…. Fury vs. Usyk. pic.twitter.com/qQkIflPOYM
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) August 22, 2022
In the aftermath of the fight in which Usyk – who is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion who cleaned up in the 200-pound division before moving up to heavyweight back in 2019 – won the vacant Ring Magazine belt and retained the WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO titles he clinched in the first fight against Joshua last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, the 35-year-old called out Fury.
Fury, the WBC champion who was retired as of 10 days ago and could yet be forced to relinquish the belt if he doesn’t adhere to the sanctioning body’s deadline of August 26 to confirm his retirement in writing, holds the only piece of real estate that doesn’t belong to the stylish southpaw and was quick to respond to the challenge levelled at him as Usyk moved to 20-0 with 13 quick finishes.
Reports suggest that the working date for the fight to bring together all the belts in the heavyweight division is December 17, with the Daily Mail stating that the fight would land in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the location of Joshua’s defeat to Usyk last weekend, and take place the night before the 2022 World Cup final in neighbouring Qatar, with the fight intensifying the focus on the Middle East.
The Middle East could soon become a boxing hub, with the WBA revealing that Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions have shaken hands on a deal to take the light-heavyweight mandatory title defence between Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Ramirez to the United Arab Emirates on November 5, with full details to be revealed in due course.
Prince Mohammad Abdulaziz, the Saudi minister for sport, confirmed the kingdom’s interest in hosting the fight between Usyk and Fury and he is on an outdoor event in the capital.
“We are very interested in the fight for the undisputed heavyweight title. We are looking to do that in the city of Riyadh.”
The winner would become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999-2000, only the sixth of all-time and the first of the four-belt era following the rise of the WBO.
And with such deep pockets, Saudi Arabia appears set to stage its third world heavyweight title fight, having hosted Usyk’s win over Joshua last weekend as well as ‘AJ’s’ win in the rematch against Andy Ruiz back in December 2019 at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, just six months after he was dropped four times in seven rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York in the June of that year, and the biggest of them all.