Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s negotiations for an undisputed heavyweight fight have reportedly hit a snag – but ‘The Gypsy King’ is set to continue no matter what.
Whilst Saudi Arabia was believed to be the frontrunner to play host throughout the talks, the latest news is that it may just be off the table. It has been reported that the bespoke stadium the country was building won’t be ready in time for the April 29 fight date.
With that, and to the delight of UK fans, Wembley Stadium has taken the lead. In fact, MailSport cites that it has been booked by Queensberry Promotions. The issue now is the purses for both fighters.
Since the Middle Eastern money is off the table, a realistic offer has to be made to both Fury and Usyk for one of, if not the, biggest fight in the sport. The finances from Blighty will pale in comparison to what the Kingdom could offer, and that could just be what stops this legacy-defining fight from happening.
With the stadium secured, though, Fury is touted to fight regardless. If not Usyk, then who?
Strangely the most likely opponent outside of the Ukrainian might not be a boxer at all. Francis Ngannou recently left his starring role at the UFC, and the MMA heavyweight is looking for a big welcome to boxing. He’s made it clear that he wants to face Fury in the ring, and Fury has remained open to the idea.
Add to that the fact he already said it would be Ngannou if Usyk didn’t fight and it makes the former UFC champ the favourite. Fans hoping for a prestigious undisputed fight involving two of the best boxers of their era may well be served a carnival crossover event with zero impact on the heavyweight division.
Of course if Fury goes that way, Usyk is likely to have a mandatory called for one of his three belts, with Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, and Filip Hrgovic all eager to get their shot.
Deontay Wilder Or Andy Ruiz
Speaking of mandatories – remember those? – Fury will have one for his WBC belt soon enough, but there isn’t an official contender just yet. Why? Because the sanctioning body have ordered their number one and number two challengers – Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz – to face off in a final eliminator to determine who’s next in line for a shot at the throne.
The Wilder-Ruiz fight talks are progressing even slower than those of the undisputed fight. It certainly won’t be able to happen before April 29, and unless the WBC name a mandatory then Fury will be able to defend the belt against who he wants.
If they did call a mandatory, number one is Wilder, which threatens fans with a fourth fight between the pair in as many years. They have drawn once and Fury has won the other two convincingly. In theory it could be Ruiz if Wilder confirms he has refused the final eliminator, meaning the Mexican could jump him in the queue.
Mahmoud Charr Or Another Outsider
There are plenty of other heavyweight names that could fill a corner. Mahmoud Charr, for instance, was strangely close to a Fury fight back in December. It’s something fans would be disgraced at, of course, but that rarely matters in boxing.
If Fury has the promise of an undisputed fight after this April date, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in with someone nowhere near his level. Selling tickets is another matter, though.
Realistically, it may be easier to rule names out than predict what ‘The Gypsy King’ fancies doing next…
Joe Joyce And Domestic Rivals
There’s Joyce, who is already being lined up by their shared promoter for a summer showdown with Fury. Unfortunately, he’s recently announced a fight with China’s Zhilei Zhang on April 15, just two weeks prior to Fury’s date.
Anthony Joshua is fighting on April 1 against Jermaine Franklin, which takes both of them out of the equation. Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora likely both still have bruises from their Fury beatings in 2022.
There are plenty of American up and comers, but do any of them have the star power to fill Wembley, even with Fury? Unlikely.
The answer of who Fury might face is unclear, who he should face, though, remains Oleksandr Usyk.