Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury have signed to fight in the first undisputed heavyweight championship contest since the days of Lennox Lewis.
The shine of the historic fight was dulled slightly when Fury – a betting favourite – went the distance against Francis Ngannou, being dropped on the way by the man who was making his professional boxing debut.
Despite the underwhelming performance, Usyk, who had been watching at ringside, entered the ring post-fight to hype up what was next. Neither man seemed to be in the mood for marketing – a stark difference from Fury’s usually entertaining fight talk.
Speaking on TNT Sports, Usyk addressed the feeble face-off.
“From the point of view of someone who knows what boxing is – how hard it is after a fight, how you want to howl, not see anyone, rest in the dressing room – I didn’t want any extravagant emotions. I just want to announce our fight.”
“During our face-to-face I told him ‘Mate, you need to take a proper rest now.'”
It appears to be advice followed, as it was announced shortly after the fight that the previously-discussed December 23 date was off the table in favour of Fury recovering from the tense ten rounds.
The fight is instead targeted for February, and will have a contractual rematch clause likely to see it played out twice, although not for all four belts the second time around.
Ngannou then will have to wait for any rematch with Fury. He says it’s the one fight he wants above all others after contesting the split decision loss and the credibility of the three judges.