A bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk would crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the days of Lennox Lewis, but negotiations have so far been fruitless.
The pair entered talks to face off late last year, with Saudi Arabia targeted as the host nation. A very public dispute about purse splits and rematch clauses saw boxing fans left disappointed and both fighters head in seperate directions.
For Usyk, that meant defending his WBA, WBO and IBF belts against his first mandatory challenger, Daniel Dubois. He succeeded in his efforts in Poland against the Brit via a ninth round stoppage.
In the aftermath, the main discourse surrounded a shot thrown by Dubois that was ruled a low-blow. There is currently an appeal with the WBA to order a rematch, however not many in the sport believe it will achieve that result.
Fury has taken a different route entirely, and has been criticised for his decision to not defend his WBC belt against a ranked challenger in favour of facing MMA superstar, Francis Ngannou, this month.
The crossover contest lands in Riyadh, ‘The Gypsy King’s first fight in Saudi and a sign that those behind the boxing business there are keen to have an ongoing relationship.
That certainly seems to be the case given the latest report from ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, who has revealed that ‘multiple sources’ have informed him that the four-belt heavyweight clash is signed, and could even be squeezed in this year.
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk have signed contracts for an undisputed heavyweight championship fight in Saudi Arabia, multiple sources told ESPN.
Fight could take place Dec. 23 or sometime in January, sources said. Fury first meets Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28 in Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/iVCSZ64Tsv
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) September 29, 2023
Despite the positive development, fans won’t hold their breath. In fact, the overriding feeling is Déjà vu, given there were multiple reports and promises of the fight earlier this year.
In the meantime, Fury welcomes Ngannou to the boxing world, and has even more of a reason to win, regardless of how simple most feel it will be.