Croatian heavyweight Agron Smakici has made headlines for causing the postponement of the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
‘The Gypsy King’ was forced to pull out of the February 17 date when he suffered a cut in sparring, later revealed to be inflicted by Smakici from what appears in the footage to be a rogue elbow.
Speaking to IFL TV, Smakici reacted to the news of the postponement and refuted claims that he threw an intentional elbow that caused the cut.
“Unfortunately it looks like bad news because I cancelled the biggest fight, but it wasn’t on purpose. That’s nonsense [that I don’t feel bad] because I’m telling you it was a punch. I threw a punch. I feel the punch [but] because how he was pulling my head forward, maybe it goes to the elbow. I didn’t [do it] on purpose.”
The 33-year-old with a 20-2 record then detailed the timeline.
“We had breakfast at 11 o’clock [on the Friday] and at 11:30 they say ‘hey we’re gonna spar at 12 o’clock. So that was short notice. Everybody was still struggling from the day before, and two days before we also had conditioning training with him, doing all the stuff that he does. We were really trying to motivate him … Thursday was hard sparring, and Friday, it was too early for us to be honest, I was tired from the day before.”
“Thomas Carty started the first three rounds, and then I was the next one. We did good rounds. The first round was very good. I moved a lot, wrestled with [Fury]. He did some tricks, he likes to speak. ‘You little sausage, let’s go, come on,’ he’s the type like that. In the third round, it happened, the cut. Before that it was very good sparring.”
Smakici confirmed that head guards and sparring gloves were used at all times during the sessions, and confirmed that the rumours surrounding Jai Opetaia hurting Fury were completely untrue.
In fact, the Croatian said the camp was going well in general.
“In every camp you have situations when you have pain, or you get cold, it’s normal stuff. It’s boxing, not tennis. He was never complaining, he was doing all the rounds, training and everything. He was very good. Sometimes he would dance in the ring, singing, very good.”
He then said he would like to be asked back to camp for the rescheduled date – May 18 – smiling when he offered to put some elbow protection on.