Oleksandr Usyk has ‘moved on’ from the Tyson Fury negotiations, putting an end to the hope that the heavyweight division will soon have an undisputed champion for the first time since Lennox Lewis.
The fight has been in talks officially since December last year, beginning with promises from the promoters of few obstacles. ‘Both fighters want it,’ fans were told, ‘this will happen.’
Less than six weeks out from the proposed date, it appears that those behind the scenes have failed in making arguably the most important fight the sport has to offer.
Despite increasingly positive news from Fury’s side, Team Usyk’s last update was downbeat, claiming that their man was being mistreated in negotiations and that ‘enough is enough.’
That was followed by a strict deadline set by the WBA, ordering signed contracts for the bout by April 1 or else Usyk – their champion along with the WBO and IBF – would be forced to face his mandatory challenger, Daniel Dubois, instead.
Now, as per ESPN’s Steve Kim and Mike Coppinger, Usyk’s team have called time on the talks.
“No matter how much Usyk compromised, he was pushed for more.”
Just got off the horn with Egis Klimas, he says that team Usyk is moving off the Fury fight for April 29th, and will now pursue their mandatory obligations. "No matter how much Usyk compromised, he was pushed for more." They hope to have him back in June/July #boxing
— Steve Kim (@SteveKim323) March 22, 2023
Coppinger added that he had been informed the Ukrainian had left training camp.
It’s unclear exactly what terms ‘pushed’ Usyk’s team too far. The unified champion – who was previously undisputed in the cruiserweight ranks before moving up and beating Anthony Joshua twice for his heavyweight belts – had already publicly accepted just 30% of the purse split.
Fury – the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder and defending the belt on three occasions since – then took issue with a two-way rematch clause which was reportedly agreed weeks prior. That issue wasn’t settled publicly.
The withdrawal from talks comes not long after Fury’s UK promoter, Frank Warren, promised ‘big news’ for fans, and his fighter continues to send updates from training camp.
It’s unclear if the Brit still plans to fight on April 29 at Wembley Stadium. He’s not short of options whilst Usyk deals with his mandatory.
In theory, the fight could be revisited in the future, but with Joe Joyce and Filip Hrgovic also waiting in line for Usyk, and Fury bound to have a WBC challenger to face soon, it looks unlikely.
Pair that with the fact that the Ukrainian’s team have been clear that the 70/30 split would only be applicable to an April fight, and things don’t look good for future talks.