Before Tyson Fury fought Francis Ngannou, there were questions raised as to whether or not Oleksandr Usyk would be prepared for their signed undisputed title fight on December 23.
With a knockdown, some punishment and a small cut on his forehead all delivered by Ngannou, it’s now Fury who will not be ready.
The crossover event – which he won by close split decision – lasted all ten rounds against the odds. Usyk was ringside and stepped through the ropes to hype the four-belt clash, but the mood post-fight was sombre.
Fury’s UK promoter, Frank Warren, later confirmed that the touted date for this year would not go ahead given how Ngannou had performed.
The fighter himself said he was looking forward to a long rest, despite saying in the fight build-up that Usyk would be sued should he not honour the 23rd plans.
Now, speaking to Boxing King Media, Usyk confirmed he would be ready.
“Uncle Frank, Uncle Frank. He says some sneaky things. We have a contract that says that the fight has to take place on the 23rd of December.”
“They take a piece of my interview, they change it according to what they need and they use it as the basis to form some idea in the media, which is not correct. I will be ready for the 23rd, cause I’m in training camp.”
Usyk then told Fury to vacate the WBC belt – which he hasn’t defended since December of last year – if he planned on a rest.
“Let him take his time. Let him vacate the title first and then take his rest.”
The Ukrainian, who was formerly undisputed at cruiserweight before this crack at doing the same one division up, sent his British rival a direct message.
“Hey, Tyson. We must fight. We must do it. 23 December. See you in the ring. 23 December. I love you.”
More will become clear in the coming weeks as to the plans, but the historic heavyweight fight is highly unlikely to happen this year, with February now making more sense in terms of Fury’s preparations.