Oleksandr Usyk was shocked when Francis Ngannou knocked Tyson Fury down in the third round of their crossover contest.
The MMA man consistently out-performed the pre-fight narrative that he wouldn’t be close to competing with the heavyweight world champion, and just lost on the cards via a split decision.
Whilst Ngannou was impressive, many feel Fury was far from his best, something that doesn’t bode well for perhaps the most important fight of his career coming soon.
The Brit has signed to face Usyk in the first undisputed heavyweight clash for over two decades. It was pencilled in for December 23, and Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, told TalkSPORT that his fighter wanted that date to remain.
“We have set up the training camp for him in Spain. He is focused on December 23 and he wants to push for December 23.”
Having said that, Krassyuk and Usyk want the best version of Fury – something that the man himself has admitted was not on display in Riyadh against Ngannou.
“[Waiting until next year] is not something that we agreed for, but if he is really injured, what can we do? This is number one, and number two – we would not like to beat Saturday night’s version of Fury.
It brings no benefit and no credit if you beat up a man like that. We want Fury to be in his best shape ever. Because we are thinking not just about the belt, we try to create history. It has to be spectacular.”
Finally, asked about his fighter’s call for Fury to vacate his WBC title if he can’t make the December date, the promoter agreed but understood why it would not happen.
“Why not? Listen, Fury had to vacate the belt a couple years ago, but we know how this business works.
We need him. We need big personalities in boxing. He’s bringing a lot of attention to our sport. No matter how positive or negative the character is, we all benefit from this.”
The fight is expected to take place during or before March 2024 when Riyadh Season – the festival which Fury-Ngannou opened – will end.