Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tyson Fury postpones heavyweight unification fight vs. Oleksandr Usyk after sustaining severe cut sparring

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Callie Lawson-Freeman

The megafight between Fury and Usyk is postponed.

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk won’t be facing off as scheduled. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will now face Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk on May 18 in a heavyweight title unification fight.

Saudi official Turki Alalshikh announced the new date to The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani on Saturday with Fury at his side. Usyk also sat in on the interview and confirmed that he’d agreed to the new date. The fight was rescheduled from Feb. 17 after Fury sustained a cut while training.

Fury confirmed multiple reports on Friday that he’d sustained a deep cut over his right eye while sparring in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, by sharing a photo of the injury via social media. The cut required urgent medical attention and significant stitching, his representation said.

The 35-year-old accompanied the image with a statement about his disappointment that his matchup with the owner of the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts will be delayed.

“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such superb condition,” Fury wrote. “I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed. I can only apologize to everyone affected, including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners and fans, as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) were slated to headline a major pay-per-view event at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

The bout between Fury and Usyk, 37, will establish the first fully unified heavyweight champion of boxing’s four-belt era. Fury and Usyk were already bringing the drama in their first news conference in November, literally butting heads after a face-off that had Sylvester Stallone in attendance. Things were immediately tense at the London event, as Fury directed a multitude of insults at Usyk. The unified champion welcomed the remarks before things almost got physical.

Fury has more to gain from a fight with Usyk, following a near-disaster against MMA champ-turned-boxer Francis Ngannou. That said, Usyk’s most recent outing had a controversy of its own. The ninth-round KO of Daniel Dubois featured a questionable low-blow call that gave Usyk four minutes of recovery time.

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