Fury-Usyk fight moved to May 18 in Saudi Arabia

Boxing

The Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk undisputed heavyweight championship bout has been rescheduled for May 18 in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s chairman of general entertainment authority, Turki Alalshikh, announced Saturday on “The MMA Hour.”

Fury and Usyk were set to meet Feb. 17 in the kingdom’s capital of Riyadh before the fight was postponed Friday after Fury suffered a cut that required stitches while sparring.

The rescheduled date was announced by Alalshikh as Fury sat beside him; Usyk and manager Egis Klimas also were present.

“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such superb condition,” Fury said on Friday. “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 set to meet in two weeks in the most highly anticipated heavyweight title fight since Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson in 2002.

Fury-Usyk was originally planned for Dec. 23 before Fury struggled in a tougher-than-expected bout with former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in October in Riyadh. Fury was cut over the forehead and the left eye en route to a split-decision victory over Ngannou, who was making his pro boxing debut.

Fury, 35, was even dropped in Round 3, the seventh knockdown of his illustrious career. Fury and Usyk signed contracts for their long-awaited battle for heavyweight supremacy weeks before “The Gypsy King” stepped through the ropes to fight Ngannou in a 10-round nontitle bout (Fury holds the WBC title.)

Usyk, 36, is an Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion. He holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, belts he won from Anthony Joshua in 2021. Usyk retained the titles in the rematch with another decision nod over Joshua last summer in Saudi Arabia.

Usyk last fought in August, when he scored a ninth-round KO of Daniel Dubois in Poland. Usyk is ESPN’s No. 2 heavyweight and No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer. Fury is ESPN’s No. 1 heavyweight and No. 10 pound-for-pound boxer. England’s Fury fought twice in 2022, both TKO wins at soccer stadiums in London (in April vs. Dillian Whyte and December vs. Derek Chisora).

This is Fury’s second title reign. He beat another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in 2015 for three heavyweight titles via decision in an upset. Fury never defended those titles and instead was out of the ring for 2½ years because of depression and substance abuse. He was up to 400-plus pounds during that time.

After Fury returned from that hiatus, he established himself as one of boxing’s top stars with a classic heavyweight title trilogy with Deontay Wilder, whom he stopped twice after a draw in the first meeting. Fury’s third fight with Wilder was ESPN’s 2021 Fight of the Year and KO of the Year.

The Fury-Usyk deal contains a two-way rematch clause, virtually ensuring two consecutive fights between the pair for 10s of millions of dollars.

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