Posted on 08/22/2023
By: Sean Crose
“It’s our obligation to deliver this fight.” So says Alexander Krassyuk, promoter of WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk, via the BBC. He’s speaking of the long awaited matchup between Usyk and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. “The whole world wants to see this fight. Not just ourselves or people involved in boxing, but the whole world.” There’s no doubt that many people would love to see an undisputed heavyweight champion finally be crowned. First, however, Usyk has to get past mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois in Poland this Saturday.
Should Usyk emerge victorious, as is expected this weekend, however, Krassuk will be looking to make a Fury-Usyk bout a reality. “People who know nothing about boxing would love to see the heavyweight undisputed fight for the four belts for the first time in the four-belt era,” he says. “I can promise you and promise all the fans around the world that I will do everything that can depend on me to make this fight happen.” Of course Dubois’ promoter, Frank Warren, doesn’t think Usyk will have any titles to his name after Saturday’s fight. “How’s it going to happen when Daniel wins?” the BBC quotes Warren as asking rhetorically.
For the time being, Fury is focusing on his impending battle with former UFC heavyweight titlist Francis Ngannou in the fall. The Fury-Ngannou fight will be yet another novelty bout featuring a UFC notable entering a boxing ring. This sort of thing has become common, so it’s no surprise that Fury would go for what many believe will be easy money. Still, it would be nice to see two world class undefeated fighters square off for the biggest prize in all of boxing. And, provided Usyk and Fury emerge victorious in their impending outings, people will once more be clamoring for the two titlists to meet.
The truth is, both the Fury and Usyk camps have been down that road before. Indeed, it looked like the two men would sign to fight earlier this year. The negotiations, however, fell through. “What really killed the deal,” Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager told the In This Corner podcast at the time, “(was) when Fury’s people came back and said: ‘We’re going to include the rematch, but if Usyk wins were going to go in that direction and then we’re going to split 50/50.’” Hopefully negotiations will work out better next time – if there is a next time. Boxing is known for shocking upsets after all. Perhaps Dubois and Ngannou will end up in negotiations for an undisputed heavyweight championship throwdown instead.