Pope Francis Blesses Special Fury-Usyk WBC Belt


Posted on 04/16/2024

By: Sean Crose

Some people feel there’s far too many belts in professional boxing. It’s hard to argue against the WBC’s new belt, however, which has been made to commemorate the 18th of May’s undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Why? Because the new belt has literally received a Papal Blessing. That’s right, Pope Francis himself has personally blessed the commemorative belt after it was presented to him by WBC honcho Mauricio Suleiman. This isn’t the first time His Holiness has gotten involved with the sweet science. Back in 2019, Pope Francis named Deontay Wilder, who had paid him a visit, the “Boxers’ Representative and Ambassador for Peace through Sport.”

With that in mind, it always shows your upcoming fight is quite the big deal when major leaders weigh in (no pun intended). And Fury-Usyk is nothing if not a major event. For, barring the unlikely, a new undisputed heavyweight champion will emerge for literally the first time in decades. To perhaps even make things more interesting, it’s hard to tell who is actually going to win this throwdown. At his best (and he isn’t always at his best) Fury comes across as a possible all time great. Usyk, on the other hand, is a walking, talking skill set, an undefeated master who is aiming for his second undisputed championship (before moving up to heavyweight, Usyk was the world’s undisputed cruiserweight champion).

While neither man might be Roman Catholic, both Fury and Usyk are devout Christians, which perhaps gives Pope Francis’ blessing more gravity (as far as the two men are concerned) than might otherwise be expected. With that in mind, numerous well known fighters have had papal audiences over the years. Indeed, boxers from Riddick Bowe to Sergio Martinez to Arthur Abraham have all had papal audiences. The highly anticipated bout between Fury and Usyk will be broadcast live from Saudi Arabia on May 18th on DAZN, ESPN+, and PPV TV.

*Images: Sky Sports

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