Posted on 11/14/2023
By: Sean Crose
If reports from several reliable sources are true then the world will likely see a new undisputed heavyweight champion on February 17th. According to Mike Coppinger of ESPN and others, WBC and lineal champion Fury will finally square off against WBA, WBO, and IBF titlist Usyk on that date in Saudi Arabia. A public announcement is reportedly set to be made on Thursday. The two heavyweight kings were supposed to battle for dominance on December 23d, but Fury’s tough outing against UFC legend Francis Ngannou a few weeks back led to the match being delayed. Now, it appears, matters are moving forward again.
The 35 year old Fury will be coming off a controversial decision win over the underestimated Ngannou in late October. Unlike most big name UFC stars who make their way into the boxing ring, Ngannou was prepared enough to send Fury to the mat in the third. Fury got up and boxed through the rest of the fight, but looked gassed as the bout wore on, making it clear that he was either unprepared or was taken completely by surprise by a rare talent in Ngannou. Either way, Fury’s reputation, which had been stellar entering the ring that night, took a serious hit.
Ukyk himself had a tough time in his last fight, as well, though not nearly the kind of time Fury had against Ngannou. In an August throwdown with Daniel Dubois, Usyk went down from what was ruled a body blow, but that looked to some like a clean gut shot. Usyk returned and won the fight, but the controversy, coupled with the referee’s decision to insist that Usyk take extra time to recover, made for a less than stellar evening for the defending titlist. With that being said, the Ukrainian fighter’s reputation didn’t take nearly the hit Fury’s has.
Both men, however, have much to prove. Usyk, who once was the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the word, is beyond eager to prove that he’s the single greatest heavyweight on the planet. Fury, on the other hand, not only has to recover from the recent Ngannou fight, he has to prepare himself for the highly skilled Usyk. Fury certainly has the size advantage, though he’s roughly the same age as the thirty-seven year old Usyk. What’s more, Usyk is truly fleet of foot. Will Fury be able to smother his man, like he did successfully against Deontay Wilder, or keep from being hit, like he did successfully against Wladimir Klitschko, or will Usyk, the disciplined chess player, fluster Fury like he did against Anthony Joshua? The questions make this an interesting, and very relevant, matchup.
Here’s hoping this bout actually comes through to fruition.