Posted on 10/31/2023
By: Sean Crose
ESPN, along with several other outlets, is reporting that the planned undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksander Usyk may be moved from December to February. Although no official announcement has been made as of yet, it’s been widely suspected that the long anticipated battle between WBC and lineal champion Fury, and WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Usyk wasn’t going to go down in December as planned. That suspicion was strengthened considerably this past weekend after Fury had to fight tooth and nail with UFC legend – and boxing novice – Francis Ngannou in a bout he was only able to win by split decision (after he was sent to the mat by Ngannou in the third).
The fact is that the long anticipated fight between undefeated title holders Fury and Usyk has been too long in coming. Each of the four major title belts in heavyweight boxing is held by either Fury or Usyk. Yet each man has yet to meet the other in the ring. Indeed, Fury was already on the road to facing Ngannou when it was reported a fight with Usyk had finally been signed to. Now that Fury has been nearly defeated against a boxing novice, the fight with Usyk will likely be pushed back even further. Sadly, there’s no way of actually knowing whether or not the two fighters will actually meet in the ring at all. The fight has been signed, but this is boxing, a sport where anything can – or cannot – happen.
Usyk was in Saudi Arabia on Saturday when Fury and Ngannou threw down in the ring. Like many, he appeared to be stunned when Ngannou dropped Fury in the third. He also appeared less than impressed with Fury’s overall performance when speaking to the media after the fight was over. The former undisputed cruiserweight titlist turned unified heavyweight titlist made light of the entire affair after Fury was awarded a controversial decision win, but it was clear Usyk was less than pleased with what had transpired in the ring. Still, although Fury clearly had a bad night – at the very least – on Saturday, he remains an undefeated champion, which mean both he and Usyk are still signed to square off for all the figurative heavyweight marbles.
Fury claims he doesn’t care about whether he becomes the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world or not, and that might very well be true (he’s wily, after all). Still, a sport like boxing deserves divisional kings, and both Fury and Usyk owe it to themselves to finally face each other in gloved combat.