The promoter of Oleksandr Usyk is beginning to doubt that the undisputed heavyweight championship will take place on the target date of April 29.
It is the latest indication that a fight between Usyk, the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF champion from Ukraine, and Tyson Fury, the WBC titlist from Manchester, England, is in dire straits.
The two fighters have been in deep talks for months, but their discussions have seemingly unraveled after it became clear the fight could not be staged in Saudi Arabia, where both fighters stood to gain the highest paychecks of their careers.
The organizers then pivoted to April 29 at London’s Wembley Arena, but now there are concerns that there is not enough money to satisfy both fighters. Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions, Fury’s British promoter, said as much earlier this weekend.
Alexander Krassyuk, the promoter for Usyk, chimed in, saying that the issue was solely on Fury’s side.
In an interview published on Thursday, Krassyuk offered a downbeat picture of the current negotiations.
“We were expecting the fight to take place in Saudi in March, late February,” Krassyuk told iD Boxing. “It didn’t take place, so it was rescheduled for April 29.”
“It doesn’t look likely that we [are] gonna have a fight on April 29th, that’s my anticipation,” Krassyuk added. “The term is too short. Did you see any post of Tyson and his team somewhere on social media, training, doing their jobs? I think they’re not in training camp, which means they took the decision not to fight, which is why we don’t need to think really positively. We have to be realistic.”
Much has been made about a proposed financial split for the fight, with Usyk’s side insisting on a 50/50 proposition. Bob Arum, Fury’s American promoter, has said it would only be fair for Fury to get the “lion’s share” of the revenue, since he would be driving sales.
Earlier this week, Krassyuk said his team proposed a 60/40 deal, with 60% going to the winner, but that Fury had rejected that option.
Krassyuk believes the matter of a split is immaterial at this point and that Fury is demanding a flat fee that proceeds from the fight at Wembley simply will not cover.
“According to [Fury’s promoter Queensberry], Tyson Fury was asking for too much money,” Krassyuk said. “Even if Usyk got zero it would still not be sufficient for Tyson to cover his wants. That’s actually the point.
“Normally when a fighter doesn’t want a fight, he asks for something impossible. And then it’s not happening. That’s according to my experience—I’ve been in boxing almost 20 years.”
Krassyuk implored Fury to take the 60/40 split.
“If you’re confident in fighting Usyk—not Usyk, the “middleweight rabbit”—then just take the fight,” Krassyuk said, referencing Fury’s previous insult of the Ukrainian. “A 60/40 split and the winner takes the bigger share.
“I think even if you offered him 90/10 he would turn it down. …Maybe he wants to buy a soccer club, so he’s looking for money.”