Frank Warren has lifted the lid on Tyson Fury‘s negotiations with Oleksandr Usyk after their fight was finally signed – hitting back at suggestions the Gypsy King was reluctant to fight him and accusing the Ukrainian’s team of spreading ‘propaganda’.
Fury is out in Saudi Arabia preparing to face MMA star Francis Ngannou on Saturday night, but his team announced the WBC world champion had agreed to fight Usyk either in December or January following long drawn-out talks.
The pair had been in talks to fight last year before being locked in talks this March – with Usyk even agreeing to a 70-30 split of the prize purse – though negotiations for the showdown were later abandoned.
In September Fury’s team announced that a deal had finally been struck – with Warren claiming they had only done so to stop the news being leaked early.
‘That wasn’t done deliberately that was only done because we’d lodged the contracts with the IBF and we knew it would leak so we felt it would be better if it was leaked from us rather than elsewhere,’ he told Mail Sport. ‘I think [Fury] is a bit annoyed about that and I understand that but it’s done.’
Frank Warren has hit out at ‘nonsense’ claims Tyson Fury was afraid to face Oleksandr Usyk
Usyk and Fury have finally signed for an undisputed fight following long drawn-out talks
Usyk had previously claimed Fury was ‘afraid’ of him after opting to face Ngannou instead and mocking him for facing ‘someone who has never boxed before’.
It’s not the first time Usyk or his team have accused Fury of avoiding a fight that would crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Warren said the suggestion Fury was afraid of facing Usyk was ‘nonsense’ as he accused the Ukrainian’s team of spreading ‘propaganda’, setting the record straight on what happened in their talks.
‘There was so much nonsense about Tyson not wanting this fight and a lot of propaganda was being put out by Usyk’s people which was untrue,’ he added.
Warren pointed out that Fury had agreed to a number of dates to face the Ukrainian
He said Usyk’s team – led by Alexander Krassyuk – had spread ‘propaganda’ about Fury
‘Tyson signed for that fight last year and it didn’t happen because the promoters over here could not deliver the venue. It was going to be December, Usyk was injured, then February, then April, then we tried to get it on in London – we agreed the terms.
‘Then they were offered to do the fight this December and they bowed out of it and used all the excuses about Tyson asking for more. He never asked for anything else. The contract expired with [Saudi boxing promoters] Skills Challenge and that is the truth of what happened.’
Warren also gave his views on the possibility of Anthony Joshua appearing against Deontay Wilder on the undercard of Fury v Usyk when they do eventually lock horns.
Joshua himself said there was a chance he could appear in the event in what would be a mega line-up – before Fury called his British rival ’embarrassing’ for ‘begging’ to be involved.
‘No. I don’t think so,’ Warren said when asked if Joshua and Wilder could complete a sensational line up on the same night. ‘Who knows? Stranger things have happened but they had their opportunities. At this moment, who knows but I’m very doubtful.’
Warren dismissed suggestions that Anthony Joshua could face Wilder on the same night as Fury v Usyk
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had also claimed that his star fighter and Fury could both pocket £100m each if they ever agreed to an all-British showdown – but Warren also dismissed those suggestions.
‘Certainly not for AJ,’ Warren said. ‘Who’s going to give him £100m? Why would they do it? He’s lost two of his last five fights. It’s nonsense. At the moment he talks more about our shows than we do, which is brilliant. Thanks for all the publicity.’
Focusing on Fury’s fight against Ngannou, Warren defended the Cameroonian as a viable opponent who he said was significant level above the influencers and other MMA stars who have been staging crossover bouts calling him a ‘tough guy’ who had a chance of knocking out the world champion.
‘Ngannou is a professional, he doesn’t sit behind a keyboard for a living, he’s not a prankster,’ Warren said. ‘Look at the journey he’s had. Everthing has been tough. He’s a real tough guy who’s the best in his discipline.
The promoter said Francis Ngannou was a ‘tough’ fighter who had a chance of stopping Fury in their Saudi Arabia showdown this weekend
‘He’s not a trained boxer and I think what can he do to beat Tyson Fury? He can’t outbox him. He beats him by knocking him out. He’s got to take him out and put him out of his stride. He’s got to rough him up like they do in UFC. He will have to be physical and land his bombs. That’s the only way he beats him.’
Speaking on how he felt the fight would go, Warren predicted a KO win for Fury and dismissed talk of the heavyweight fighter staying behind his jab and taking it the distance.
‘People think Tyson will move around and jab. I don’t think he’ll do that. He stood toe-to-toe with Deontay Wilder and I think that’s what will happen. It will be exciting and very, very short and I think Tyson will come through it.
‘Tyson is the guy who has everything to lose. Ngannou has not a thing to lose. Tyson is putting everything on the line here.’