- Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will meet in Saudi Arabia in February
- Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury press conference: Live news and updates
- Why Anthony Joshua’s next fight plan makes sense for his career: The Hook
By so doing so he not only breathes much needed life into boxing’s marquee division but also shoots down the snipers who were accusing him of ducking the biggest fight of the moment.
By confirming at a glitzy London launch that he and Usyk will put all the belts on the line in Saudi Arabia on February 17 Fury brings a dazzling shaft of light to a corner of sport in danger of going as dark as the room in which Anthony Joshua has been trying to find his old self.
An alliance between Frank Warren and the Saudi Kingdom is also bringing AJ black into the ring, against Otto Wallin there on December 23
But the fight which matters – and their contracted spring rematch – is Furyk v Usyk
Tyson Fury has confirmed he will fight Oleksandr Usyk in a blockbuster undisputed fight on February 17
Tyson Fury boldly proclaimed he would knock Usyk ‘out cold’ when the pair collide
Usyk insisted he would do his talking in the ring and declined to engage in verbal sparring
The fight will take place in Riyadh on February 17 as Saudi cements its reputation as the main stage for big heavyweight fights
And the Gypsy King is aware of the importance.
He says: Usyk has done everything he could possibly do so I have to respect him.
‘He’s done fantastic, just like Wilder, Joshua, Parker, myself.
‘We’ve all done fantastic, we are all multimillionaires who have changed our stars for the better
‘I don’t really know Oleksandr as a man because I’ve never been out with him for a beer or socialised. But from what I’ve seen he’s a God-fearing family man.
‘I have made them all millionaires. I just wish them good luck and good health and a good Christmas present.
‘But what a Christmas present they have got now. And they all need to thank Saudi Arabia because boxing bras been on a nose dive.
‘Although without me this wouldn’t be possible. I have introduced Saudi Arabia and boxing to each other.
‘But I am not here for pats on the back and all that, I have my own fight in February.’
Fury has held the WBC heavyweight world title since stopping Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in February 2020 and has since defended his belt three times
Usyk has held the WBA, IBF and WBO belts since dethroning Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision in London in September 2021, defending the title a second time in August
In contradiction of speculation that he pulled out of December 23 to give himself time to recover from an unexpectedly brutal crossover fight with UFC star Francis Ngannou, Fury says: ‘February is not my ideal date.
‘I wanted the 23rd of December because then I could have had a good Christmas and now I am going to have a s*** Christmas.
‘I can’t go and get four stones heavier now, as I would like to. The new date will keep me in shape and give me something to think about.
‘I will still have a proper Christmas day with the family, so it’s not that that bad.
‘Although I usually go to the boozer next door, while the Christmas Day dinner is getting cooked and have 15 pints . Not this time.’
When the lights and flames lit up for the start of the press conference Fury switched into attack dog salesman mode.
The more printable of his insults included: ‘Ugly little man, sausage, pussy in earrings, dosser whose going to get smashed. ‘
To which Usyk quietly replied: ‘It means nothing. I say nothing to that. I don’t care what he says. ‘
At which point Sylvester Stallone joined them on the stage. In the entertainment Rocky spirit Fury pushed his forehead into Usyk’s and shoved him back. Laughing as he did so. As usual, the Ukrainian kept his cool