In a dramatic turn of events, the highly anticipated face-off between heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk has been temporarily put on hold.
The pay-per-view showdown, initially scheduled for February 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been delayed due to a significant cut over Fury's right eye sustained during sparring.
Queensbury, Fury's co-promoter, labeled the injury a "freak cut" and disclosed that it required urgent medical attention and extensive stitching. This unfortunate setback has forced the postponement of the fight, dashing the hopes of fans eagerly awaiting the crowning of an undisputed heavyweight champion.
Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) previously experienced a similar cut in his unanimous decision victory over Otto Wallin in September 2019 but had no lingering issues in subsequent bouts. Expressing his disappointment, Fury conveyed his dedication to returning stronger once his eye has fully healed.
The announcement of the postponement included a photo of Fury with the cut, highlighting the severity of the injury that reportedly required 15 stitches. Despite the setback, both fighters were present at the announcement, demonstrating their commitment to the rescheduled bout.
In a surprising turn of events, the initial frustration expressed by Usyk's manager, Egis Klimas, was replaced with a collaborative spirit. Initially calling Fury a "f—— coward" and suggesting an attempt to evade the fight, Klimas, along with all parties involved, eventually agreed to give Fury the necessary time for a complete recovery.
The rescheduled date for the heavyweight championship clash has been confirmed for May 18 in Riyadh, as confirmed by a Saudi Arabian government spokesperson. This new date offers sufficient time for Fury to recover and ensures that both fighters will step into the ring in peak condition.
Fury expressed his devastation at the postponement, apologizing to everyone affected, including his own team, Team Usyk, undercard fighters, partners, and fans. The British champion emphasized his commitment to diligently work towards the rescheduled date, acknowledging the magnitude of the event.
“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such a superb condition,” he said. “I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed.
“I can only apologize to everyone affected including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners, and fans as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
This marks the second rescheduling of the Fury-Usyk bout, initially set for December 23, and subsequently pushed back after Fury narrowly escaped an upset against MMA star Francis Ngannou on October 28. Fury's victory against Ngannou in a split decision showed the unpredictability of the heavyweight division, setting the stage for the now-delayed clash with Usyk.
As the boxing world anxiously awaits the rescheduled showdown, the narrative surrounding Fury's recovery and Usyk's preparation adds an extra layer of intrigue to this eagerly anticipated clash for the undisputed heavyweight crown.