LONDON – On February 17 in Saudi Arabia, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will fight in a “historic” fight for the undisputed heavyweight title.
British star Fury will put his WBC belt on the line, while the WBA, IBF and WBO titles held by Ukrainian Usyk will also be up for grabs in Riyad.
The winner will become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999–2000.
Originally, the fight between Fury (35) and Usyk (36) was scheduled for December 23.
However, Fury’s disappointing performance in a split decision victory over MMA star Francis Ngannou last month forced the delay of the hotly anticipated fight.
After his controversial win over Ngannou, he was left with a swollen eye and a cut on his forehead.
Fury has already been criticized for failing to reach an agreement with Usyk when a proposed meeting at Wembley in April failed to be confirmed.
The pair will finally step into the ring in 2024 as Fury looks to extend his record of 34 wins and one draw since turning professional in 2008.
“This is a historic event. The whole boxing world has been waiting for many, many years and now they have this fight,” Fury’s promoter Frank Warren told reporters at a press conference in London.
“For the first time this century we will have an undisputed heavyweight champion.
“As a promoter, I was banging my head against the wall. But now we have the creme de la creme. These two undefeated heavyweights.”
“Cement My Legacy”
In a typically combative mood at the press conference, Fury referred to his 2015 victory over Usyk’s compatriot, Wladimir Klitschko, which gave him the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
“I’ve already relieved one Ukrainian of all his lanes, and now I’m going to take them all back,” Fury said.
“Usyk is the champion, I am the champion. This will be a fight for years.”
Fury believes a victory over Usyk will cement his status as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“He’s a good boxer, smart. But I’ve seen people like him before and when they fought a great fighter, they lost,” he said.
“I believe we are both destined to be here. My destiny is to become the undisputed champion and, moreover, to perpetuate my legacy.
Usyk remained calm despite Fury’s insults, which included attacks on his opponent’s height and his earring.
“Yes, I am a little person. I will express my opinion in the ring,” Usyk said.
Fury has held the WBC belt since defeating Deontay Wilder in 2020 and has defended the title three times.
He stopped Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April 2022 and then beat Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium eight months later.
Usyk, who has won all 21 of his fights, has held the WBA, IBF and WBO titles since defeating Anthony Joshua in 2021.
The Ukrainian has defended his titles twice, defeating Joshua by split decision last year in Saudi Arabia and knocking out Daniel Dubois in August.
Saudi Arabia has staged several leading boxing events in recent years, including Usyk’s victory over Anthony Joshua in 2022.
Following widespread criticism over its human rights record, the Gulf state has been accused of using sports to boost its international reputation.