After months of negotiations, publicly and privately, Tyson Fury’s fight against fellow world champion Oleksandr Usyk is off, sources for both fighters told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger on Tuesday night.
The fight was scheduled to take place on April 29 at London’s Wembley Stadium for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
According to sources, Usyk, from Ukraine, has closed his training camp and will look for options for his next fight.
Fury, in an Instagram video posted on March 10, asked Usyk to take a 70-30 percent cut in Fury’s favor. Fury is ranked No. 1 and Usyk No. 2 according to ESPN, and the winner of the fight would have become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era. Usyk later that day accepted the offer in an Instagram post.
“Hey greedy belly, I accept your offer, 70/30 split to fight on April 29 at Wembley,” Usyk wrote in the post.
But on March 13, Fury said in a Twitter post that a rematch clause should not be included in the deal, and Usyk responded again on Instagram that the rematch clause was a demand by Fury’s team, not his.
We’ve seen Fury change his mind before. It was only last year that Fury claimed that he was retired.
Now, with the fight against Usyk currently off, it’s time for Fury to consider a different path. Where is he going? Here are some potential options available for Fury’s next fight, and the one after that, if he doesn’t meet Usyk next:
The quick fix: Joe Joyce or Arslanbek Makhmudov
If Fury wants to fight at Wembley Stadium on April 29, or elsewhere this spring, he needs an opponent who can sign a deal quickly. Joyce has the same UK promoter as Fury at Queensberry Promotions and it is on record that he wants the fight.
Fury was ringside for Joyce’s 11th-round knockout victory over Joseph Parker in September and was impressed.
“Joe Joyce is the second best heavyweight in the world, behind me, and in his day who knows if he could beat me or not,” Fury said. “I think we’ll have to find out.”
Londoner Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs), 37, is already training for a fight against China’s Zhilei Zhang on April 15, an event also promoted by Queensberry, which could conveniently be scrapped if Fury-Joyce suddenly shows up at The horizon.
Russian Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs), 33, based in Canada, is with Top Rank, as is Fury in the United States, and is ranked No. 4 with the WBC after recording three wins in 2022. It’s virtually unknown to UK fight fans: Joyce would be the biggest draw to draw a crowd, and Makhmudov is a heavy puncher, so Fury may decide it’s too high risk, low reward. .
Fans’ Choice: Anthony Joshua
Haven’t we been here before? Talks with the 33-year-old Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs), then WBA, IBF and WBO champion, collapsed in October for them to meet in Cardiff on December 3. And that came after previous attempts to make the fight happen had also failed. . The two verbally agreed to meet in 2020 and the fight would reportedly be worth £200 million with Saudi Arabia hosting, but fell through in the summer of 2021 after Wilder won a lawsuit to force a rematch with Fury. . Joshua then lost his belts to Usyk.
Money seems to matter to Fury, and Joshua will now likely have to take the weaker end of the deal to make the all-British clash a reality. If the rival promotional companies can agree to terms, Fury vs. Joshua can happen at Wembley in June or July. Joshua is ranked #5 with the WBC and has been the highest-money fight available to Fury in the last five years.
After twice losing to Usyk on points, Joshua will try to revive his run against American Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) on April 1. But, if Joshua loses to Franklin, who pushed Dillian Whyte close in November, there’s no hope Joshua will ever face Fury in a world title fight.
The unpopular pick: Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury wins an epic clash with Deontay Wilder in a trilogy match
Tyson Fury is knocked down twice in the fourth round, but manages to come back and finish off Deontay Wilder in the 11th round to defend his title.
Do we really need to see a fourth fight? Fury dispatched Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs), 37, inside the distance the last two times they met (2020, 2021), and most people thought Fury deserved to make the decision in their first meeting (a controversial split draw was scored in 2018). But Fury and Wilder have the biggest mouth in boxing, which means they could talk this fight into a reality. Alabama-based Wilder, No. 1 with the WBC, is looking for an opponent after knocking out Robert Helenius within one round. Don’t discount it.
The most likely option: Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs), 33, of California, is No. 2 with the WBC, a former world champion who has a stoppage win over Joshua in 2019 and is in good shape after knocking down Luis Ortiz three times. times on your way. to a unanimous decision win in September. Ruiz is one of the biggest names in heavyweight boxing and his quick hands will make for an intriguing matchup with Fury. As a Fury-Usyk replacement, this is not a bad fight.
The fun pick: Francis Ngannou
This offers a chance for Fury to get a nice payday without risking his WBC world title. Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion who is now a free agent after leaving the UFC, would bring a different market to the fight, boost pay-per-view revenue and keep Fury’s options open for a more serious test later in year. They met in the ring after Fury’s KO win over Dillian Whyte in April of last year and have been linked to fighting each other for a while. Ngannou reportedly agreed to the terms for the mixed rules non-title contest to take place in the summer at the earliest.
The Outsider: Otto Wallin
If Fury is short on options, he may consider a rematch with Wallin (25-1, 14 KOs), 32, if the US-based Swedish boxer accommodates his demands. They have history, there is a narrative and Fury likes rematches (Wilder, Derek Chisora). In September 2019, Wallin was supposed to be a warm-up fight for Fury’s upcoming second meeting with Wilder. But a cut over his right eye early in the fight worried Fury and there were some nervous moments as the fight unfolded in Las Vegas. Fury won a unanimous decision, but Wallin last year insisted he deserves a rematch. It seems unlikely, unless Fury needs an opponent fast.
The Dangerous Young Man: Jared Anderson
The American is being talked about as the future face of heavyweight boxing and Fury might consider now a good time to fight him rather than a year from now when Anderson will be further along in his development.
Anderson, 23, of Ohio, is no rookie: He is ranked No. 11 in the WBC after 13 knockouts in 13 professional fights, and has even faced Fury.
Top Rank promotes both fighters and might like the idea of giving their young prospect a chance and keeping the title under his control. Anderson has nothing to lose, while Fury should have too much experience. Both parties might be willing if it comes to making a deal.