Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk fight: Where things stand in negotiations for heavyweight unification

While recent years have seen big fights made in boxing more frequently than in previous decades, the potential bout for the undisputed heavyweight championship bout between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBO, WBA and IBF champ Oleksandr Usyk suddenly feels further away than ever.

The fight, which is the most logical for all involved, once seemed like a lock for the 2023 calendar. But, as so often happens in boxing, things seem to have fallen apart at the negotiating table.

Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, told Sky Sports that he no longer believed Fury is actually interested in the bout after Fury shot down a proposed purse split of 60-40 in favor of the winner. Even worse, Krassyuk said, Fury’s demands were making the fight an impossibility.

“I can only tell you from the words I hear from my negotiators, my partners Frank and George Warren,” Krassyuk said. “According to their reports, Tyson Fury was asking for too much money. Even if Usyk would get zero for the fight, it would still not be sufficient for Tyson to cover his [demands].”

On Friday, Fury posted a video on Instagram stating that he was offering Usyk and his team a “take it or leave it” deal of a 70-30 purse split in Fury’s favor.

In addition, Fury claimed that for every day the Usyk team didn’t accept the deal, he would remove 1%.

“They want 50%, Usyk and all this ‘Tyson is being greedy,'” Fury said. “From where I’m standing, Usyk, you and your team are worth 30%. You either take it or you leave it. And if you don’t want it, go fight Daniel Dubois and get a few million dollars. If you want to make some real money, come on fight the Gypsy King. I will say, for every day from today that you linger and mess around, I’m going to deduct 1%.”

The target for the fight was April 29 after originally planned dates in February and March fell through, with an initial plan to hold the bout in Saudi Arabia. The plans to hold the bout in Saudi Arabia then fell apart, taking with it the inflated purses that come with events held in that country.

A pivot was made to hold the fight in London’s Wembley Arena before negotiations seemingly hit a wall. With Usyk’s side believing they are worthy of a 50-50 split, it’s unlikely any headway will be made with Fury’s new demands.

Should the fight not come together, Usyk will almost certainly face Dubois, who holds the “regular” WBA title, making him one of Usyk’s mandatory challengers. Dubois also holds priority in order among Usyk’s mandatories.

Fury’s brother, Shane, recently claimed that former unified champion Andy Ruiz could be the next step for the WBC champion, saying, “I think Andy Ruiz Jr is a good opponent, a good name, and is in good form. Fans would want to see that fight.”

Meanwhile, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is attempting to push Fury into a British boxing superfight between Fury and former unified champion Anthony Joshua.

The pair have negotiated previously, with those negotiations ending as Fury imposed a deadline before agreeing to a trilogy bout with Derek Chisora.

“I’ve said to George Warren that we’ve got the basis of the deal that we had last time, let’s progress with that and let’s get the deal done,” Hearn said of Fury vs. Joshua on The Betfred Lightweight Boxing Show. “One of the reasons we’re not seeing Usyk vs Fury is because there’s not that much money in it. It’s not as big a fight as people think. AJ vs Fury, there’s fortunes in that fight. Let’s get it on. I know what Tyson Fury wants and that’s money and he wants as much money as possible.”

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