Is Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk not happening in Saudi Arabia because it doesn’t involve Anthony Joshua?

By Albert Craine - 02/19/2023 - Comments

Eddie Hearn said earlier this week that Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk isn’t happening in Saudi Arabia because the fight doesn’t involve Anthony Joshua.

Hearn believes that if Joshua was involved, the Saudis would have gladly paid to have the fight staged in their country, be it against Fury or Usyk.

You can’t blame it on Usyk for why the Saudis chose not to stage the fight in their country because they had already put on a fight between him and Joshua.

This is about Fury, not Usyk. Fury is the one that blew it, just as he did with the negotiations for the Joshua fight last November. It looks like Fury has messed things up with the Saudis with his ham-handed approach to the negotiations.

Fury not as popular as Joshua

The Saudis obviously know that Joshua is a bigger PPV attraction and has more fans than Fury, who for some reason hasn’t caught on with the public the way he has.

Perhaps it’s because of Fury’s ugly punch, grab & lean fighting style, or possibly his self-promoting personability. Whatever the case, the Saudis aren’t going to stage Fury vs. Usyk in their country on April 29th, whereas they’ve twice put on Joshua’s fights against Oleksandr and Andy Ruiz Jr.

Fury reportedly asked for more money than the Saudis were willing to pay, which means that the fight with Usyk has no other option but to be moved to Wembley.

Usyk isn’t happy because he already agreed to a deal with the Saudis, and he’s not going to want to take a payday to fight Fury in London just because he priced himself out.

While that comment from Hearn might seem a bit self-serving, given that he promotes the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua, but he could be right. Despite not holding a world title at the moment, Joshua is still a commercial superstar and a big PPV draw.

Fury isn’t a PPV draw

“When they were doing the deal for April 29th in Saudi Arabia, both Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s teams were doing the deal separately for whatever reason that hasn’t worked,” said Gareth A. Davies to talkSPORT Boxing.

“If it does a million PPV buys, then that’s a huge fight,” said Adam Catterall about the Fury vs. Usyk clash. “The way the landscape of boxing is going right now, we’re not seeing a lot of fights that are getting made that are grossing a million PPV buys.

“I would like to think the undisputed championship of the world between the two best heavyweights on the planet would do at least one million PPV buys. I don’t know if it resonates with the mainstream and whether it crosses over.

“He hasn’t done anywhere near a million PPV buys yet in the fights that he’s had previously, Tyson Fury, even the ones he had with Deontay Wilder. Granted, they were in America and on a different time zone.

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“Here in the UK, he hasn’t done anywhere near a million PPV buys. The only person that’s done that is Anthony Joshua. Therefore, the comments I heard this week from Eddie Hearn where he was talking about Saudi Arabia and not involving Anthony Joshua.

Joshua still a commercial colossus

“Listen, he’s Anthony Joshua’s guy, I get it, but I can also understand the angle he’s coming from because Anthony Joshua is still a commercial colossus, and he has been able to pull the money out of the Middle East, hasn’t he in order to get his fights over the line,” said Catterall.

“It’s not going to be a good look for Tyson Fury if the fight against Usyk doesn’t get over the line, and the fight against AJ at the back of last year didn’t get over the line. People will be pointing the finger at Tyson Fury.

“The best heavyweight on the planet needs to get the best fights on the planet over the line. I think this is on him if this doesn’t happen,” said Catterall.

“Absolutely, I can’t argue with that,” said Davies. “It’s going to be an absolute disaster for boxing if this fight doesn’t happen. How can we not have the two best-undefeated heavyweights in the world not meeting each other for all the belts?

“Forget the money. Come on, this is a great moment in time.”

“I don’t think the money is there they want. It worked for Usyk, but it hasn’t worked for Tyson Fury for whatever reason. That could be myriad reasons why. I think April 29th was the due date for the Middle East. They penciled in and reserved Wembley for April 29th

“Usyk wants more money. This fight needs to happen. It’s going to be an absolute disaster if they don’t get over the line with this.

“You’ve got to lay it at the foot of Tyson Fury and his handlers for not getting it over the line,” Davies said when asked if the Usyk fight doesn’t get made, it’s his fault. “Don’t make an argument that Fury is the bigger draw in the UK; just split the pot.

“It’ll do over a million PPV buys. It’s a proper heavyweight fight. It’s a fistic chess match,” said Davies.