Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will reportedly meet for the undisputed heavyweight championship on February 17th in their long-awaited clash in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) and IBF/WBA/WBO champ Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) will have all four belts at stake for their contest, which will determine the #1 guy in the division.
Fury-Usyk had been planned for December 23rd, but Fury’s grueling war with the heavy-handed MMA star Francis Ngannou on October 28th made it necessary for the date to be pushed back to February 17th to allow Tyson additional time for rest & recovery. Ngannou gave Fury a shiner, and his face looked marked up.
The February 17th Fury vs. Usyk contest will be announced on Wednesday, along with the December 23rd card, which features Anthony Joshua facing Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder taking on Joseph Parker.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reports the news of the new date for the Fury vs. Usyk fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There’s no word yet about who will be fighting on the undercard, but given that the Saudia are staging the event, the card will likely be stacked like the December 23rd event in Riyadh.
The humungous 6’9″ Fury looked old & sluggish in his fight against Ngannou and struggled to perform like he’d done in the past in his best fights.
Without being able to use his grappling tactics to tire Ngannou effectively, Fury was helpless and had nothing else to go on other than throwing weak jabs and slow right hands.
If Fury can’t raise his game against Usyk, he will get a boxing lesson that he won’t soon forget, as he won’t be able to rely on wrestling & leaning his way to victory against this type of fighter. Those tactics are only effective against ham & eggers like Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora & Deontay Wilder, and his pencil-thin legs.
Fury vs. Usyk will likely be sold on ESPN+ PPV in the U.S., and it’ll be interesting to see how high it will be sold for. Neither of these guys is hugely popular in the United States, and Fury’s recent fight against Ngannou reportedly bombed on PPV, with it doing abysmal numbers.
The promoters for Fury & Usyk will know what the PPV figures were for the Fury-Ngannou event, and you would like to think that they adjusted the price for the February 17th event to increase the numbers.
Putting a steep pricetag on the Fury vs. Usyk event, thinking that American fans fancy this match-up as much as the Brits, would be foolhardy. U.S. fans will likely be mildly interested in watching Fury battle Usyk, but they’ll balk if the event is priced in the $70+ range. Pricing that high would be stupid & pure poison.