Tyson Fury vs. Oleksander Usyk: Fans Critical of “Weak” Undercard

By Michael Collins - 04/03/2024 - Comments

Next month, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will face WBC champ Tyson Fury on May 18th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The main event is viewed as a good one, but the undercard that has been assembled has led to a lot of criticism from fans, who view it as having just one good fight and the rest just filler thrown together.

Where’s the Beef?

Only three of the Fury-Usyk fights on the undercard have attracted much interest and they are as follows:

  • Jai Opetaia vs. Mairis Briedis II
  • Joe Cordina vs. Anthony Cacace
  • Agit Kabayel vs. Frank Sanchez

The rest of the card is a mix of prospects and 41-year-old Sergey Kovalev fighting someone unknown guy, Robin Sirwan Safar. Again, not a fight that is attracting any interest from fans and could have been left off the card along with four other fights.

Promoter Defends the Card

Promoter Frank Warren said to Boxnation about the Fury vs. Usyk undercard: “It’s a great card. A number of fights on there could be top of the bill… Every other fight on there is a good fight, good British fights as well… I don’t care what anybody says. It’s a great, great show.”

As far as this writer can tell, the ONLY fight on the undercard that could be a main event is the Opetaia vs. Briedis rematch, but even that fight is iffy. Briedis is 39 years old and hasn’t fought since losing to Opetaia two years ago in a mostly one-sided fight. A rematch is unnecessary and pointless.

The other two decent fights, Sanchez vs. Kabayel and Cordina vs. Cacace are certainly NOT good enough to be top-of-the-bill fights on any card in the U.S. It would be asking a lot of British fans to want to pay to see a card headlined by either of these fights.

The 35-year-old Cacace is ranked #11 with the IBF at super featherweight and has a resume filled with fluff-level opposition at the British level. That’s where he’s been operating during his 12-year pro career. Cacace was soundly beaten by Martin Joseph Ward in 2017.