WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has again called for a unification fight with reigning WBC champ Tyson Fury, and the 35 year old southpaw has said he would very much like the fight to take place in his homeland of Ukraine. Also, in speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon as reported by Sky Sports, Usyk set a deadline of sorts.
Usyk, who is a staunch Christian said the fight has to happen either by March 4 or after that, in April. The reason? Usyk fasts before Easter and he does not fight during this period. Fury – who knows all about setting a deadline himself, as he did with regards to that teased fight with Anthony Joshua, with Fury repeatedly demanding that Joshua sign the contract, eventually walking away, losing patience – will not like being dictated to, yet we all know this fight has to happen.
“Right now my team is in conversations with Tyson Fury, and he is a really unpredictable person, so we can’t guarantee when,” Usyk said. “For me, the idea would be to fight maybe early February or the beginning of March, like March 4, because I am an orthodox Christian. During the great fasting before Easter I do not fight, so it should be all before or then after orthodox Easter (April 16). I want to fight with Fury because I need the fourth belt, and I don’t want to fight with anyone else until I have the fourth belt. For me, I would really like to fight in Ukraine. The country is really capable of hosting this kind of fight.”
It seems unlikely a Usyk-Fury showdown will take place in Ukraine, as the big money offers will no doubt come from the Middle East, or maybe even the UK (although a stadium fight in February or March in the UK is obviously not ideal, what with the weather). Usyk himself said that he expects the Fury fight to be held in Saudi Arabia, yet he says he would love it to happen at the Olympic Arena in Ukraine. Money will of course talk.
But does Fury want this fight? Does he want it as much as Usyk wants it? Fury is, as Usyk says, unpredictable, and “The Gypsy King” is more than capable of throwing his fans a huge curveball – see his upcoming, no-one wants to see it trilogy fight with Derek Chisora. Might Fury shock us again by announcing how he has plans to fight someone other than Usyk next?
Who knows with Fury? But Usyk has now laid out his terms and we must wait and see how Fury reacts.