In a groundbreaking development, boxing’s heavyweight division is poised to crown its undisputed champion after nearly a quarter-century, with Tyson Fury set to face Oleksandr Usyk on February 17 in Riyadh.
The confirmation of the unification bout between Fury, the WBC titleholder, and Usyk, the WBA, IBF, and WBO champion, took place at a press conference in London on Thursday, marking the second major event secured by Saudi Arabia in 24 hours, following the announcement of ‘Day of Reckoning’ on December 23 featuring Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder in separate matches.
Dubbed “Ring of Fire,” this event signifies a historic moment for the boxing world, as it will determine the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis achieved the feat in 1999 by defeating Evander Holyfield.
Originally slated for December 23, the unification fight faced a postponement due to injuries sustained by Fury in his challenging bout against ex-UFC star Francis Ngannou in Riyadh on October 28.
Promoter Frank Warren expressed his excitement at the press conference, stating, “This is a historic event. The whole world of boxing has been waiting for many, many years, and they now have this fight.”
Fury, known for his outspoken demeanor, directed strong language and insults towards Usyk during the press conference. In response, Usyk remained composed, asserting that he would let his performance in the ring do the talking.
Fury confidently stated, “Usyk’s a champion, I’m a champion. It’s going to be a fight for the ages.” He emphasized his belief in destiny, aiming not only to become the undisputed champion but also to solidify his legacy.
Despite Fury repeatedly referring to Usyk as a “sausage” and making disparaging remarks about his height and appearance, Usyk maintained his focus. “Yes, I’m a little man. I’ll speak in the ring,” he calmly stated.
Fury boasts an undefeated record of 35 fights, with 34 wins and one draw. He initially became champion by dethroning Wladimir Klitschko and later reclaimed the WBC belt in a 2020 rematch against Deontay Wilder. Usyk, undefeated in all 21 of his fights, secured the WBA, IBF, and WBO titles in 2021 by defeating Anthony Joshua.