On Friday, a deal was reached between heavyweight champions Fury and Oleksandr Usyk to fight in a highly anticipated boxing showdown for the undisputed title at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Queensberry Promotions said in a news release that the date of the bout and other details would be announced “in due course,” although ESPN reported the event could take place as early as Dec. 23.
The announcement was made one month before Fury is set to fight former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou on October 28, also in Riyadh. The fact that Fury would sign on for another fight before stepping into the ring with Ngannou sends a message about how easily Fury expects to take care of business against Ngannou.
Ngannou has other plans, however.
“I don’t know what’s the minimum medical suspension in boxing but I really don’t understand how Tyson can fight in December after what’s going to happen on (Oct. 28),” Ngannou posted on X.
Even if Ngannou, making his professional boxing debut, pulled off the massive upset, he wouldn’t be crowned champion as the scheduled 10-round bout isn’t for Fury’s WBC title belt. In that unlikely scenario, Fury could proceed with his undisputed title fight against Usyk, although it surely would lose a lot of its luster.
A showdown between Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) and IBF, WBA and WBO titleholder Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) appeared set to happen back on April 29. However, the booking fell apart when the two sides couldn’t agree to a purse split on a projected rematch.
Usyk, who was coming off back-to-back victories over Anthony Joshua, moved on from Fury and defended his belts against Daniel Dubois on Aug. 26, stopping him in the ninth round.