Oleksandr Usyk insists he still expects to fight Tyson Fury on December 23.
Fury’s struggles in Saturday’s fight with the mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou, on the occasion of Ngannou’s professional debut, and the disappointing condition in which he arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has contributed to Fury’s promoter Frank Warren since saying that Fury-Usyk will instead take place in 2024.
Usyk watched the 35-year-old Fury get knocked down by Ngannou in the third round before ultimately being awarded a controversial split decision via scores of 96-93, 95-94 and 94-95 – and then said that though he awarded Ngannou only three rounds he was “disturbed” by the extent to which his date with Fury had felt in jeopardy by the possibility of defeat.
Most recently Warren has said that Fury wants to proceed with December 23 but that because of that he “needs protecting him from himself”, but Usyk – no doubt eventually encouraged by Fury’s poor performance – said: “[The fight] has to take place on the 23rd of December, in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia. We have it in contract – on paper.
“It did disturb me [watching Fury-Ngannou unfold]. It did disturb me – I was worried a lot. [But] I would give a maximum of three rounds to Ngannou.
“Frank Warren used to talk a lot of things, blaming me for something that never happened. And, you know what? We have a contract – and the contract says that the fight has to take place on the 23rd of December, no matter what.”
Usyk left his training camp in Spain to be present in Riyadh, partly in an effort to help promote the undisputed heavyweight title fight that is so widely sought-after. His plan was to again return there.
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