Probability, location and legacy – a closer look at the evoked Fury-Usyk showdown

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk appear to be on a collision course for early next year in a highly anticipated showdown that could see all four world heavyweight titles on the line.

Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter, has revealed the WBC champion and Usyk, the WBA, IBF and WBO title slate, have agreed to fight next with the UK and possible destinations in the Middle East.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the state of affairs.

So Fury-Usyk is a lock?

No, boxing is way too finicky to guarantee anything until the fighters are actually in the ring. No contract has been signed, a date has not yet been agreed and the venue is still up in the air. It was the most anticipated contest for boxing fans 12 months ago, but obligations, contractual rematches and schedules – as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have intervened.

What are the grounds for hope, then?

Oleksandr Usyk is the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion (Nick Potts/PA)

It’s been a frustrating year for British fight fans, but Arum seems positive about the current situation. His relationship with Fury is highly publicized, but he also loves Usyk and promotes the Ukrainian’s close friend and fellow boxer Vasyl Lomachenko. Negotiations between the camps are progressing with dates in March mentioned. One hurdle, however, has been lifted as Fury won’t go under the knife on his right elbow that troubled him in a routine win over Derek Chisora ​​earlier this month.

Are there any stumbling blocks on the horizon?

Tyson Fury, right, is the WBC heavyweight champion (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Tyson Fury, right, is the WBC heavyweight champion (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Earlier this month, the WBA ordered Usyk to defend his “super” title against “regular” belt holder Daniel Dubois. However, given that Frank Warren’s promotion stable includes Fury and Dubois, this hurdle shouldn’t prove too much of a problem. Dubois may well have first dibs on whoever wins between Fury and Usyk, but Filip Hrgovic is the mandatory IBF, so there’s already a backlog building up.

So all roads lead to Fury-Usyk?

Both fighters will be acutely aware that their legacy may hinge on their ability to seal a deal, but the devil is always in the details. It’s worth remembering that Fury and Anthony Joshua were close to finalizing a blockbuster fight but the talks there ultimately fell apart with a lot of finger pointing from both sides. While there is a drive to get this fight on the books, there may be more twists to come.

Is there any indication of where the fight will take place?

Saudi Arabia set up Usyk's win over Anthony Joshua in their rematch earlier this year (Nick Potts/PA)

Saudi Arabia set up Usyk’s win over Anthony Joshua in their rematch earlier this year (Nick Potts/PA)

There is currently no clear favorite. The lure of filling Wembley Stadium again will be enticing for Fury while Usyk has fond memories of London, having won Olympic gold there in 2012 before dethroning Joshua as world champion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium l ‘last year. However, both fighters will expect to be rewarded handsomely for their efforts, so expect Saudi Arabia, which hosted Usyk-Joshua II, the United Arab Emirates and possibly even Qatar, hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, enters the calculation.

So, upbeat vibes but nothing concrete?

Fury, pictured, and Usyk are undefeated (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Fury, pictured, and Usyk are undefeated (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Precisely. Basically, boxing needs this fight between two undefeated fighters to happen in 2023 and there can be no excuses. Fury, in particular, would see his reputation suffer if another high profile fight were to fail. Fury has the upper hand in height, reach and weight, which marks him as the favorite, but Usyk made light of similar disadvantages to beat Joshua twice. While Fury is a superior boxer to his British counterpart, Usyk might be the most gifted fighter of his generation.

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