Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk: the mega-fight boxing fans ‘deserve’ to see

Ukrainian calls out Gypsy King for undisputed clash – which could be held in December

Oleksandr Usyk holds the belts after beating Anthony Joshua in Jeddah
Oleksandr Usyk holds the belts after beating Anthony Joshua in Jeddah
(Image credit: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

After defeating Anthony Joshua for the second time, Oleksandr Usyk now has his sights firmly set on an undisputed world heavyweight title fight against recently “retired” Tyson Fury. WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Usyk retained his belts with a split-decision victory over challenger Joshua on Saturday night.

Speaking after his win in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the undefeated Ukrainian called out “Gypsy King” Fury, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion. “I am convinced he wants to fight me,” Usyk said. “I want to fight him. And if I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”

Fury, who is also undefeated, won his last fight against Dillian Whyte in April and on 12 August, his 34th birthday, he tweeted that he had “finally decided to walk away” from the sport. However, he has now “hinted” he could “reverse his decision to retire”, the BBC reported.

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After watching the Usyk vs. Joshua rematch, which he described as “one of the worst heavyweight title fights” he had ever seen, Fury said he would “annihilate both of them on the same night”. The Briton added: “Get your cheque book out because the Gypsy King is here to stay forever.”

In response to Fury’s comments, Usyk replied: “That’s what he’s dreaming every day. I’m going to beat him.”

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‘Send in the Gypsy barbarian of England’

As well as the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts, Usyk also now holds the Ring Magazine title after Fury vacated. The WBC belt is the “only piece of real estate that doesn’t belong to Usyk”, said Elliot Foster on Boxing Social.

Despite “all his talk of retirement”, it appears a fight with Usyk for all the belts “may be enough to tempt Fury back to boxing”, said Cameron Temple on talkSPORT. Fury has, however, warned that it’s “not going to be cheap”.

In an Instagram post that he “subsequently deleted”, Fury has “opened the door” to a return match against Usyk, The Telegraph reported. “I’ve just seen Joshua lose for the second time to Usyk – out of his depth,” Fury said. “However, England has been relieved of its belts. Yet again, as usual. There is a remedy and a solution that I can suggest. If you want those belts back then send in the Gypsy barbarian of England. Come on! Send me in. I will relieve the Ukrainian dosser of his belts like I did the last Ukrainian dosser [Wladimir Klitschko], but it’s not going to be cheap. If you want the best you’ve got to pay, it’s gonna be very expensive.”

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Mega-money title fight in December?

A huge payday for both fighters is “pencilled in” for 17 December in Saudi Arabia – the night before the Fifa World Cup final in neighbouring Qatar, said Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail. Team Fury are in talks “worth even more than Saturday’s £85m bonanza”. Saudi minister for sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal confirmed that the kingdom is “very interested” in hosting the undisputed heavyweight title fight and are “looking to do that in the city of Riyadh”.

British legend Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed heavyweight champion, has urged Usyk and Fury to “finally” give the fans an undisputed heavyweight championship fight. “19 years is a long time and fans deserve it,” he tweeted. “Let’s get it cracking!”

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.