Tyson Fury suffered a cut over his right eye in sparring Friday that required stitches and his undisputed heavyweight championship fight vs. Oleksandr Usyk on Feb. 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been postponed, said Fury’s promoter, Queensberry.
“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such superb condition,” said Fury, who held training camp in Riyadh. “I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed.
“I can only apologize to everyone affected including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners, and fans as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
FURY VS USYK STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/z7nf4Q3N70
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) February 2, 2024
A makeup date has yet to be determined.
“Once the doctors have appraised Tyson’s eye, we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed,” a spokesperson for Queensberry Promotions said in a statement. “Once known we will work diligently with all the stakeholders and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reschedule this fight as soon as possible and will of course keep everyone updated with developments.”
Upon hearing the news of Fury’s injury, heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic told ESPN he wants to fight Usyk for his three heavyweight titles on Feb. 17.
Croatia’s Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 6 heavyweight. The 31-year-old is the IBF’s mandatory challenger for the organization’s heavyweight championship held by Usyk (he also holds the WBO and IBF belts).
“Now that Fury has gotten injured, I’m ready to step in and fight Usyk,” Hrgovic said. “Let’s go Usyk, you owe me my mandatory shot. It’s time to finally face me.”
A fight between Usyk and Hrgovic is being explored, sources said, as Usyk looks to remain on the Feb. 17 date in Riyadh.
Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) were set to meet in two weeks in the most anticipated heavyweight title fight since Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson in 2002.
Fury-Usyk was originally planned for Dec. 23 before Fury struggled in a tougher-than-expected bout with former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in October in Riyadh. Fury was cut over the forehead and the left eye en route to a split-decision victory over Ngannou, who was making his pro boxing debut.
Fury, 35, was even dropped in Round 3, the seventh knockdown of his illustrious career. Fury and Usyk signed contracts for their long-awaited battle for heavyweight supremacy weeks before “The Gypsy King” stepped through the ropes to fight Ngannou in their 10-round nontitle bout.
Usyk, 36, is an Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion. The Ukrainian won his three titles from Anthony Joshua in 2021. Usyk retained the titles in the 2022 rematch with another decision nod over Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk last fought in August, when he scored a ninth-round KO of Daniel Dubois in Poland. Usyk is ESPN’s No. 2 heavyweight and No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer. Fury is ESPN’s No. 1 heavyweight and No. 10 pound-for-pound boxer. England’s Fury fought twice in 2022, both TKO wins at soccer stadiums in London (in April vs. Dillian Whyte and December vs. Derek Chisora).
This is Fury’s second title reign. He beat another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in 2015 for three heavyweight titles via decision in an upset. Fury never defended those titles and instead was out of the ring for 2½ years because of depression and substance abuse. He was up to 400-plus pounds during that time.
After Fury returned from that hiatus, he established himself as one of boxing’s top stars with a classic heavyweight title trilogy against Deontay Wilder, whom he stopped twice after a draw in the first meeting. Fury’s third fight with Wilder was ESPN’s 2021 Fight of the Year and KO of the Year.
The Fury-Usyk deal contains a two-way rematch clause, virtually ensuring two consecutive fights between them for tens of millions of dollars.