Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: Heavyweight fight postponed due to British boxer’s cut in sparring


Tyson Fury’s cut from sparring (Credit: Queensberry)

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed heavyweight title fight has been postponed due to the British boxer sustaining a cut in sparring.

WBC champion Fury was due to battle WBO, WBA and IBF titlist Usyk in Saudi Arabia in the ‘Ring of Fire’ fight on Saturday February 17, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but that has now been delayed.

The “freak cut” opened up above Fury’s right eye and required “urgent medical attention and significant stitching”, Queensberry Promotions revealed in a statement.

Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas told Sky Sports that Fury “will do anything to not face Usyk” before mockingly adding that maybe “he was hit by a frying pan which he asked for”.

Sky Sports News have contacted Queensberry for comment.

Klimas added it was “too early to say” whether Usyk would wait for a new fight date with Fury or take another bout in the interim, saying: “It’s very hot at the moment, we just got this straight from the oven.”

Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, wrote underneath Fury’s Instagram post confirming the postponement to say: “Wishing you soonest recovery. God sent you a sign. Think of retirement, brother.”

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Fury has suffered a cut in sparring which has forced his undisputed heavyweight clash with Usyk to be postponed

Frank Warren, who runs Queensberry, told TalkSport that Fury’s cut happened in Riyadh on Friday morning “in sparring with a Croatian heavyweight who caught his eye with his elbow”.

Sky Sports understands the fighter in question to be southpaw Agron Smakici.

Fury had previously suffered a gaping cut around his right eye following a bloody points win over Otto Wallin in September 2019.

Fury ‘devastated’ at fight postponement, was ‘in fantastic shape’

The winner of any rescheduled fight between Fury and Usyk stands to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999 and the first in the four-belt era.

Fury said: “I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such a superb condition.

“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 apologise 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 added on Instagram: “Can’t help getting injured in sparring but what I can say was Usyk was in trouble.

“I am in fantastic shape. I will reschedule as soon as I can.”

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The tension between Fury and Usyk was evident from their first head to head as the heavyweight champions had to be held back

‘Fury-Usyk to be rescheduled as soon as possible’

A Queensberry Promotions spokesperson added: “Whilst this is still breaking news it is clearly a massive disappointment, after the work that has been done by so many people to finally deliver the historic event to the world.

“Once the doctors have appraised Tyson’s eye, we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed.

“Once known we will work diligently with all the stakeholders and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reschedule the fight as soon as possible and will of course keep everyone updated with developments.”

Fury has won 34 and drawn one of his 35 professional fights – controversially held by Deontay Wilder in the first bout of their trilogy in December 2018 – while Ukrainian Usyk is 21-0.

Fury recovered from being knocked down by Francis Ngannou last October to beat the former UFC champion via split decision.

Usyk has defeated British boxers in his last four fights, with victories over Derek Chisora in 2020 and Daniel Dubois last August sandwiching successive points wins over Anthony Joshua.

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Heavyweight champion Fury has never been shy to grab the microphone and serenade his fans

The road to Fury vs Usyk

Fury first became a unified world champion when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, only to lose those titles outside the ring after over two years of inactivity.

He made a remarkable return in 2018 with that contentious draw against Wilder before beating the American in two further fights, in February 2020 and October 2021.

Fury headlined two stadium fights in London in 2022, stopping Dillian Whyte and Chisora to defend his belt, before his non-title win over Ngannou in October 2023.

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Fury was certainly fired up ahead of the press conference to announce his fight with Usyk and taunted a member of the Ukrainian’s team

Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, has flourished since stepping up to heavyweight, dethroning Joshua to claim the IBF, WBO and WBA titles in September 2021.

The Ukrainian secured another emphatic points win over Joshua the following year and then beat Dubois in his only bout of 2023, stopping the Brit in the ninth round.

Usyk – a gold medallist at the London Olympics in 2012 – became a renowned global figure after returning to Ukraine when Russia invaded in February of 2022.

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