Heavyweight champion Usyk names man he wants to face next
WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight boxing champion Aleksandr Usyk has trained his sights on Tyson Fury as his only preferred opponent in a blockbuster clash early next year.
The Ukrainian has been away from the ring since beating Fury’s domestic rival Anthony Joshua for the second time in August when he earned a split decision win over the Brit in Jeddah.
Usyk’s win brought Fury out of retirement, but as the Crimean-born fighter ruled himself out of action for the rest of 2022 to spend time with his family, the ‘Gypsy King’ tried and failed to land a fight with Joshua before eventually settling on Derek Chisora at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3.
The undefeated Fury is not expected to have problems seeing off Chisora for the third time in his storied career – and if that is the case, Usyk is clear on who the brash British fighter should face next.
“Right now, my team is seeking conversations with Tyson Fury, and he is really an unpredictable person, so we can’t guarantee when,” Usyk revealed from Lisbon while attending a Web Summit.
“For me, the idea would be to fight maybe early February or the beginning of March, like March 4, because I am an Orthodox Christian.
“During the great fasting before Easter I do not fight, so it should be all before or then after Orthodox Easter (April 16).”
Chasing greatness, Usyk is desperate to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era, and doesn’t understand why Fury has agreed to meet Chisora.
“I want to fight with Fury because I need the fourth belt, and I don’t want to fight with anyone else until I have the fourth belt,” he said.
“I don’t know why he needs this fight (against Chisora). Maybe he thinks because it would be one year without a fight, now he needs it.
“I think it is some maneuver because I don’t know why he needs this.”
As for the venue of the potential box office smash, Usyk has suggested Kyiv’s Olimpiysky Stadium, though aware that such a decision doesn’t rest in his hands.
“But it is not me who chooses the venue, so I guess it will (this time) be Saudi Arabia,” he suggested.
Because of a ban from entering the US due to his alleged links to Irish crime boss Daniel Kinahan, as confirmed by his brother Tommy Fury on an MMA podcast this week, Fury only has the UK and the Middle East as feasible site options for a potential Usyk bout.
Saudi Arabia typically offers fighters and promoters the biggest payday, but larger crowds can enjoy boxing matches on British shores, where stadiums such as Wembley offer 90,000 seats plus additional floor space.