Tyson Fury will fight Oleksandr Usyk on 17 February, as the pair clash to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000.
It was confirmed in late September that the unbeaten pair would finally face each other, potentially on 23 December but certainly in Riyadh. However, Fury’s fight with ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannou did not go as smoothly as planned, with the Briton winning a controversial decision after being knocked down by the mixed martial artist in Riyadh.
Fury and Usyk faced off in the ring after the bout, in which Fury’s WBC title was not on the line, and the “Gypsy King” suggested that his fight with the Ukrainian would be delayed until 2024.
At a press conference on Thursday (16 November), it was confirmed that Fury vs Usyk will take place on 17 February, as each heavyweight bids to become the first undisputed champion in the division since Lennox Lewis, who achieved undisputed status in 1999 but was stripped of his WBA belt in 2000.
“I’m gonna relieve the Ukrainian of all the belts, I’m gonna bust him,” Fury said, before launching into an explosive rant at his opponent. “Sausage. Ugly, little man. Rabbit. Run, rabbit, run. You know what’s coming: You’re getting smashed to bits, sausage. You beat all the rest of them, but you ain’t beat Tyson Fury yet.
“His b*****s have shrivelled up now. Sissy with an earring in, sausage. Motherf****r, you’re getting knocked out cold. You can’t beat me, you can never beat me. If you beat me in your dreams, you better wake up and apologise – I stole that from [Muhammad] Ali, by the way, sorry.
“I came here to pick a fight, I didn’t get all dressed up for nothing. I’m getting a little bit carried away here. I’m excited, and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been in many, many heavyweight title fights before; now is the most important one. It’s gonna be a fight for the ages. We’ve been chosen, and I believe we’re both destined to be here. There’s only one winner, and I’m destined to become undisputed champion and to cement my status as the No 1 fighter of this era.
“Easier said than done, I know that. He’s tricky, a good boxer, but I’ve seen many men like him before; when they fight the big men, they struggle. He’s gonna struggle on 17 February, and he’s gonna lose. Never mind the size. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. But when you meet a man who’s also got the dog in him and is bigger than you, let’s put it in a nutshell: You’re f****d.
“He’s nowhere near the biggest threat [I’ve faced]. We know he’s slick, a southpaw, but I can outbox him or I can get on the front foot and slaughter him. There’s plenty of ways that I can skin this cat.”
Usyk was more reserved but said: “Thank you very much, people. I will speak in the ring. You stop, [Fury]? Enough? I’m a little man, but I will be champ.
“I want to tell one story, which looks very similar to our story with Tyson, about David and Goliath. When the Lord gives me Tyson in my hands, I will do my job.” Fury replied: “Impossible. The Lord would never deliver me to you, son, ever – especially a man wearing earrings, believe that.”
Fury (34-0-1, 24 knockouts) won the WBC title with his stoppage win over Deontay Wilder in 2020, after the pair fought to a controversial split draw in 2018. The 35-year-old has since retained the belt against Wilder, Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora, winning each fight via stoppage.
Meanwhile, Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) won the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts with a decision win over Anthony Joshua in 2021. The 36-year-old southpaw then retained the gold with another points victory over the Briton in 2022, before stopping Joshua’s compatriot Daniel Dubois in August.