Saturday, September 30, 2023
LONDON: The boxing world is gearing up for a historic showdown as Tyson Fury is set to face Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed heavyweight title fight, taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
While the exact date remains unconfirmed, sources indicate December 23 as the tentative target.
Usyk, hailing from Ukraine, currently holds the WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles, while Britain's Tyson Fury reigns as the WBC heavyweight champion.
This highly-anticipated bout has the potential to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era, a feat not achieved since Lennox Lewis's reign 23 years ago.
Both fighters boast unblemished records throughout their professional careers. Fury, who turned pro in 2008, has secured 33 victories and suffered only one draw. Meanwhile, Usyk, with a perfect record of 21 wins, recently defended his titles against Britain's Daniel Dubois in a match clouded by controversy following a low blow ruling by referee Luis Pabon.
"This is the biggest fight that could possibly be made in our sport," asserted Fury's promoter Frank Warren, highlighting the unparalleled anticipation surrounding this battle. With an expectation that this could be "the biggest boxing event of the century," the heavyweight division is set to reignite the passion of fans worldwide.
Usyk's promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, expressed his admiration for being part of this historic clash, paying his respects to Tyson Fury for his courage. The magnitude of this bout has not been lost on the boxing community.
The choice to stage the fight in Saudi Arabia has stirred controversy, given the nation's questionable human rights record. Despite concerns, Saudi Arabia has increasingly become a host for high-profile sporting events, a strategy criticized by some as "sportswashing." The conservative monarchy has faced international condemnation for various issues, including mass executions, LGBTQ+ rights restrictions, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
Tyson Fury's path to the undisputed title fight is a testament to his resilience. After claiming his first world title by dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, Fury took a hiatus from the sport, battling mental health issues. He returned in 2020 to become the WBC champion after defeating Deontay Wilder in a highly controversial bout.
Oleksandr Usyk's journey is equally remarkable. He gained fame by winning heavyweight gold at the 2012 Olympics and later became the undisputed world champion at cruiserweight. In 2019, he transitioned to the heavyweight division, shocking the world by defeating Anthony Joshua in 2021 and successfully defending his titles.