Why is Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk cancelled? Is Usyk fighting a replacement? | Boxing | Sport

Why is Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk cancelled? Is Usyk fighting a replacement? | Boxing | Sport

Boxing fans will have to wait a little while longer for the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era to be crowned. The long-awaited blockbuster showdown between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury has been pushed back from February 17 to May 18 after disaster struck in the Gypsy King’s camp. Here, Express Sport explains what happened and what it means for the fate of the fight.

Why was Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk cancelled?

Two weeks before fight night Fury was cut in sparring by lesser-known heavyweight Agron Smakici. The Croatian puncher opened a gash above Fury’s right eye that required 11 stitches leaving organisers with no choice but to postpone the bout.

Footage of the moment Fury was cut emerged online and appeared to show that an elbow had pierced the WBC champion’s skin. Speaking to Express Sport shortly after the incident, Smakici insisted it was a ‘freak accident’.

“When you see the punch, I know I shot a clear punch but the way he held my head, he was pulling my head forward to him,” he said. “So, that’s maybe why the elbow came through also. But it was a punch first of all. It was a freak accident.”

Is Usyk fighting a replacement?

Usyk is not fighting a replacement opponent despite insisting that he was open to boxing Filip Hrgovic on the same date. The undisputed clash has instead been moved to May 18 although the Ukrainian’s team want a replacement opponent to be lined up in case Fury pulls out again. 

“In case he [Fury] withdraws from the fight, a replacement should be foreseen in advance,” said Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk. “In case, for some reason, he has a cut on his heel or anything, a fight will take place under any circumstances.” 

What happens if the fight is postponed again?

Saudi royal advisor Turki Alalshikh has promised to fine Fury or Usyk £8million if either of them forces their rescheduled fight to be postponed again. During a recent appearance on the MMA Hour, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said: “There will be $10m [£8m] (to be paid) if someone escapes from the fight (from their own money).”

It appears Team Usyk requested for the penalty to be put in place. “It was our request when we were negotiating,” said Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas. “We said to the Saudis ‘if you are going to move the fight, make sure you include the penalty’.”

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