Fury, Usyk appear to have reached deal for undisputed title fight
Camps notify WBA that they've agreed to financial terms for heavyweight showdown
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A tentative deal has been reached for the long-awaited undisputed heavyweight title fight between lineal/WBC champion Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, according to WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza.
Mendoza told Fight Freaks Unite on Friday that the sides notified him that they have reached an agreement, although he said they still had to “work on the contracts.”
Mendoza was told of the deal, which was struck between Fury co-promoter Frank Warren and Usyk promoter Alex Krassyuk, just before the WBA, which had grown tired of waiting for an agreement, was poised to notify Usyk by 5 p.m. ET on Friday that it was going to order his mandatory defense against England’s Daniel Dubois (19-1, 18K KOs). He holds the WBA “regular” title and is also promoted by Warren. Usyk-Dubois would be worth a fraction of the money Usyk can make by facing Fury.
The WBA had previously held off on making the order to give Usyk and Fury time to make a fight that would crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era and the first undisputed champion in the division since Lennox Lewis outpointed Evander Holyfield in their rematch to unify the three major titles in Las Vegas on Nov. 13, 1999.
“It seems Usyk versus Fury will happen,” Mendoza said. “There is an agreement between Usyk and Fury. They will provide a contract and dates. They are basically saying an agreement has been reached, let’s work on the contracts.”
Mendoza said Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), 36, of Ukraine, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, accepted the short end of a 70-30 revenue split, agreeing to come off his long-standing insistence on 50-50.
An even split apparently had been OK with England’s Fury when the fight was likely to take place in Saudi Arabia, where a group there was willing to put up tens of millions to host the fight. But along the way the official offer never came for the bout being planned for April 29.
That forced the promoters to look to do the fight at London’s Wembley Stadium, where the fight would still do huge business but not come close to generating the amount of money it would with a Saudi Arabian site fee. Fury defended the title against WBC mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte last April at Wembley Stadium, which was sold out and drew a British boxing attendance record of 94,000.
Whether the fight can still take place on April 29 is iffy and, according to one source involved, might have to move to no earlier than June. If the fight is finalized, it would be available via ESPN+ PPV in the United States and BT Sport Box Office in the United Kingdom.
Before Mendoza was notified of the agreement, Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs), 34, had rejected Usyk’s demand for 50-50 followed by one of 60-40 with the lion’s share going to the winner of the fight.
Fury posted a video to his Instagram feed on Friday making his terms clear.
“They want 50 percent, Usyk and all this. ‘Tyson is being greedy.’ From where I’m standing, Usyk, you and your team are worth 30 percent,” Fury said in the video. “You either take it or you leave it and if you don’t want it, go fight Daniel Dubois for a couple bucks and get a few million dollars. If you want to make some real money, come and fight the ‘Gypsy King’.
“But I will say this — for every day from (Friday) that you linger, mess around, I’m going to deduct 1 percent from the 30 percent. I’m going to deduct 1 percent until you take it and if you don’t take it, fight Dubois for $2 million. Not a problem. But how in the world could you offer me a deal? Not possible. Tick tock, tick tock, pussies.”
Hours later, Usyk made his own social media video.
“Hey, ‘Greedy Belly,’ I accept your offer, 70-30 split to fight April 29 at Wembley,” Usyk said in English, referring to his nickname for Fury. “But you will promise to donate to Ukraine immediately after the fight a million pounds. Every day of your delay, you will pay 1 percent (more) from your purse to Ukrainian people. Deal?”
It was soon after the videos were posted that Mendoza was copied on a string of emails from both sides stating they had agreed to the financial split.
Krassyuk told Fight Freaks Unite via email that Usyk’s conditions for accepting a 30 percent share in return for Fury’s humanitarian donation to Ukraine “are due only for April 29th at Wembley!!!!!”
The opportunity to make the most significant fight in the division, and one of the biggest in boxing, became serious after Fury retained his title by 10th-round knockout of countryman and good pal Derek Chisora — who also suffered a close decision loss to Usyk — in December.
In August, Usyk outpointed England’s Anthony Joshua in their rematch in London to retain the belts he had taken from him in September 2021. But rather than make the undisputed fight with Fury immediately, Usyk decided to take off the rest of 2022, partly to allow nagging injuries to heal. Fury didn’t want to wait until the spring to fight again and faced Chisora.
Usyk was ringside for the fight and after Fury stopped Chisora, Usyk stepped up onto the ring apron at Fury’s invitation and they stood face to face, and both said they wanted to fight each other next.
Now, it appears that wish will come true.
Fury-Usyk photo: Queensberry Promotions
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What’s up w Haney and Loma??
The very public nature of these negotiations have made the split a huge issue. Usyk does deserve 50% but as always the alphabets have remained passive. When Usyk fought AJ he recieved 20% first time around and 50% as defending champion, Andy Ruiz Jr recieved less than 20% as champion. Holyfield held Lewis to almost 70:30, so this degree of bargaining is not new. The public profile has allowed all the fan boys to pour scorn on every exchange. Its not right but its nothing new. This fight will go ahead, the latest rematch nonsense is Fury getting Usyk unsettled and wound up, which is exactely what Wladimir warned him about. Wembely Stadium booked, Fury biggest purse of his career and a chance to make history, he will not blow that.