Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk came face-to-face in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night (Picture: Getty Images)
Tyson Fury will fight Oleksandr Usyk, but it will not be on 23 December this year, confirms promoter Frank Warren.
The Gypsy King very narrowly beat former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou via split decision on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia, with many believing the boxing debutant beat the unbeaten world champion.
It was revealed before the bout that Fury and Usyk had signed to fight, with 23 December the proposed date, but Warren says it will not be happening so soon.
‘It will go ahead but it will not be on the 23rd,’ Warren told Boxing News. ‘It was crazy for some people to suggest that it could still go ahead on the 23rd.
‘He is 35-years-old and has just done a 12-week training camp and has just been in a tough fight. He needs a break with his family, he needs to switch off and we will announce the date when we are ready. But the fight is signed.
‘The fight will happen. It will happen early in the new year, late January or February. That will be up to Tyson, it is his body.
‘Fury said in the ring that he would fight on the 23rd – and he would do it – but he needs protecting from himself and that’s my job.’
Warren suggested that the Usyk fight was a distraction for Fury in the Ngannou bout, on what he admitted was a ‘bad day at the office’ for his man, who moved to 34-0-1.
‘I can’t say Tyson took the fight lightly but it was unfortunate that the news came out that the Usyk fight had been made,’ said Warren. ‘But we had to do that because once you sign a contract it leaks like a sieve.
‘That wasn’t Tyson Fury in there, it was a bad day at the office. But it was a win, he won the fight through his grit and determination.’
Fury struggled against Ngannou, who was competing in his first ever boxing match (Picture: Getty Images)
Former world champion George Groves believes the Fury vs Usyk unification fight may not happen and the Gypsy King could retire after his below-par display against Ngannou.
‘I don’t think it’s happening, and I’m not sure… I think that might just be the last time we see Tyson Fury,’ Groves told talkSPORT’s The Verdict.
‘That’s not a dig at him – he’s had a fantastic magical career, and maybe he’s just earned enough, achieved enough so the desire’s not there anymore and he thinks “I don’t need to roll the dice against Usyk.” I think it’ll hurt him much more getting beat by Usyk than being tarnished for not fighting him.’
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‘It was crazy for some people to suggest that it could still go ahead on the 23rd.’