Usyk stands beside his manager Egis Klimas, who has moved the Ukrainian star to Southern California to train with other Eastern European standouts in preparation for his second U.S. appearance against Michael Hunter on April 8 in Washington, D.C. Photo / Miguel Salazar
To say Egis Klimas, Oleksandr Usyk’s manager and three-time BWAA Manager of the Year, was livid would be the understatement of the year.
Klimas, like the rest of the boxing world, heard on Friday that WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 knockouts) was cut in sparring, which will postpone the titanic undisputed world heavyweight championship fight on February 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Ring and IBF/WBA/WBO world heavyweight champion, Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) has been training in Spain for the fight.
When word came the fight would be off until possibly sometime in the summer, Klimas exploded.
“Tyson Fury is a f—ng coward who will do anything not to face Usyk, and he asked his bitch to hit him with a frying pan in his brow,” Klimas said. “You can quote me word for word for that. When the news was brought to Oleksandr, he just smiled. That is all he did. He is too mentally strong to break.
“I was waiting for this moment.”
Usyk, the agile Ukrainian southpaw, has not made any alternative plans as of yet as to what he will do for the February 17 date. Klimas was about to board a plane to Spain when he spoke briefly with The Ring.
Fury released a statement saying: “I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such superb condition. I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed. I can only apologize to everyone affected, including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners and fans as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Fury posted a picture of the cut on Frank Warren’s Queenberry Promotions X account:
FURY VS USYK STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/z7nf4Q3N70
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) February 2, 2024
The Ring’s Ryan Songalia posted the story when the news first broke.
According to Boxing News, Usyk is reportedly looking into a bout with unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs). Hrgovic, The Ring’s No. 5-rated heavyweight, is the IBF’s No. 1 contender.
A few weeks ago, Usyk spoke exclusively to The Ring about how important this fight was to him.
He was supremely confident he was going to beat “The Gypsy King.”
“I really don’t think about Tyson Fury,” he said. “I don’t look at the way he acts and what he does. Most of his opponents fell for it. I don’t. For me, I focus on how I am, and how I prepare for when I go into the ring. Me and my trainer have watched his fights. We are preparing for everything. We have to watch what he is doing. I don’t care about what Fury thinks about me. He can underestimate. He can overestimate me. I don’t care. I have my plans for him. I have advantages over him that he does not know about.
“We are going to be the ones leaning on Fury.”
Now, it looks like, Usyk will have to wait again before he gets Fury in the ring.
Joseph Santoliquito is hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito [twitter.com]