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Tyson Fury Suffers Cut in Sparring, Oleksandr Usyk Fight Postponed


The Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk fight has been delayed even further.

Tyson Fury confirmed multiple reports Friday that the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion suffered a significant cut over his right eye while sparring in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and has withdrawn from their heavyweight title unification fight scheduled for February 17. England’s Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), who posted a photo of his deep gash on social media, and Ukraine’s Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs), who owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts, were scheduled to headline a pay-per-view show two weeks from Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

Fury-Usyk could be rescheduled for as early as sometime in June in Riyadh. It is also possible, though, that Usyk will defend his titles against another opponent February 17 if Saudi Arabia’s Turki Alalshikh doesn’t cancel the card.

The long-awaited bout between Fury, 35, and Usyk, 37, is supposed to crown the first fully unified heavyweight champion of boxing’s four-belt era. Usyk could, however, fight Filip Hrgovic on February 17 in an attempt to fulfill his mandatory obligation with the IBF.

A fight with the hard-hitting Croatian contender is risky, of course, and could ruin Fury-Usyk if Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) were to defeat Usyk.

The IBF allowed Usyk to keep its title for the Fury fight, so that there would be an undisputed heavyweight champion, at least temporarily. The New Jersey-based sanctioning organization likely would’ve stripped the Fury-Usyk winner before the immediate rematch they reportedly have agreed upon.

It had not been determined at the time this story was posted if the IBF would allow Fury-Usyk to take place with its title at stake in June and make Hrgovic wait even longer for his title shot.

Fury, meanwhile, expressed disappointment in a statement released by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, Fury’s co-promoter along with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such superb condition,” Fury said. “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.”

The cut Fury suffered is in the same area as the disgusting, deep laceration he sustained during the third round of his fight against Sweden’s Otto Wallin in September 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Fury fought through a cut that bled badly at times and won their 12-round bout by unanimous decision. The laceration required 47 stitches to close and plastic surgery.

It is not clear, however, if the cut Fury just sustained in sparring was in the exact same spot as the gash he suffered against Wallin.

Regardless, this was another setback for Fury, who struggled to defeat former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou in his last fight.

Fury was a 20-1 favorite entering their October 28 bout at Kingdom Arena, but Ngannou nailed him with a left hook that stunningly sent Fury to the canvas in the final minute of the third round. Fury got to his feet and did enough during the ensuing seven rounds to win their 10-round, non-title fight by split decision.

The 6-foot-9, 277¾-pound Fury insisted that he trained hard for Ngannou’s professional boxing debut, but he drew intense criticism for taking Ngannou lightly.  

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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