Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: When is the fight, how to watch and undercard line-up

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk square off
Tyson Fury will now fight Oleksandr Usyk on May 18 - PA/Zac Goodwin

Tyson Fury’s undisputed world heavyweight title fight with Oleksandr Usyk – aka the “Ring of Fire” clash – has been rearranged for May 18.

The much-hyped encounter had originally been due to take place in Saudi Arabia in February but was postponed after the Briton suffered a “freak cut” above the eye in training.

A statement from Queensbury Promotions on X, formerly known as Twitter, read: “The undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk has been rescheduled to May 18th in Riyadh.”

Fury required medical attention after suffering the injury during a sparring session.

It is the second time his planned fight with Usyk has been delayed after an initial slot in December failed to materialise.

Why was the the fight rescheduled?

The fight was postponed from its original date on February 17 to May 18 after Fury suffered a cut above his eye in sparring caused by an elbow from Agron Smakici.

Smakici tells the story of how the dreaded cut opened up above Fury’s eye that postponed the undisputed clash.

“It was a strange day. Throughout the two weeks, I was sparring with him [Fury] we did hard sparring in the evenings but that day it was at about midday. During the spar, there was a lot of wrestling, and I also do professional wrestling so I had some good moments keeping him in the wrong positions. He was joking around, as he always does, and we were roughing
each other up on the inside.”

Leaked footage from their final sparring session together appeared to show that an elbow caused the cut but Smakici insists this was accidental. “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. So, that’s maybe why the elbow came through also. But it was a punch first of all. It was a freak accident.”

What’s at stake?

Boxing will have an undisputed heavyweight champion again after what Fury himself has called a “fight for the ages”.

Fury holds the WBC belt, which he won in 2020 when he beat Deontay Wilder. He has defended that belt three times, against Wilder, Dillian Whyte and, most recently, Derek Chisora.

Usyk has held the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles since beating Anthony Joshua in 2021. He had defended those titles twice: against Joshua and Daniel Dubois.

Both Fury and Usyk are undefeated so far in their professional boxing careers.  The winner will become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four belt era.

The last time boxing had a unified and undisputed heavyweight champion was in 2000 when Lennox Lewis held all four titles.

When is Fury v Usyk?

The undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will take place on Saturday, May 18, 2024. The fight had originally been scheduled for February 17.

Where is the fight being held?

The bout will be in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

What are they saying?

The fight in Riyadh, originally proposed for December 23 and then set for February 17, has been rescheduled for the Saudi Arabian city on May 18.

Usyk told reporters in a press conference at his training camp on Spain’s eastern coast that he had sacrificed a lot to prepare for the fight and Fury – whose cut in sparring has forced the fight to be pushed back – should take the fight more seriously.

“I sacrificed all the days that we used to spend with my family; New Year, Christmas, my birthday, the birthday of my son, the birthday of my second son, and of course the birth of my daughter,” he said.

Usyk said he would now spend two or three days at home, to hug his daughter and be with his wife, before returning to training.

He said he had been sparring in the ring when he was told about the latest postponement, and questioned Fury’s training methods.

“I’m not judging anyone, but the thing is that we have to treat this more seriously. This is a very important and well anticipated fight for the whole world,” he said. “There are certain measures taken by highly professional fighters, normally you use the head gear, using the big gloves, like 20 ounce gloves, for sparring.

“You apply Vaseline on the gloves of the sparring partners, you apply Vaseline on your mask, on your eyebrows, to avoid cuts, to avoid any kind of injuries. Because you are treating this in a different manner than a professional you are jeopardising the whole event and you behave disrespectfully to people who are involved.” Fury said that he had never before suffered a cut in sparring for a big fight.

‘You’re getting smashed to pieces, sausage’

In a press conference confirming the previous February date, Fury said of Usyk:

“I’m going to bust him up. Sausage. Ugly little man. Rabbit. Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run. You know what’s coming? You’re getting smashed to pieces, sausage. You’re fighting the best British heavyweight there’s ever been.

“You’ve beaten the rest of them, but you haven’t beaten Tyson Fury, sausage. You can never beat me. If you beat me in your dreams you better wake up and apologise. I stole that from Muhammad Ali, I apologise.

“When you sleep at night ugly man you’re going to think of me for the next eight weeks. I’m going to punch your face in. You ugly little man.”

‘A man who wears an earring can never beat Tyson Fury’

The trash talk was in full swing before Fury’s injury, with the Briton even taking aim at his opponent’s earrings.

“I know he can’t beat me, I know he can’t. A man who wears an earring can never beat Tyson Fury ever. Not a chance, no-one who wears earrings can beat him.”

Usyk responded:

“I can explain about the earrings. It’s Ukrainian warrior, Cossack. They were the people who defended my country from our enemies for many years. This is just the proof of my Cossack lineage

Fury spoke live on DAZN at Anthony Joshua’s victory over Francis Ngannou and said:

“Yeah I’m healing well, the cut is doing really well. I’m in good shape and I’m raring to go, can’t wait to get into camp.

How can I watch it in the UK?

The action is live on TNT Sports Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office.

Who is on the undercard line-up?

Jai Opetaia will have a rematch against a man he defeated to become a cruiserweight world champion, Mairis Briedis. They will fight for the vacant IBF cruiserweight championship.

Joe Cordina make a second defence of his IBF super-featherweight crown and he will fight Belfast’s IBO world champion, Anthony Cacace.

German heavyweight Agit Kabayel will face Cuban boxer Frank Sanchez and Sergey Kovalev fights Robin Sirwan Safar at cruiserweight.

Britain’s Mark Chamberlain takes on Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab at lightweight.

Isaac Lowe, who is Tyson Fury’s cousin, takes on Hasibullah Ahmadi at featherweight.

David Nyika, the 6ft 8in Kiwi cruiserweight will fight Michael Seitz and heavyweight Moses Itauma will face Ilja Mezencev.

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