Tyson Fury will fight Oleksandr Usyk for all four major heavyweight belts on pay-per-view Feb. 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it was announced Thursday at a news conference in London.
The winner will be the first undisputed champion since Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis a generation ago.
“Usyk, you can run, but The Gypsy King is coming to get you,” Fury said. “This is my era, and your time is up. Your undefeated record AND your belts, they will be mine! … I had an amazing time [in Riyadh] when I fought [Francis] Ngannou, and I am ready to do it again.
“This time, The Gypsy King will return to England as the undisputed heavyweight king.”
Said Usyk: “I have no goal. Only the way. And my way is ‘The Undisputed.’ That is why this was the only fight for me. When that bell rings, I will bring the fire.”
Fury and Usyk have engaged in on-and-off negotiations.
The fight appeared to be set for this past April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London but talks broke off about six weeks beforehand over terms for a potential rematch.
Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) opted to defend his three heavyweight belts (IBF, WBA and WBO) against mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois on Aug. 26 in Wroclaw, Poland. The former undisputed 200-pound champion from Ukraine won by a ninth-round knockout.
Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and Usyk then set a target date of Dec. 23. However, that was contingent on the former defeating Ngannou on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, where Fury narrowly avoided disaster. He went down in Round 3 and had to rally to win a split decision even though his opponent – an MMA star – was making his boxing debut.
That result evidently saved the Fury-Usyk showdown. We’ll finally get an undisputed heavyweight champion baring anything unforeseen.
“Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are the best heavyweights of their era, and this undisputed battle in the beautiful city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, promises to be a sensational fight and a history-making event,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum.
“Fury is an all-time great heavyweight champion, but you can never count out Usyk, a former Olympic champion who has already conquered two weight divisions.”
Said Usyk’s manager, Alex Krassyuk: “The world has finally got it! Proud of Usyk, respect to Tyson. Let the best man win and we celebrate Usyk’s second undisputed!”