Watch: John Fury headbutts member of Oleksandr Usyk’s team and splits his own head open

John Fury bleeding from his forehead
John Fury was left bleeding from his forehead - PA/Nick Potts

Tyson Fury’s father was left bleeding from his forehead after he butted a member of the Oleksandr Usyk camp ahead of the boxers’  undisputed world heavyweight showdown in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Security staff had to intervene as the ugly scenes unfolded at the hotel where media events were being launched for fight week, which will culminate in a contest for a reported £116 million purse.

John Fury, the British boxer’s 59-year-old father, traded insults with members of Usyk’s team before thrusting his forehead towards one of their number, Stanislav Stepchuk (watch video below).

Fury Snr then walked away wounded as insults continued to be exchanged.

Usyk and his promoter, Alex Krassyuk, called for calm as tempers threatened to boil over.

“It was bad behaviour from the Fury team,” Usyk told DAZN boxing’s The Stomping Ground, before insisting that the incident would not affect him when the time came for him to climb through the ropes. “My focus is the fight, the problem came from the team of Fury.”

The altercation occurred after the two fighters’ entourages began chanting across the floor from each other – “Usyk, Usyk” from one side, and “Fury, Fury” from 25 metres away. The unsavoury episode was witnessed by more than 100 journalists and dozens of film crews, who were there to record hours of interviews.

Fury snr, who was left with blood streaming down his face, shouted “Furys never run” and “let’s go, let’s f------ go”.

After having his cut cleaned and donning a “Fury v Usyk” baseball-style cap, John Fury told Telegraph Sport: “There is always a reason for what I do. They needed to know what they are up against. They were saying things about my son, insulting him.

“They are up against it on Saturday night, they are facing the real deal and Tyson is going to do a number on him.

“What happened has happened and I respect the Ukrainians and Alex Krassyuk apologised afterwards.”

Stanislav Stepchuk - Watch: John Fury headbutts member of Oleksandr Usyk's team and splits his own head open
Stanislav Stepchuk's (right) forehead appears to have been marked following the altercation with Fury Snr - PA/Nick Potts

However, Krassyuk told journalists he wanted Fury snr to apologise for his actions. “First I thought it was one of ours who did it, and then I saw the video and it was vice versa, so I have to take my apologies back or what?” Krassyuk said.

“What should I do? It was his misbehaviour. So I think it would be proper if he brings his [apology] because this kind of behaviour does not give a good impression about us to the rest of the world.

“This is a classic sport. This is the diamond of combat sports. And people have to know that boxing is a sport of intelligent people, that’s why [he must apologise]. It’s up to him, but let the world know that we are intelligent people.”

Tyson Fury, who had been in a side room completing a broadcast interview, asked his father, ‘What happened to you, you silly c---?’ upon seeing his bloodied face, but was otherwise unperturbed by the incident.

“I didn’t see anything, I was in the room,” the boxer said. “But I’m not here for all that, I’m here to get the job done and go home and rest. They do what they do, I’ve definitely seen worse than a cut on the head.”

The incident lit a fire under the fight of the century, which features an undisputed title being put on the line for the first time in 25 years. However the brawl is not without precedent – think of the press conference dust-up at the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson press conference in New York in 2002, which caused their contest to be postponed for seven months. Tyson later admitted to biting Lewis’s leg and had to pay him nearly £270,000.

Lewis, the sport’s last undisputed heavyweight champion in 1999, went on to defeat Tyson by an eighth-round knockout in June 2002.

Fury and Usyk had been scheduled to meet in February but the Briton suffered a gash above his right eye in sparring.

Fury is putting his World Boxing Council title on the line this time, while Usyk is looking to retain the belts of the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation, International Boxing Federation and Ring Magazine.

Last October, Fury laboured to a controversial points win over Francis Ngannou but looks in the shape of his life this week.
It is understood the self-styled “Gypsy King” will earn £80 million, with Usyk’s purse believed to be £35 million.

Should Fury beat Usyk, the plan is for another contest with the Ukrainian later this summer, and then, according to his promoter Frank Warren: “We will get Tyson and Joshua in the ring in February or March 2025, although things can change very quickly.”

But Fury warned: “If AJ’s thinking he wants to fight me for the titles he’ll have to wait. Usyk and I are contracted for a rematch in September whoever wins.

“With all the money available to us for these two fights here, why would I turn down double bubble? Maybe treble bubble next year at Wembley if Joshua doesn’t get beat before then.”

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