Bob Arum and Frank Warren are awaiting an offer from investors in Saudi Arabia who they believe want to bring the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title fight to that country sometime this spring.
If that offer either never comes or is deemed unacceptable, Arum has informed BoxingScene.com that their backup plan is to bring Fury-Usyk to Wembley Stadium in London. A record crowd of approximately 94,000 assembled for Fury’s sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte on April 23 at Wembley Stadium, but Usyk is willing to fight Fury there.
The unbeaten Ukrainian southpaw challenged Anthony Joshua for the British superstar’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts in September 2021 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Usyk upset Joshua by unanimous decision in that 12-round bout and edged him by split decision in their 12-round rematch, which occurred August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Everybody agreed that if [Saudi Arabia’s] offer comes through and it’s real, that’s how we’ll go,” Arum, whose company co-promotes Fury with Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. “If not, we’ll do the fight at Wembley.”
A bout between Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs), of Morecambe, England, and Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), of Simferopol, Ukraine, would determine boxing’s first fully unified champion of the four-belt era.
“The fighters have agreed to fight,” Arum said. “I spoke to Frank Warren. We’re giving them until [this] week to come with their offer, which I believe we’ll get. If we don’t, then we’re gonna do the fight at Wembley. And then we’d have to talk about the percentages because Usyk wants 50-50. That’s not right if the fight’s at Wembley because there will be 95,000 Brits at the fight and big Brit pay-per-view money, so Tyson deserves the lion’s share.
“But we don’t get to that point if the [investors in Saudi Arabia] come through, because the way they operate is they make deals with each of the fighters. We’ve been led to believe that they’re going to come with a proposal [this] week. I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’s not like they haven’t come through in the past.”
Saudi investors paid plenty to bring the Usyk-Joshua rematch to their country last summer. They facilitated that deal with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs).
His second defeat to Usyk came in Joshua’s second fight on Saudi soil. The former champion regained his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts by out-pointing Andy Ruiz Jr. in their immediate rematch, which took place in December 2019 at a makeshift venue in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.