Frank Warren has told Oleksandr Usyk to vacate his WBA belt or fight Daniel Dubois following the collapse of the potential undisputed fight on April 29.
Dubois is the current WBA 'regular' beltholder and is first in line for a crack at the ‘super’ champion Usyk, who also holds the WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.
However the WBA were willing to hold off ordering that mandatory clash when it appeared as though Fury and Usyk were on the verge of agreeing a deal to decide an undisputed world champion.
They had given a deadline of April 1 for that fight to be agreed but it is now described by Frank Warren as ‘a dead duck’ after Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas sent an email to Warren, Bob Arum and the other key parties on Tuesday instructing them to ‘put down their pencils’ as the Ukrainian had decided not to take the Fury fight.
Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk had suggested that they walked away from the negotiations after a series of unreasonable demands made by Fury. He had suggested it was as if the ‘Gypsy King’ had placed “a saddle around his neck and started riding Usyk as much as he can”.
But the sticking point in negotiations, according to Warren, was to do with the purse split for the contracted rematch only.
“Up until last Sunday we had four lawyers discussing everything and we agreed basically everything excluding one thing; the terms of the rematch,” Warren told BoxingScene.com.
“They said there was a long list of demands made by Tyson but that was the only thing we were negotiating on. No list, just one.
“They insisted on a rematch so Tyson said ‘you can have it’. With the benefit of hindsight I know that was a dead in the water situation and by then they had made up their mind to go elsewhere.
“My feeling is that he wants the fight but he wanted it in Saudi where they would chuck more money at it. I don’t think they thought Tyson would be ready for April 29 but he called their bluff and accepted that date. After that it all went lukewarm.
“I think Usyk got pissed off, in his mind the 70/30 pissed him off even though he accepted it. But Usyk doesn’t draw any pay-per-view in America, Tyson does. Fury does big numbers here at the gate on pay-per-view too.”
There is a suggestion that Usyk has decided to move on from the Fury fight in order to pursue a huge, money-spinning clash with Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia this summer. Fury-Usyk could have generated £50m-£60m given the Wembley gate, pay-per-view sales in the UK and international broadcast rights. On that basis given the 70/30 split, Usyk would have pocketed up to £18m. He could earn twice that by fighting Wilder in Saudi.
But Warren was quick to point out that if Usyk does decide to pursue that route, he would have to do so without the WBA super belt, as Dubois has to be next in line per the terms set by the sanctioning body.
After requiring surgery on the serious knee ligament injury he sustained while beating Kevin Lerena in December, Dubois is fully fit and ready to fight Usyk. Warren said: “We would look to go in May or June.
“I don’t think they believe he is ready but believe you me, Dubois is ready to go. If they think they can sidestep this fight with Fury and not fight Daniel then they are wrong.
“He’s fully fit and healthy and will be fulfilling what the WBA have asked of him. I think he will catch Usyk and knock him out.
“You can see that April 29 really was our only chance of that undisputed fight because now it’s gone these mandatories come. And when they come against Daniel, it means he either loses his belt to Daniel in a fight or he has to vacate it.”
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