Tyson Fury feels optimistic about the probability of facing Oleksandr Usyk next if he defeats Dereck Chisora on Saturday night and leaves the ring unscathed.
The undefeated Usyk is expected to watch Fury-Chisora III from a ringside seat at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Bob Arum and Frank Warren, Fury’s co-promoters, have consistently stated in recent weeks that they’re confident Fury-Usyk will be put together soon after the heavily favored Fury defeats Chisora.
Fury would’ve preferred to fight Ukraine’s Usyk on Saturday night, but the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion preferred to wait until sometime early next year to face Fury in a full title unification fight. Manchester’s Fury thinks the 35-year-old Usyk is serious about boxing him next, but the unbeaten WBC champion wants to fight three times in 2023 and made it clear he won’t wait too long for an Usyk fight to materialize after Saturday night.
Usyk last fought August 20, when the former undisputed cruiserweight champion defeated Anthony Joshua by split decision in their 12-round rematch at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“I think that they’re looking to fight me, provided I win the fight, which is not a foregone conclusion,” Fury told BoxingScene.com. “They were offered a hell of a lot of money to fight on December the 3rd, and they didn’t wanna take it for whatever reason. It’s none of my business. However, I can’t live my life for somebody else. You know, I can only do what I can do in my life. And I can’t be waiting around. I’m 34. I’m not 22. I have to be quick on my actions and if I’m gonna get [busy] in this sport, then I wanna get the fights in thick and fast, rather than waiting and waiting and waiting for something that might not happen.”
Choosing Chisora after failing to finalize fights with Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) and later Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) has drawn intense criticism from fans and media. Fury doesn’t understand the backlash because he feels his team truly attempted to make the bigger, more meaningful fights first.
The 34-year-old Fury also wanted to capitalize on his newfound superstardom in his home country.
After attracting a record capacity crowd of approximately 94,000 to Wembley Stadium in London for his sixth-round knockout of London’s Dillian Whyte on April 23, more than 60,000 tickets have been sold to the card headlined by Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) and Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs).
“It was said to me, ‘Why didn’t you wait till next year to fight Usyk?’ Because nothing’s guaranteed in this life, especially not next year,” Fury said. “Tomorrow ain’t guaranteed, so I can’t vouch for next year, either. You know, so I strike while the iron’s hot and I can do what’s best for me and my career and not what’s best for anybody else and their careers. I wanna stay busy. Frank Warren’s delivered me a massive show, and we’re gonna have a hell of a spectacle yet again.”
Fury and Chisora will headline a BT Sport Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland (6 p.m. GMT; £26.95). ESPN+ will stream Fury-Chisora III as the main event of a fight-fight card in the United States (1 p.m. ET; 10 a.m. PT).
Fury doesn’t have a deadline in mind by which his showdown with Usyk must be finalized. Arum informed BoxingScene.com recently, though, that if their fight is brought somewhere in the Middle East that it’ll have to take place prior to the start of Ramadan, which will begin March 22 and end April 21.
“I’m not too sure,” Fury said. “I don’t get involved in all of that sort of stuff when I’ve got a fight coming up. I can only just go in there and win on Saturday night, and what will be will be. I might get a massive cut. I might get an injury, whatever. I don’t know. So, I can’t count these chickens before they hatch. Nothing’s guaranteed, so what will be will be. And if it’s God’s will for me to go fight Usyk in Saudi Arabia next year and fight for the undisputed title and win it, then it will happen. But if it’s not, then it won’t and I won’t cry over spilled milk. And I’ll go on with me career and me life.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.