A deadline of April Fool’s Day is now in place for Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk to put pen to paper for their proposed undisputed heavyweight championship.
World Boxing Association (WBA) president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza declared on Sunday that a title consolidation bout is in store if the pair of unbeaten heavyweights can’t bring closure to their months-long negotiations. Fury and Usyk managed to stall the sanctioning body after submitting in writing that both sides agreed to a purse split for their proposed championship showdown but were once again pressed with a ticking clock to actually deliver the fight.
“The WBA deadline to receive signed bout contracts is April 1,” Mendoza announced Sunday morning. “Otherwise, the mandatory negotiations will be ordered (for Usyk).”
London’s Daniel Dubois (19-1, 18KOs) is the WBA ‘Regular’ heavyweight titlist whom Ukraine’s Usyk (20-0, 13KOs) will be ordered to face in the absence of a full unification bout with Fury. Usyk holds the WBA ‘Super’ heavyweight title along with the IBF and WBO belts, with mandatory title defenses attached to all three belts.
Manchester’s Fury (33-0-1, 24KOs) is the reigning WBC and lineal champion. He is currently in the voluntary title defense phase of his title reign in the absence of a WBC mandatory challenger.
Fury satisfied the WBC obligation with a sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte last April 23 at Wembley Stadium. He followed the feat with a knockout win over Derek Chisora in their third meeting last December 3 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London. The third win over Chisora also marked the third successful title defense for Fury, who has held the WBC belt since a seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder in their February 2020 rematch in Las Vegas.
Dubois and Fury are both promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. The Hall of Fame promoter also has interim WBO heavyweight titlist Joe Joyce (15-0, 14KOs), the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist and unbeaten Londoner who is due to next face Zhang Zhilei on April 15 at Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick.
Queensberry has yet to enforce Dubois’ mandatory status, primarily due to its commitment to get Fury-Usyk over the line. The targeted date is April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London, which leaves less than six weeks to announce, promote and ultimately produce the event.
A previous deadline of March 10 was issued by the WBA to deliver the fight before the sanctioning body would order the overdue Usyk-Dubois title consolidation bout. Both sides reached out to the sanctioning body just before the end-of-day deadline to declare that they agreed to a 70-30 purse split in Fury’s favor.
The stipulation has yet to make its way to a two-way signed agreement. Furthermore, far too much of the stalled negotiations have been made public which continues to cast doubt that the fight happens in late April, if even at all.
Fury recently claimed to embrace a social media blackout, vowing to spare the public any more of his obnoxious video taunts toward Usyk until an agreement was reached.
Meanwhile, Usyk claims the onus is on the Brit to bring closure to this ongoing saga.
“The points for agreement were sent to Fury’s side,” Usyk stated on Saturday through his verified social media accounts. “The deadline is set. The clock is ticking. The ball is on #Greedybelly’s side now. We did everything in our power to make it happen @Tyson_Fury.”
Usyk became a two-division titlist after outpointing Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) in their September 2021 WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. His lone title defense was a repeat win over Joshua via split decision last August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The two wins ran Usyk’s record to 9-0 in title fights spanning two weight divisions. The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist previously served as the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 2019.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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