Tyson Fury refused to commit to exercising his rematch clause to fight Oleksandr Usyk later in 2024.

The 35-year-old sacrificed his WBC heavyweight title and his undefeated status after losing a split decision at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where in the ninth round he was almost stopped. The fight instead went to the scorecards, and Usyk, 37, became the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Fury and Usyk have agreed to fight twice in 2024, but after insisting – before he left the ring – that he had won and that he wanted a rematch in the autumn, Fury insisted at his post-fight press conference that he would consider his options instead.

“I’ve just had a fight; I’ve just come out,” he said. “I don’t want to think about having a boxing fight. I’ve been in camp seven months, don’t forget. Cut; back in camp; back in camp. It was what it was. I’m here to get paid, get laid, go home. 

“That’s exactly what I’ll do, and then we’ll regroup and we’ll talk about it. If there’s gonna be another fight soon – October or whenever it is – we’ll rock and roll Sally. 

“I’ll have a holiday, regroup, speak to the wife [Paris] and [seven] kids, and see what I wanna do. I ain’t boxing because I got no money. I’m boxing because I love it. I’m 36 in a few months, and I’ve been boxing since I’ve been a child. 

“Where does it all end? Do you have 100 fights and brain damage and a wheelchair? I’m not sure. But the one thing is, all the time I’m still loving the game – I was having fun in there; I was really enjoying myself – then I’ll continue to do it. When I can’t do that anymore, I’ll pack it up.

“We just had a fight. If you can see my face I’m pretty busted up, and he’s busted too, so we’re gonna go home, eat some food, drink a few beers, spend some family time, walk the dog, go to the tip, and me and Frank [Warren, his co-promoter] will talk what’s going to happen in the future.”

Before he had left the ring and shortly after the final bell, Fury had suggested Usyk had perhaps been the beneficiary of a kind decision from judges who sympathised with the fact that Russia had invaded Usyk's country, Ukraine.

“It’s not up to the fighters,” Fury responded when asked if he still felt that way. “One of the judges had me winning; two didn’t. It was what it was. I can’t really say too much about it.

“We put on a good fight for the fans.

“I always say it’s about getting paid and getting laid. We did that. I thank Oleksandr for the good fight. It was a close fight. I believe – I thought – I did enough, but I’m not a judge. I can’t judge a fight while I’m boxing it.

“If they would have said to me in the last round, ‘You’re down – go out and try to finish him’, I would have done that, but everyone in the corner believed we were up. All I had to do was keep boxing and doing what I was doing. 

“It was what it was. I’m not gonna cry over spilled milk. I’ve had plenty of victories and I’ve gave God the glory – I’ve had this one loss, close fight, with a good man like Usyk, and it was what it was. I tried me best in there.

“I was having a lot of fun, actually. I don’t know if it looked like it, but I was playing around; hands behind me back. I was enjoying it. He’s a good fighter, Oleksandr, and I was catching him and he was catching me and it was a good fight. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did, getting punched in the face.

“The first six rounds he maybe nicked one of the rounds, and then going forward I believe I won a few of the last ones as well. Say I won five of the first six – the next six I won a few as well. It was close – I don’t know. I tried me best and it was what it was. I come up short. One of the judges had me winning and the other two didn’t, so I can’t complain about it.

“Let me tell you – I’m very happy. In my mind I did the best I could and thought I won the fight, but it was what it was. I’m happy with the performance. Both men got paid and both are going home to their lovely wives and children, and that’s what it’s about. We put on a show for the fans. Usyk’s 37; I’m [almost] 36 years old. We’re not young kids anymore. We’re at the end of our careers and putting on brilliant fights, so I’m proud of myself. In that ninth round I was hurt and I rallied on back. That’s what the GK [Gypsy King, Fury's nickname] does. I’m just thankful that both got out the ring in one piece, and we’re on to the next one.

“I knew he was a good boxer coming into it. He didn’t surprise me. We was prepared. We was fully prepared. We had a long training camp. I believe that I was the best I could have been. I don’t think I could have done any better. Maybe if they’d have said to me, ‘You’re down’, in the last two rounds I could have went out and tried to attack him and tried to get him out of there myself. Other than that, I done the best I could. 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. [In a potential rematch] I think I’d just do a little bit more of the same, keep me defense tighter – a bit more focused – and not too much messing around, because I was having fun in there. I was playing around; I was hitting him to the body; I was hitting uppercuts to the head. I thought I was bossing the fight. I was hitting him both sides to the body. Crack, crack.”

Fury’s trainer, Sugarhill Steward, who was recruited by Fury ahead of his rematch in 2020 with Deontay Wilder, was then asked about the damaging ninth round in which his fighter was almost stopped.

“When that happened in the ninth round – obviously Tyson’s been through a lot; he’s an intelligent fighter – he’s supposed to do what he’s supposed to do,” the American trainer said. “Protect yourself; slip; dip; hold. Whatever you gotta do. 

“That’s a part of boxing. It always has to be in the game plan when you get put in a situation like that.”