Tyson Fury has some serious reservations about the prospect of seeing himself in the ring against the likes of Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
The WBC titlist from Manchester, England, offered a dim prognosis of those compelling heavyweight matchups in a recent interview.
Fury, 35, has a long history of boondoggled talks with both Ukraine’s Usyk and London’s Joshua. Fury was in lengthy negotiations with Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship for the past year but the two sides repeatedly failed to come to terms.
At the moment, Fury is preparing for a crossover fight (using boxing rules) with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in what will mark Ngannou’s boxing debut. The Cameroonian-French native has little formal boxing experience and for that reason is a sizable underdog, according to most sports books.
“We don’t really know the reasons why Usyk didn’t take the fight in April,” Fury told Sky Sports. “I’m sure he’s got his reasons. Then we find out he signs with Skills Challenge [Promotions], the Saudi Arabia boxing people. Whatever his reasons are, I’m sure it’s to suit him and his family. It is what it is.
“I do believe that you can only do what you can do in this sport—if the fight’s available at the time you take them and if they’re not available then you can’t take them. Will we fight in the future? Hopefully. I like to, I always believed it’s an easy fight.”
Usyk himself is preparing to defend his WBO, WBA, IBF belts against mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois on Aug. 26 in Wroclaw, Poland.
Fury also expressed skepticism about a potential fight with Joshua. The last time the two were engaged in talks was late last year, when they’re so-called negotiations spilled out into the public eye, with Fury offering up one ultimatum after another.
“I fought for years and years and years me and Joshua would have fought each other and he’s not been wanting to do that challenge for years,” Fury said. “You can’t force somebody into doing something no matter how much money there is or … whatever there is on the line. You can’t force somebody to do something that they don’t want to do. Unless both parties are willing, then these fights don’t get made as we’ve seen over the years.
“In this last year, I’ve tried two or three times. It’s always not happened for whatever reason. I’m not optimistic. During the negotiations of this year, I was very optimistic. But there was a lot more stuff going on. After that, I was like, ‘It’s not happening.’ I even bet with [promoter] Frank Warren, a 10,000 pounds bet that it wouldn’t get signed and he said it would in a week, so I won the bet.”
Asked to explain why he has been unsuccessful in luring Joshua into the ring, Fury suggested their shared nationality may have something to do with it.
“I just think he’s happy losing to people not from this country,” Fury said of Joshua. “I don’t think he wants to lose to someone from this country, no matter what money is on the line. Maybe he does, but not right now, maybe in the future. We’ll see. I can’t look around the corner. We’ll see what the future holds.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.