Oleksandr Usyk has insisted all along that he intends to fight Tyson Fury in a heavyweight championship unification bout.
In September, the WBO, WBA, IBF, and IBO titlist Usyk said he planned on taking a break until the first part of 2023 in order to allow his injuries to heal following a second consecutive decision victory against Anthony Joshua in August.
Fury ended his on-again off-again retirement this summer and forced the issue of a fight against Usyk, who preferred to do so under more optimal timing and circumstances.
Fury, meanwhile, after negotiations for a fight with Joshua never cleared the finish line, has since decided to move on to face Derek Chisora in a trilogy fight on Dec. 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Fury and Chisora faced off in 2011 and 2014. "The Gypsy King" scored a unanimous decision win in the first encounter and a 10th round stoppage win in the rematch.
Usyk beat the battle-tested veteran Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) as well in 2020 via unanimous decision in just his second fight as a heavyweight.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) sounded baffled as to why the WBC champion Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) was fighting Chisora a third time.
“At this time, at this moment, it makes me laugh about it,” Usyk told ESPN reporter Mark Kriegel through manager and translator Egis Klimas during the broadcast of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s fight against Jamaine Ortiz.
“Why is he doing this? … I think we already agreed with him to fight and now he's running and saying that I don't want to fight him … I know that [he's scared of me.]”
As much as Usyk is questioning Fury’s stay-busy fight, he knows that the Brit will present a tough challenge if they ever meet.
“He's dangerous. He's big. He's a giant. He's very smart. He knows what to do in the ring,” said Usyk. “I want to fight with him and we need to unify all of the titles.”
Klimas said a potential Usyk-Fury fight would take place either in the end of February or the beginning of March, likely in Saudi Arabia.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.