The proposed undisputed heavyweight championship fight next month between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury at Wembley Stadium in London is in jeopardy as the fighters continue to haggle over deal points beyond the 70-30 split in favor of Fury for the net revenue, sources told ESPN.
Usyk has shut down his training camp, according to sources, and will regroup with his team to plot his next fight. The 36-year-old Ukrainian holds the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles while Fury is the WBC champion.
Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, and Usyk’s promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, discussed the stalled negotiations during a joint radio interview Wednesday on Talksport. Warren said he received an email Tuesday from Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, that stated “Team Usyk is out of further negotiations.”
“The fight is called off,” Krassyuk said. “The reason for that is it went too far. There was a feeling that after Usyk accepted 70-30, Tyson Fury started thinking that he could put a saddle around his neck and start riding Usyk as much as he can. It’s not right. I mean, Usyk accepted the 70-30 split as a courtesy.
” … If it’s so complicated that Tyson tries to avoid it by putting so many obstacles in front while making the deal then there’s no need to put more effort in and we just go our way. … There was a list of things [Fury] wanted to get in his favor that was absolutely unacceptable, which were completely disrespectful to the unified [heavyweight] champion and former undisputed [cruiserweight] champion.”
Warren, however, said the sides ironed out all the issues Sunday except for the split of net revenue in the rematch. According to sources, the sides agreed to a bilateral rematch clause that the loser could trigger. Usyk’s side pushed for the same 70-30 split, but in his favor, for a return bout in the United Kingdom should he defeat Fury.
Fury asked for a 50-50 split in the U.K., where he’s a major star, if he suffered his first professional defeat, sources said. When Usyk signed to fight Anthony Joshua in September 2021 in London — a fight he won to capture three heavyweight titles — the rematch clause that Joshua went on to exercise included a 50-50 split, according to sources.
The rematch clause issue only pertains to a return bout in the U.K. If the rematch took place in the Middle East, where sizable site fees are the norm for big boxing events, each side would do its own deal. Usyk and Joshua ended up in Saudi Arabia for their August 2022 rematch, which Usyk also won via decision. Fury and Usyk were in talks with officials from Saudi Arabia before they turned their attention to the U.K.
Last week, Fury posted a video on Twitter with a message to Usyk: “How about there is no rematch clause for both of us? … Never worry about what’s in the future or how many more dollars you can get after you’ve been defeated. Worry about the fight. No rematch clause. Winner takes the glory, the loser goes home. How about that? Agree to that.”
Usyk quickly responded: “Greedy Belly … the clause comes from your side, not mine. Stop whining and ducking. Be a man. Ink the contract or vacate the belt. I need undisputed — and not to play your stupid games.”
That was three days after representatives for both Fury and Usyk informed WBA president Gilberto Mendoza that a tentative agreement was reached hours before the 5 p.m. ET deadline on March 10 to hold off the order for an Usyk-Dubois bout that would spoil plans. Three mandatory challengers are waiting for their shot at Usyk, but England’s Daniel Dubois is up first in the rotation system used for boxing’s unified champions.
The WBA then set an April 1 deadline for signed contracts to be received. Now, the WBA is poised to order a fight between Usyk and Dubois unless a last-ditch effort can be made to salvage a fight against Fury.
“Rematch clauses can be very difficult, and Tyson’s been there before when a rematch blocked a fight with him and Anthony Joshua when Deontay Wilder took him to court,” Warren said, referring to the arbitration ruling in 2021 that led to a third Fury-Wilder fight. “Anyway, I convinced Tyson to take the rematch [with Usyk] and he did.
“Then we got into a situation with how is the rematch money gonna be split and that’s what we’ve been working on. … Why can’t it be overcome if [Usyk] wants the fight? We want the fight, why can’t it be overcome? … There’s no reason for this fight to be off.”
Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) stayed busy in December with a 10th-round TKO of Derek Chisora to retain his heavyweight title. After Fury stopped Dillian Whyte in six rounds last April, he announced his retirement, but it lasted only four months.
Fury, 34, defeated another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, to win the unified heavyweight championship in 2015. He was out of the ring for nearly three years as he dealt with alcohol and substance abuse along with depression. During that hiatus, Fury’s weight increased to 400 pounds.
Fury returned to the ring with two wins over soft opposition before he survived two knockdowns vs. Wilder to settle for a draw in a fight most observers believed he won. Fury left no doubt in the rematch, a seventh-round TKO to win the WBC title. The trilogy fight, which Fury won via 11th-round KO, was named ESPN’s Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year for 2021.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) won the undisputed cruiserweight championship with a unanimous decision victory over Murat Gassiev in 2018 before he moved up to heavyweight in 2019. The Olympic gold medalist defeated Chisora in his second heavyweight fight before he signed for a bout with Anthony Joshua for three heavyweight titles.