After months of negotiations, in private and public, Tyson Fury’s fight against fellow world champion Oleksandr Usyk is off, sources to both fighters told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger on Tuesday night.
The fight was scheduled for April 29 at London’s Wembley Stadium for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
According to sources, Usyk, of Ukraine, has shut down his training camp and will look for options for his next fight.
Fury, in an Instagram video posted on March 10, called on Usyk to accept a 70-30 percentage of the cut in Fury’s favor. Fury is ranked No. 1 and Usyk No. 2 by ESPN and the winner of the fight would have become the first heavyweight undisputed champion in the four-belt era. Usyk later that day accepted the offer in an Instagram post.
“Hey greedy belly, I accept your offer, 70/30 split to fight on April 29 at Wembley,” Usyk wrote on the post.
But then on March 13, Fury said on a Twitter post that no rematch clause should be included in the deal, with Usyk again responding on Instagram that the rematch clause was Fury’s team demand, not his.
We’ve seen Fury change his mind before. It was just last year Fury claimed he was retired.
Now, with the fight against Usyk currently off and, it’s time for Fury to consider a different path. Where does he go? Here are some potential options available for Fury’s next bout, and the one after that, if he doesn’t meet Usyk next:
The quick fix: Joe Joyce or Arslanbek Makhmudov
Joe Joyce, above, is the WBO heavyweight interim champion and could be a tough opponent for Tyson Fury. Alex Livesey/Getty Images
If Fury wants to fight at Wembley Stadium on April 29 — or elsewhere this spring — he needs an opponent who can quickly sign a deal. Joyce has the same UK promoter as Fury in Queensberry Promotions and is on record saying he wants the fight.
Fury was ringside for Joyce’s 11th-round KO win over Joseph Parker in September and was left impressed.
“Joe Joyce is the second best heavyweight in the world, behind myself, and on his day who knows if he could beat me or not,” Fury said. “I think we will have to find out.”
Londoner Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs), 37, is already in training for a fight against China’s Zhilei Zhang on April 15, an event also promoted by Queensberry, which could conveniently be scrapped if Fury-Joyce is suddenly on the horizon.
Canada-based Russian Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs), 33, is with Top Rank, like Fury is in the United States, and is ranked No. 4 with the WBC after registering three wins in 2022. He is virtually unknown to UK fight fans — Joyce would be the much bigger draw in pulling in a crowd — and Makhmudov is a big puncher, so Fury may decide he is too high-risk, for low reward.
The fans’ choice: Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua, above, versus Tyson Fury in an all-British heavyweight title bout has been in the works for a long time. Francois Nel/Getty Images
Haven’t we been here before? Talks with Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs), 33, then the WBA, IBF and WBO champion, collapsed in October for them to meet in Cardiff on December 3. And that came after previous attempts to make the fight happen also failed. Both verbally agreed to face each other in 2020, and the fight was reportedly going to be worth £200 million with Saudi Arabia set to host it, but it fell through in the summer of 2021 after Wilder won a lawsuit to enforce a rematch with Fury. Then Joshua lost his belts to Usyk.
Money does matter to Fury it seems, and Joshua will now likely have to take the skinnier end of the deal to make the all-British clash a reality. If rival promotional companies can agree terms, Fury vs. Joshua can happen at Wembley in June or July. Joshua is ranked No. 5 with WBC and has been the biggest money fight available to Fury in the last five years.
After twice losing to Usyk on points, Joshua will attempt to revive his career against American Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) on April 1. But, if Joshua loses to Franklin, who pushed Dillian Whyte close in November, there is no hope of Joshua ever facing Fury in a world title fight.
The unpopular choice: Deontay Wilder
play0:50Tyson Fury wins epic clash with Deontay Wilder in trilogy match
Tyson Fury is knocked down twice in the fourth round but manages to come back and finish Deontay Wilder in Round 11 to defend his title.
Do we really need to see a fourth fight? Fury dispatched Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs), 37, inside the distance the last two times they met (2020, 2021), and most people thought Fury deserved to get the decision in their first encounter (it was scored a controversial split draw in 2018). But Fury and Wilder have the biggest mouths in boxing, which means they could talk this fight into becoming a reality. Alabama-based Wilder, No. 1 with the WBC, is looking for an opponent after knocking out Robert Helenius inside a round. Don’t write it off.
The most likely choice: Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs), 33, from California, is No. 2 with the WBC, a former world champion who holds a stoppage win over Joshua in 2019 and is in good form after dropping Luis Ortiz three times on his way to a unanimous decision win in September. Ruiz is one of the biggest names in heavyweight boxing and his fast hands will make it an intriguing matchup with Fury. As a replacement for Fury-Usyk, this isn’t a bad fight.
The fun choice: Francis Ngannou
This offers the chance for Fury to pick up a good pay day without risking his WBC world title. Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion who’s now a free agent after leaving the UFC, would attract a different market to the fight, swell the pay-per-view revenue and keep Fury’s options open for a more serious test later in the year. They squared up to each other in the ring after Fury’s KO win over Dillian Whyte in April last year and have been linked to fighting each other for a while. Ngannou has reportedly agreed on terms for the mixed-rules, non-title contest which would take place in the summer at the earliest.
The outsider: Otto Wallin
If Fury is short on options, he may consider a rematch with Wallin (25-1, 14 KOs), 32, if the US-based Swedish boxer is accommodating in his demands. They have history, a narrative is there and Fury likes rematches (Wilder, Derek Chisora). In September 2019, Wallin was supposed to be a warm-up fight for Fury’s forthcoming second encounter with Wilder. But a cut over the right eye early on in the fight unsettled Fury and there were some nervous moments as the fight unfolded in Las Vegas. Fury won on a unanimous decision, but Wallin last year insisted he deserves a rematch. It seems unlikely, unless Fury needs an opponent quickly.
The young dangerman: Jared Anderson
The American is being talked about as the future face of heavyweight boxing and Fury might consider now a good time to fight him rather than a year’s time when Anderson will be further along in his development.
Anderson, 23, from Ohio, is no novice — he is ranked No. 11 by the WBC after 13 knockouts in 13 professional fights, and has even sparred with Fury.
Top Rank promotes both fighters and might like the idea of giving their young prospect a shot and keep the title in its control. Anderson has nothing to lose, while Fury should have too much experience. Both sides could be willing if it comes to making a deal.