Oleksandr Usyk has set a firm deadline for his undisputed heavyweight title clash with Tyson Fury, with the Ukrainian's manager declaring it must happen by March 4.
The heavyweight duo hold all of the belts in their division, with Fury having the WBC title while Usyk is the WBA super, WBO and IBF champion. He also holds The Ring Magazine 's ceremonial title that indicates the No.1 heavyweight in the world, as well as the considerably less prestigious IBO world title.
There hasn't been an undisputed champion at heavyweight since the WBO belt began to be recognised as a major title and the four-belt era began. Lennox Lewis was the last to be undisputed in the division back at the turn of the millennium, and nobody has been able to win them all since.
Usyk's manager Alex Krassyuk took to Instagram to share his fighter's deadline, responding to fan asking for an update on the fight by telling them that "Both parties agreed to fight." He added: "Should happen no later than March 4. Location: Any place in the Universe." In response to a later question, Krassyuk said that "the sooner the better" is their stance on when the fight should happen.
Fury claimed after his trilogy fight with Derek Chisora back in December that he was considering getting surgery on his elbow, which would delay the fight past that March date. But Krassyuk claims that he is fine, telling another fan that "according to our knowledge, Tyson Fury is safe and sound."
The fight is likely to happen in Saudi Arabia after Usyk's last bout there when he faced Anthony Joshua in a contractually obligated rematch. Officials in the Middle East are keen to make the undisputed fight happen on their soil, and last year even attempted to pay off both men's contractually obligated opponents Dillian Whyte and Joshua with step aside money in the millions.
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However, Fury is also a massive draw in his home nation, selling hundreds of thousands of tickets within the last 12 months between his two stadium fights against Whyte and Chisora and his nationwide speaking tour. Asked where the bout would take place, Krassyuk responded "If Saudi want to grab it - they have to be faster. Otherwise it will land elsewhere (i.e. Emirates, Qatar or UK)."
Fury and Usyk came head-to-head at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after he stopped Chisora, who took the Ukrainian the distance. Usyk opted to remain stoic, but claims he understood the entirety of Fury's foul-mouthed and abusive rant as they squared off at ringside.
The Brit went on an incredible rant, telling his rival: "Usyk, you’re next you little b****. You are next. Me and you next. You’re next. Rabbit! P****! 15-stone little midget bodybuilder. Well, I ain’t a bodybuilder, I’m going to write you off. You ugly little man. Let's get it on, b****. You may laugh now but I’ll end this lil' sucker. I’ll end you. You little sucker. What are you gonna do? You’re gonna do f*** all, you little sausage."