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JEFF POWELL: Tyson Fury’s undisputed heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk being postponed leaves a huge £158m hole… but there is NO CHANCE the Gypsy King is running scared

  • Tyson Fury’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk has been postponed due to a cut
  • Fury suffered the cut in sparring, and the fight will need to be rescheduled
  • Some may believe Fury is running scared, but he has never ducked a challenge 

Eyebrows will be raised in some quarters as sharply as the cut which has forced the postponement of the Gypsy King’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh for the undisputed world heavyweight championship.

This gaping gash above Fury’s right eye has also blown a $200m (£158m) hole in the richest prizefight in boxing history.

This grievous disappointment comes against a background of inaccurate speculation that Fury has been knocked heavily down in sparring while still in the flabby shape which saw him floored by UFC legend Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia before scraping the narrowest of decisions.

But it is inconceivable that Fury would somehow invite such a wound in order to delay this stratospheric promotion.

The comparative silence from his training camp – rather than the usual bear-baiting bluster – indicates that he has been training to the limit for the February 17 blockbuster in the desert.

WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT 

This is the nasty laceration above Tyson Fury's right eye which has postponed his next fight

This is the nasty laceration above Tyson Fury’s right eye which has postponed his next fight

Fury had been getting himself into prime condition, but the fight will now need to be rescheduled

Fury had been getting himself into prime condition, but the fight will now need to be rescheduled

The cut happened in sparring, even though Fury appeared to be wearing a headguard

The cut happened in sparring, even though Fury appeared to be wearing a headguard

The return of leanness to his features support the defence that at 35 he has worked himself close to the prime condition of old.

It is also nonsense to suggest that he is running scared of the Ukrainian who holds the three other heavyweight belts he wants to add to his WBC title.

Tyson is a born to fight traveller with no history or question of ducking a challenge. Even if he were to accept that former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk, despite being the smaller man, is the more technically gifted.

Above all, why would he expose a purse reportedly north of $50 million to the risks inherent in trying to rearrange such an enormous occasion for a later date? There is many a slip between cut and lip and this huge piece of business has already been years in the making.

Some may feel Fury is running scared, but he has never ducked a challenge, and why would he walk away from a huge payday?

Some may feel Fury is running scared, but he has never ducked a challenge, and why would he walk away from a huge payday?

WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT 

However, it is a concern that Fury has suffered a cut on the same eye that he needed 47 stitches in following his fight with Otto Wallin in 2019

However, it is a concern that Fury has suffered a cut on the same eye that he needed 47 stitches in following his fight with Otto Wallin in 2019

What is of concern is that the 15 stitches apparently required after an accidental clash of heads, follow into that same eyebrow after the 47 needed after his bloody title fight with Sweden’s Otto Wallin.

If there is a permanent weakness in that area now it is difficult to calculate how long the healing process will take this time.

For sure he will not be fully recovered before Anthony Joshua takes his turn in Riyadh, against Ngannou, on March 8.

Meanwhile, Fury has this to say: ‘I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight so long and being in such superb condition.

‘I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed.

‘I can only apologise to everyone affected including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners, and fans as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’

Frank Warren's Queensbury Promotions has vowed to reschedule the bout once Fury's cut has healed

Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions has vowed to reschedule the bout once Fury’s cut has healed

A Queensbury Promotions statement read: ‘The cut, which opened above Fury’s right eye, required urgent medical attention and significant stitching, and will obviously require a period of recovery, scuppering any possibility of the fight with Usyk taking place on February 17 in Saudi Arabia.’

A spokesperson added: ‘Whilst this is still breaking news it is clearly a massive disappointment, after the work that has been done by so many people to finally deliver this historic event to the world. 

‘Once the doctors have appraised Tyson’s eye, we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed. 

‘Once known we will work diligently with all the stakeholders and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reschedule this fight as soon as possible and will of course keep everyone updated with developments.’

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