Oleksandr Usyk fight with Tyson Fury off due to 'unacceptable' demands of British fighter

Heavyweight pair were set for unification bout at Wembley Stadium in April

Oleksandr Usyk after beating Anthony Joshua in their rematch at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah on August 20, 2022. PA
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The much-anticipated heavyweight unification bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury appears to be off with the Ukrainian's promoter blaming “unacceptable” demands made by the British fighter.

The duo had reportedly agreed to an April 29 fight at London's Wembley Stadium with a purse split 70-30 in Fury's favour but other terms were still to be decided.

But rumours began circulating on social media early on Wednesday and it was later confirmed by Usyk's promoter that talks had collapsed.

The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion could now seek to defend his belts against Britain's Daniel Dubois, the mandatory WBA challenger.

“The fight is called off,” promoter Alex Krassyuk told talkSPORT on Wednesday.

“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. He was so loyal and he was so willing to make this fight happen. But the fight isn’t about Tyson Fury, the fight is about the WBC belt [that Fury holds] that is pending in his collection.

“The only thing that stays in my mind, we can claim very clearly that undisputed stays our highest priority and we will do our best to make it happen in the shortest period of time, and whoever is the temporary holder of the WBC belt we will try to make it happen.”

The heavyweight division has not had an undisputed champion since 1999 when Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield – and there has never been one in the four-belt era.

Fury – who has won 31 and drawn one in his undefeated professional career – retained his WBC title in his previous bout in December after a 10th-round stoppage against Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and looked set for another London fight, this time against Usyk at Wembley.

Usyk, who defeated Anthony Joshua in their rematch in Jeddah last July and has won all 20 of his pro fights, was at ringside for Fury's victory and the pair were involved in a face-off after the bout.

“Usyk, you're next, you 15-stone little bodybuilding midget. I've done one Ukrainian, [Wladimir] Klitschko, let's get it on,” Fury told BT Sport at the time.

Like his original bout against Joshua, Usyk wanted a rematch clause for the Fury fight, which seemed to have been agreed only for a problem to arise over how the purse will be split if that second bout happens.

“If I start telling you the list of things he wanted, one, five, ten, or 15 minutes will not be enough,” added Krassyuk in the interview with talkSPORT.

“There was a list of things he wanted to get in his favour that was absolutely unacceptable, which were completely disrespectful to the unified champion and former undisputed [cruiserweight] champion.

“I cannot disclose the negotiations, it’s part of the ethics. So, if I start to go into the details, it won’t look good. Maybe, if the other party would be willing to take the decision to disclose what were the things then we can talk about it.”

Fury's promoter Frank Warren, though, remains confident that an agreement can still be reached with the only stumbling block appearing to be over the rematch clause.

"I convinced Tyson to take the rematch," said Warren. "Then we got into how the money will be split in the rematch. The rematch has become a sideshow. Why can't this be overcome if Usyk wants the fight?"

Updated: March 22, 2023, 1:38 PM