Promoter Frank Warren said on Tuesday that Tyson Fury is up for a unification title fight against Oleksandr Usyk and that the bout could take place in the Middle East.
Usyk defended his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on Saturday when he defeated Anthony Joshua by a split decision 113-115, 115-113, 116-112 verdict at the King Abdullah Sports Centre Arena.
The 35-year-old Ukrainian was made to work far header by his British opponent than in their first bout in London almost a year ago but the brilliance of Usyk again shone through in Jeddah.
And in the aftermath of his latest boxing masterclass, Usyk immediately began calling out Fury, the unbeaten WBC champion, who said he was retiring from the sport after knocking out Dillian Whyte in the sixth round of their bout in April and that “no amount of money” could tempt him back.
But the 34-year-old British fighter has, not for first time in a rollercoaster career, since rowed back on his retirement plans stating in June that he was “one hundred per cent” returning to boxing.
And Warren, Fury's co-promoter, has said that the fight against Usyk will happen, with a possible date of December 17 – the day before football's World Cup final is being held in Qatar – mentioned in reports.
“Usyk’s team and the fighter said immediately after the fight he wants it. I know Tyson wants it. Myself and [US promoter] Bob Arum, we want it. It will just be how we make it work financially,” he told talkSPORT on Tuesday.
“There will be big demands from both boxers, and rightly so. This is a unique event. This is the biggest heavyweight title fight since Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier.
“It’s a huge fight because both are undefeated, all the belts are there to be won. A lot of people have a split opinion on who will win, which is great.
“This is boxing’s World Cup, our blue riband event. We will make it happen but where it takes place will be determined by finance. At the end of the day, it’s where the most money can be generated.”
Gallery: Fury beats Whyte
Derek Chisora – the London heavyweight who lost to Fury in 2011 and 2014, and who is managed by Joshua's company 258 Management – claimed that a two-fight deal had already been struck with Saudi Arabia with the winner of Usyk-Joshua then set to face Fury in the kingdom.
When asked about a possible venue, Warren added: “If it were to go to the Middle East, it makes it better because of the time of year as it won’t be so hot.
“There would be a lot of people over there because people will be over there for the World Cup. I think people will travel for this fight from the UK.
“Would it be better for us for it to go on at [London's] Wembley [Stadium]? Of course, you can imagine the atmosphere and you’d sell out immediately.
“The money these guys are talking about, it just won’t work. This is a once in a lifetime fight. This is the Thriller in Manila, this is the Rumble in the Jungle.
“This is a big fight that not just the Middle East but other parts of the world would be interested in hosting.”
Warren also said that he met with Usyk's camp “three or four weeks ago”, that talks went well and that he had just spoken to Fury who told him to “to get the fight done”.
“The good thing about this is there are no rival TV companies involved, they don’t have any promotional ties,” he added.
“The terms of the deal are really simple, it will be a 50/50 split, but it’s where we can generate the most income to make it work.”