The boxing world will have to wait to see the crowning of an undisputed heavyweight champion.
The pay-per-view showdown between titleholders Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, scheduled for Feb. 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been postponed after Fury suffered a cut over his right eye in sparring.
Fury’s co-promoter, Queensbury, called the injury a “freak cut” in the statement announcing the postponement.
No new date for the fight has been announced.
FURY VS USYK STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/z7nf4Q3N70
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) February 2, 2024
“The cut … 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 17th February in Saudi Arabia,” Queensbury said in the statement.
Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) suffered a massive cut in the same location as the current injury in his unanimous decision victory over Otto Wallin in September 2019, but he had no significant issues in his subsequent five fights.
He said he is gutted by the postponement.
“I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such a superb condition,” Fury said in the Queensbury statement. “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 apologize 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.”
A Queensbury spokesman said the timing of the rescheduled fight will depend on the healing process.
“Once the doctors have appraised Tyson’s eye, we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed,” the spokesman said. “Once known we will work diligently with all the stakeholders and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reschedule the fight as soon as possible and will of course keep everyone updated with developments.”
Sky Sports reported that the cut occurred during a sparring session with Croatian southpaw Agron Smakici. Video of the incident later emerged on social media.
‼️ Footage has now emerged appearing to show the moment Tyson Fury was cut by an ELBOW in sparring, causing the Oleksandr Usyk fight to be postponed… pic.twitter.com/dDy3e0Cv4o
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 2, 2024
Fury, 35, is coming off the worst performance of his career, a split decision over MMA star Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28. Ngannou was making his professional boxing debut.
The fight with Usyk was Fury’s chance to prove his poor performance was a fluke and add to his legacy by becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) has made a strong case that he’s the best heavyweight after outpointing former champ Anthony Joshua twice, in 2021 and 2022. He last fought on Aug. 26, when he got up from a knockdown to stop Daniel Dubois in nine rounds.