Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter drops major Tyson Fury replacement update with new title fight one step away

The fight could be on.

Oleksandr Usyk's promoter drops major Tyson Fury replacement update with new title fight one step away

Oleksandr Usyk could yet defend one of his world heavyweight titles in the coming months even though his fight with Tyson Fury has been postponed.

WBC champion Fury was expected to face WBA, IBF and WBO belt holder Usyk in Saudi Arabia on February 17 – in an event dubbed ‘Ring of Fire’.

However, the bout was called off on Friday after Fury sustained a cut above his right eye during a sparring session.

In a statement, Fury said he was “devastated” by the injury.

“I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed,” said Fury.

“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.”

Fury is now set to be sidelined for a number of months, leaving Usyk to assess his options.

One possibility for the Ukrainian is facing his mandatory challenger for the IBF title, Filip Hrgovic, next.

Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk told Boxing News that talks are ongoing between the two camps and is confident that the fight can be made.

“No, we are just talking,” Krassyuk said, when asked whether a fight between Usyk and Hrgovic was close to being finalised.

“His people reached out saying that Filip Hrgovic is in camp, he was getting prepared for March 8.

“He’s under contract with the Saudi people and he gave an interview to ESPN saying that he’s ready to take the challenge and fight Usyk on February 17 which is good.

“The only thing to satisfy is Hrgovic’s financial demands and the fight is on.”

Hrgovic’s next fight had looked set to be on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou on March 8.

He was originally expected to face Joseph Parker but those plans have since changed, with the New Zealander now set to fight Zhilei Zhang instead.

Filip Hrgovic is mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk's IBF title (Image: Getty)
Filip Hrgovic is mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s IBF title (Image: Getty)

Meanwhile, conspiracy theories have swirled on social media after Fury’s fight with Usyk was postponed.

They have been stoked by members of Usyk’s team, who have accused Fury of attempting the avoid facing the Ukrainian.

However, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn was quick to dismiss those conspiracy claims.

“It looks like a bad cut,” Hearn told iFL TV.

“I’ve seen in the footage that it’s an elbow or something like that. He spars with an open head guard, but he’s sparred thousands of rounds in his career.

“Even in my group chats with my mates saying, ‘That sounds fishy to me’, I’m like ‘Guys, what do you think? He’s not just going to go out and carve himself open with a knife!’.

“He’s trained a whole camp, it’s two weeks away from a monster pay day and a fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

“It’s not a hooky, it’s boxing, it happens, but it’s devastating that it happens to a fight of that magnitude.”

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