By Declan Taylor
SAUDI ARABIA are pressing ahead with a show on December 23 despite the delay on Tyson Fury’s undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk.
The two heavyweights were supposed to finally meet on December 23 to decide who is the planet’s No.1 heavyweight but, after Fury’s bruising encounter with Francis Ngannou on Saturday, that date has now been pushed back.
It has been reported that despite a contract stipulating a December 23 clash, the pair will now collide in February giving Fury more time to rest in the wake of the split decision victory over Francis Ngannou.
Fury’s clash against the boxing debutant marked the start of Riyadh Season, a six-month festival in the Saudi capital. He was then supposed to box Usyk at the midway point before their contracted rematch in March, at the very end of the event.
But Boxing News understands that Saudi are still plotting a huge, money-spinning card on December 23 to mark the middle of Riyadh Season, even though neither Fury or Usyk will feature.
It is highly likely that Ngannou’s second fight as a professional will top the bill with the likes of both Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker touted as opponents for the 37-year-old former UFC champion, who dropped Fury with a left hook in the third of their ten-rounder. High-level talks about the clash have taken place this week with an announcement expected at some point next week.
On the undercard, 20-1 heavyweight Martin Bakole is highly likely to feature once more following his fourth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam at the Kingdom Arena on Saturday night.
The Scotland-based Congolese puncher became a crowd favourite in Riyadh after making a huge impression on the Saudis, who have now requested that he boxes again on December 23.
His fellow heavyweight Moses Itauma is also expected to box again after he crushed Istvan Bernath inside a round on Saturday night. The 18-year-old prodigy is slated to box at the Copper Box on December 2 and, with all being well, will then attempt to go 8-0 in Saudi.