By Declan Taylor
TYSON FURY and Oleksandr Usyk will no longer clash on December 23 because the Morecambe heavyweight ‘needs protecting from himself’ following Saturday’s scarcely believable clash with Francis Ngannou.
Usyk was ringside at the Kingdom Arena to see Fury get dropped by Ngannou before claiming a razor-thin and highly controversial split decision victory against boxing’s greatest debutant.
The plan was for Fury to take care of business without too much trouble against Ngannou and then set the wheels in motion for the undisputed clash with Usyk which had been pencilled in for December 23 back in Saudi.
In the aftermath of the fight, Fury insisted he would be ready to roll straight into that one despite the bruising encounter with Ngannou, but now his promoter Frank Warren says that will not be the case.
“It will go ahead but it will not be on the 23rd,” Warren confirmed. “It was crazy for some people to suggest that it could still go ahead on the 23rd.
“He is 35-years-old and has just done a 12-week training camp and has just been in a tough fight. He needs a break with his family, he needs to switch off and we will announce the date when we are ready. But the fight is signed. The fight will happen. It will happen early in the new year, late January or February. That will be up to Tyson, it is his body.
“Fury said in the ring that he would fight on the 23rd – and he would do it – but he needs protecting from himself and that’s my job.”
Warren also admitted that so much talk of Usyk in the build-up to Fury’s fight with Ngannou would not have helped his preparation – nor did some of his other obligations in Riyadh.
The promoter said: “I can’t say Tyson took the fight lightly but it was unfortunate that the news came out that the Usyk fight had been made. But we had to do that because once you sign a contract it leaks like a sieve.
“That wasn’t Tyson Fury in there, it was a bad day at the office. But it was a win, he won the fight through his grit and determination. Ngannou was very dangerous and strong and would give anyone a hard and tough fight.
“I’m not sure Tyson looked right – and he will be pissed off with me saying this – but I don’t think he looked right.
“It was important for him to do all the press things and the gala dinner before but he should have just popped into that, had his dinner and gone. But Ngannou and all the other fighters did the same. Hindsight is useless, it is gone and done and finished, you cannot turn back the clock.
“We all give our views and opinions but Tyson never looks for excuses. The next fight is a huge fight, for all four of the belts, and he needs to decide when that can happen.”
Ngannou, meanwhile, punched his way into the picture at heavyweight after he was virtually written off by everyone before his display on Saturday.
Now Warren says he is planning to meet Ngannou to discuss further opportunities with Queensberry Promotions.
“He has come out of this a huge star, a hero,” Warren said. “He is now in a position to be in massive fights and I will have a meeting with him and his people about working together. The rematch could end up being as big as the Usyk fight.
“I will offer him a top-level fight, he is solid, an athlete. He’ll get into the top 10 after that and based on that performance, I would give him a shot against anyone in the top 10 and I think he’d beat at least five of them right now. He’d beat Manuel Charr all day long; him and Joe Joyce would be a good fight.
“The Tyson rematch, if it happens, would be massive. It’s all about Tyson wanting to do it. He might turn round and say he’s had enough.”