The boxing world was left disappointed and frustrated when the negotiations for the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collapsed. The fight, which was slated for April 29 at Wembley Stadium, would have been one of the biggest events in the history of the sport, pitting the undefeated WBC champion Fury against the unified WBO, WBA and IBF champion Usyk, who had dethroned Anthony Joshua twice in 2022.
After months of back and forth talks, the two sides could not agree on the terms of the contract, especially regarding the rematch clause. Fury had demanded a 70/30 split in his favour and a two-way rematch clause, while Usyk had accepted the purse split but insisted on a one-way rematch clause in his favour. The Ukrainian also challenged Fury to donate £1 million to the Ukrainian appeal and threatened to deduct one per cent of his purse for every day he did not sign the contract.
The World Boxing Association (WBA), which had given both parties a deadline to reach an agreement before ordering Usyk to face his mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois, confirmed on Twitter that they had received confirmation from both teams that there was an agreement to make the unification fight, but they requested time to work on the contracts to close the deal. However, that time ran out and the deal fell through, leaving both fighters and their fans frustrated and angry.
Fury blamed Usyk for the collapse of the negotiations, accusing him of playing “stupid games” and being “greedy”. He also claimed that he was ready to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime, and that he did not need Usyk or his belts. He said he would move on to other options, such as facing Deontay Wilder for a fourth time or taking on Dillian Whyte or Joe Joyce.
Usyk, on the other hand, blamed Fury for being unrealistic and overpricing himself. He said that Fury did not want to fight him and was looking for excuses to avoid him. He also pointed out that he held three of the four major belts and that Fury only had one. He said he would now focus on defending his titles against Dubois, who had knocked out Joe Joyce in December 2022 to become the WBA mandatory challenger.
Fans were left wondering what could have been if Fury and Usyk had managed to settle their differences and make the fight happen. How would the styles of the two fighters have matched up? Who would have had the edge in power, speed, skill, experience and mental strength? How would the fight have played out in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley? Who would have emerged as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world?
Fury is widely regarded as one of the hardest-hitting heavyweights in history. He has 24 knockouts in his 33 wins, including a stunning seventh-round stoppage of Wilder in their second fight in February 2020. He stands at 6ft 9in and weighs around 270lbs, giving him a significant size and weight advantage over most of his opponents. He can switch stances and throw punches from different angles with both hands, making him unpredictable and dangerous.
Usyk is not known for his knockout power, but he is not a feather-fisted fighter either. He has 13 knockouts in his 20 wins, including a ninth-round knockout of Joshua in their first fight in September 2022. He stands at 6ft 3in and weighs around 220lbs, making him smaller and lighter than most heavyweights. However, he compensates for his lack of size with his speed, accuracy and timing. He can also vary his power and pace depending on the situation.
In terms of power, Fury would have had a clear edge over Usyk. He would have been able to hurt Usyk with his heavy shots and wear him down with his physicality. Usyk would have had to rely on his movement and defence to avoid getting caught by Fury’s bombs. He would also have had to land clean and crisp shots to get Fury’s respect and keep him at bay.
So Who Would Win?
So who has the edge in this historic showdown if it DOES takes place one day? Fury is the bigger man, standing at 6’9″ and weighing around 270 lbs, while Usyk is 6’3″ and around 220 lbs. Fury also has a longer reach and more experience at heavyweight. He is a masterful boxer who can switch stances, use his jab, feint, move and counter. He also has underrated power and durability, as he showed in his second fight with Wilder.
Usyk is a superb technician who relies on his speed, footwork, angles and combinations. He is a southpaw who can adapt to different styles and opponents. He also has a strong chin and a high ring IQ. He proved his mettle at heavyweight by outboxing and outworking Joshua twice, although he was hurt by some of Joshua’s punches.
The fight could be a chess match or a war, depending on how both fighters approach it. Fury could try to use his size and strength to bully Usyk, or he could try to outbox him from a distance. Usyk could try to use his movement and work rate to frustrate Fury, or he could try to get inside and land some power shots.
It is hard to pick a winner in such a close and intriguing match-up, but I would lean slightly towards Fury. I think his size and skills will give him an edge over Usyk, especially if he can hurt him early and make him respect his power. I also think Fury has more ways to win than Usyk, who might struggle to deal with Fury’s unpredictability and versatility.
My prediction is that Fury will win by a close but unanimous decision after 12 rounds of high-level boxing. It will be a great fight that will elevate both fighters’ legacy and cement Fury as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.