How close are we to having Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, a full four-belt heavyweight unification clash? That depends on who you ask and when you ask them.
Fury co-promoter Bob Arum recently expressed his optimism to iD Boxing, pointing out that there’s already a date and a venue for the mega-event.
“The date is pretty well set, it’s the last Saturday in April,” Arum said. “We’re looking to put the fight at Wembley Stadium and we’re getting close with the negotiations. Hopefully, we can get busy on that fight as early as next week and get the thing going.”
Rumors had the big fight originally targeted for Saudi Arabia, but Arum says that idea is now a no-go, despite the huge money that could’ve been involved from the Saudi side.
“The real money from the fight, which will be the UK gate, the pay-per-view, the American pay-per-view, and the other revenue from foreign sales, will be very, very big,” Arum replied. “But it pales by comparison to the Saudi money, but the Saudi money is not realistic because Saudi Arabia is not available to do that fight in the time period that is required by the organizations.”
Despite Arum’s general optimism, Usyk’s side had recently talked about some money issues that may get in the way of a smooth negotiations process, notably Team Usyk’s insistence on a 50-50 money split.
“I can’t really say anything in particular because we’re in the middle of negotiations,” Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told BoxingScene.
“But I can say for sure if it’s a fair deal when it comes to the unification– which is the undisputed unification, where one fighter [Usyk] has three belts and the other [Fury] has one belt– a 50-50 split sounds fair….It sounds more fair than it should be.
“If Tyson accepts this fair condition, it means he’s a real warrior and he really wants to fight not just for money but for heritage…For legacy and for four belts in the biggest fight in heavyweight history at Wembley Stadium.
“…it has to be fair. As long as I’m representing Usyk, I will fight for fair conditions.”
Arum has taken umbrage with Krassyuk’s demand and, most of all, the way he’s gone about negotiating in the press.
“I like Alexander,” Arum told iD Boxing. “He’s a nice guy and he’s Ukranian– I love the Ukraine, I love the Ukrainians– but he should shut up and not negotiate in the press. I will not negotiate this fight in the press, even a little. The negotiations have to be behind the scenes.
“The Usyk people, I know his manager Egis Klimas. We have a lot of fighters that he manages that we promote. Terrific guy, very sensible. We can come to an understanding with him and Tyson. So, I’m not going to talk about percentages or statements because, once you start negotiating in the press, it all falls apart, because, then, the ego of people come to the fore and that trumps common sense. Let it [negotiations] be behind the scenes. I’m sure we’ll put it together and hopefully have an announcement shortly. I am very optimistic because of who we’re dealing with and the kind of caliber of people they are that we’ll be able to put this fight to bed.”
As for what happens if Fury-Usyk doesn’t get made? The Hall of Fame promoter is so convinced that a deal can be reached between the two heavyweight champs that he won’t even consider any alternative opponents for Fury right now.
“I don’t even want to talk about other possibilities,” Arum said, “because I’m so optimistic that Fury and Usyk will happen and will happen the last Saturday in April.”