Tyson Fury has promised a “fight for the ages” as his “historic” clash with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title is confirmed for February 17 in Saudi Arabia.
British star Fury will put the WBC belt on the line, along with the WBA, IBF and WBO titles held by Ukraine’s Usyk also in Riyadh.
The winner will be crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis from 1999 to 2000.
Fury, 35, and Usyk, 36, were originally expected to clash on December 23.
But Fury’s disappointing performance in a split-decision win over MMA star Francis Ngannou last month forced a delay in the highly-anticipated bout.
He was left with a swollen eye and a cut on his forehead after the controversial win against Ngannou.
Fury had already been criticized for failing to agree a deal with Usyk when a proposed meeting at Wembley in April could not be confirmed.
The pair will finally step into the ring in 2024 as Fury looks to add to his record 34 wins with one draw since turning pro in 2008.
“This is a historic event. The whole boxing world has been waiting for many, many years, and now they have this fight,” Fury’s promoter Frank Warren told reporters at a news conference in London on Thursday.
“For the first time this century, we will have an undisputed heavyweight champion.
“As a promoter I’m banging my head against the wall. But now we have the creme de la creme. These two undefeated heavyweight fighters.”
In typically combative mood at the press conference, Fury referred to his 2015 victory over fellow Ukrainian Usyk Wladimir Klitschko, which gave him the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
“I’ve already stripped a Ukrainian of all the belts and now I’m going to take them all back,” Fury said.
“Usyk is champion, I am champion. It will be a fight for the ages.”
Fury believes a win over Usyk would cement his status as one of the all-time greats.
“He’s a good boxer, slick. But I’ve seen people like him before and when they fight the big guy, they lose,” he said.
“I’m going to blow him away. You know what’s coming? You’re getting ripped apart. You’re fighting the best British heavyweight ever.
“It’s been 24 years since we had an undisputed champion. The Klitschkos were champions for about 10 years, so it’s been 14 years that the other heavyweights haven’t made it.
“I am destined to be the undisputed champion, and more than that, to cement my legacy as the number one fighter of this era.”
Usyk aims to emulate Evander Holyfield by becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion having already conquered the cruiserweight division.
He kept his cool amid Fury’s insults, which included calling him an “ugly little man” and labeling him a “rabbit” and a “sausage”.
“Yeah, I’m a little man. I’ll talk in the ring,” Usyk said. “Every time Tyson Fury talks a lot. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Fury has held the WBC belt since defeating Deontay Wilder in 2020 and has defended the title three times.
He stopped Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April 2022 and beat Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium eight months later.
Usyk, who has won all 21 of his fights, has held the WBA, IBF and WBO titles since defeating Anthony Joshua in 2021.
The Ukrainian has defended his titles twice, defeating Joshua by decision in Saudi Arabia last year and defeating Daniel Dubois in August.
Saudi Arabia has hosted several top boxing events in recent years, including Usyk’s win over Anthony Joshua in 2022.
The Gulf state has been accused of using sport to boost its international reputation after widespread criticism of its human rights record.
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