Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk, billed as Ring of Fire, was a heavyweight professional boxing match contested between WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship. It was scheduled to take place on 17 February 2024 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, then postponed due to a facial injury sustained by Fury in training. It was rescheduled the next day and took place on 18 May 2024 at the same venue. Usyk won by split decision.[1]

Ring of Fire
Promotional poster of the event for DAZN
Date18 May 2024
VenueKingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Title(s) on the lineWBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
Tale of the tape
Boxer Tyson Fury Oleksandr Usyk
Nickname The Gypsy King The Cat
Hometown Manchester, England Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine
Pre-fight record 34–0–1 (24 KO) 21–0 (14 KO)
Age 35 37
Height 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 262 lb (119 kg) 223+12 lb (101 kg)
Style Orthodox Southpaw
Recognition WBC heavyweight champion WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight champion
The Ring No. 3 ranked pound for pound fighter
2-division world champion
Result
Usyk wins via 12-round split decision (115–112, 113–114, 114–113)

Background and buildup

The fight crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000, as well as the first in the four-belt era. In addition to the four sanctioned belts, special commemorative belts were made specifically for the fight on 18 May 2024. Queensbury Promotions made a special edition belt for the undisputed heavyweight. Then, the WBC also made the Fury-Usyk belt, which was blessed by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church.[2][3]

On 25 October 2023, Fury and Usyk took to social media to announce that they had signed for a bout, with a date of 23 December being reported but not officially announced. It was also reported that Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder would serve as the co-feature.[4][5] On 28 October, after Fury defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou, he demanded that the bout with Usyk must be postponed because of injuries he sustained in the fight, despite Usyk stating that they were contracted for 23 December 2023.[6] On 29 October, it was announced that the bout would take place in early 2024.[7]

On 16 November, the bout was officially announced to take place on 17 February 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a launch press conference in London.[8] The fight was officially postponed on 2 February 2024, with the idea of rescheduling for 2024 once a doctor could determine the recovery time for a cut sustained by Tyson Fury in training. Fury's promoter Queensberry Promotions confirmed the injury.[9] The whole card was rescheduled for 18 May 2024; the decision was made quickly by the event's organizer in Saudi Arabia, Turki Alalshikh.[10]

DAZN PPV covered the fight globally. Viewers in Middle East and North Africa countries could watch the event via Webook. In UK and Ireland, the fight was aired live on both PPV's Sky and TNT Sports Box Office channels. In Ukraine, the fight was streamed live on MEGOGO. In the US, the fight was streamed live via ESPN+ PPV.[11]

Fight

Fury was described by BBC Sport as showboating during the first round, during which Usyk landed a left hook.[12] The three judges all agreed that the first round was 10–9 in favour of Usyk.[13] In the second and third round, Usyk was moving forward, while Fury was moving backwards, in a somewhat even bout.[13] Fury established momentum in the fourth round, with multiple uppercuts.[14][15] In the fifth round, Fury started moving forward and focused on punches to Usyk's body.[13] In the sixth round, Fury uppercutted Usyk's body and nose.[15] In the seventh round, Fury started dominant, but Usyk began to throw better punches to the head.[13] The three judges all agreed that the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds were 10–9 in Fury's favour.[13]

In the eighth round, Usyk landed a right punch that caused for Fury to touch his nose, then another Usyk right punch hurt Fury's right eye; Fury bled from the face at the end of the round, and this seemed to affect him in the next round.[13] In the ninth round, Usyk landed an unanswered series of 14 punches, including several overhand lefts, during which and after Fury was wobbling and stumbling around into the ring ropes, which held him up.[16][17] At this point, BBC Sport described Fury as being "seemingly out of his feet", while The Guardian reported that Fury's "eyes glazed", the "referee could have stopped the fight", and that "Fury has been down in the past but we've never seen him hurt this badly!"[13][16][17] Referee Mark Nelson registered this as a knockdown of Fury (the ninth of Fury's career), and gave Fury a standing eight count, after which the round ended.[18][19] Fury was "saved by the bell" in the ninth round, concurred Yahoo! Sports and the Associated Press.[20][21] In the tenth round, Usyk did not rush his advantage, which allowed Fury to recover, but Usyk did continue to land occasional overhand lefts.[13] The three judges all agreed that the eighth, ninth, and tenth rounds were 10–9, 10–8, and 10–9 respectively, in favour of Usyk.[13]

In the eleventh round, Usyk continued to land left hands, but Fury showed some recovery to fight back.[13][15] In the twelfth and final round, Fury came back with some right punches, and the judges recorded that he won it unanimously 10–9.[13] The fight went down to the judges' scorecards, with Usyk defeating Fury by split decision, with judge Manuel Oliver Palermo scoring it 115–112 for Usyk, judge Craig Metcalfe scoring it 114–113 for Fury, and judge Mike Fitzgerald scoring it 114–113 for Usyk.[22]

Statistics

Punches Fury Usyk
Jabs Landed 62 48
Thrown 286 147
Percentage 22% 33%
Power Landed 95 122
Thrown 210 260
Percentage 45% 47%
Total Landed 157 170
Thrown 496 407
Percentage 32% 42%
Source: Boxing Scene, CompuBox[23]

Card

Weight class vs Method Round Time Notes
Main Card (PPV)
Heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk (c) def. Tyson Fury (c) SD 12 Note 1
Cruiserweight Jai Opetaia (c) def. Mairis Briedis UD 12 Note 2
Super Featherweight Anthony Cacace (c) def. Joe Cordina (c) TKO 8 (12) 0:39 Note 3
Heavyweight Agit Kabayel def. Frank Sanchez KO 7 (12) 2:29
Heavyweight Moses Itauma def. Ilja Mezencev TKO 2 (10) 0:50
Lightweight Mark Chamberlain def. Joshua Oluwaseum Wahab TKO 1 (12) 2:42
Cruiserweight Robin Sirwan Safar def. Sergey Kovalev UD 10
Cruiserweight David Nyika def. Michael Seitz TKO 4 (10) 2:45
Light-Heavyweight Daniel Lupin def. Octavio Pudivitr KO 1 (10) 1:47
Featherweight Isaac Lowe def. Hasibullah Ahmadi PTS 10

^Note 1 For WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
^Note 2 For The Ring and vacant IBF cruiserweight titles
^Note 3 For IBF and IBO super-featherweight titles

Main event official scorecard

Middle East Professional Boxing Commission
Official score card
Title: WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles   Referee: Mark Nelson   Supervisor: Jose Mohan
Date: 18 May 2024 Venue: Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Promoter:
Fury vs. Usyk Fury vs. Usyk Fury vs. Usyk
RS TS Rd TS RS RS TS Rd TS RS RS TS Rd TS RS
9 1 10   9 1 10   9 1 10
10 19 2 19 9 10 19 2 19 9 9 18 2 20 10
9 28 3 29 10 9 28 3 29 10 10 28 3 29 9
9 37 4 39 10 10 38 4 38 9 10 38 4 38 9
10 47 5 48 9 10 48 5 47 9 10 48 5 38 9
10 57 6 57 9 10 58 6 56 9 10 58 6 56 9
10 67 7 66 9 10 68 7 65 9 10 68 7 65 9
9 76 8 76 10 9 77 8 75 10 9 77 8 75 10
8 84 9 86 10 8 85 9 85 10 8 85 9 85 10
9 93 10 96 10 9 94 10 95 10 9 94 10 95 10
9 102 11 106 10 10 104 11 104 9 9 103 11 105 10
10 112 12 115 9 10 114 12 113 9 10 113 12 114 9
FINAL SCORE 112 115 FINAL SCORE   FINAL SCORE 114 113 FINAL SCORE   FINAL SCORE 113 114 FINAL SCORE
Lost Won Won Lost Lost Won
Judge: Manuel Oliver Palermo Judge: Craig Metcalfe Judge: Mike Fitzgerald
Suspensions: none Point deductions: none Decision: Usyk won via split decision

Source: Yahoo! Sports[24]

Aftermath

Usyk broke down in tears in the ring after his victory was announced and dedicated it to his family, his team, and the people of Ukraine.[25] After the fight, Fury commented: "I believe he won a few of the rounds but I won the majority of them … His country's at war, so people are siding with the country at war, but make no mistake, I won that fight … I'll be back. I've got a rematch clause."[21] Fury raised the possibility of a rematch "in October", and eventually declared: "Happy New Year!"[26] Usyk responded to Fury, stating, "If he wants, I'm ready for a rematch."[27] Usyk suffered a suspected broken jaw from the bout and went to the hospital after his press conference.[28] Although, Usyk did not break his jaw. Fury was given a 1 week medical suspension following the fight.[29]

In its next update of the rankings, The Ring returned Usyk to the No.1 spot in the pound-for-pound rankings, which he had previously lost to Terence Crawford on 29 July.[30]

Along with Usyk's team, a few commentators, like TNT Sports' David Haye,[31] felt Usyk was robbed by the referee of a win by technical knockout in the ninth round.[32] Usyk's win made him the first new undisputed heavyweight champion in 24 years. Lennox Lewis held the title for five months after he defeated Evander Holyfield in November 1999.[33] In a post-match analysis, analysts wrote that Usyk's hall of fame case is "beyond cemented" and that he is an all-time great after his win.[34][35] Two-division undisputed champion Terence Crawford, ESPN's top-ranked pound for pound boxer, declared Usyk a candidate for the No. 1 position.[36] The tentatively scheduled rematch is set for 12 October 2024.[37]

Main event unofficial scorecards

Agency Writer(s) Scorecard Winner Reference
1 The Guardian Bryan Graham 116–111 Usyk [38]
2 The Sporting News Dom Farrell 114–113 Usyk [39]
3 Indy Sport Alex Pattle and Jack Rathborn 115–112 Usyk [40]
4 ESPN Mike Coppinger 115–112 Usyk [41]
5 Bad Left Hook Patrick L. Stumberg 116–111 Usyk [42]
6 Fight Freaks Dan Rafael 115–112 Usyk [43]
Total: Usyk 6, Fury 0

Financial details

The event reportedly sold over 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, mostly in the UK, and this generated over $50 million. The event also made $40 million in advertising and $3 million gate at the arena. However, according to ESPN, the revenue failed to cover total expenses.[44] At least 20 million people watched the fight through piracy streams. Of those 20 million, approximately 45% were from the mainland Europe and 18% were from the UK. The financial loss from illegal streaming is estimated to be around $120 million.[45][46]

The total purse is reported to be worth around $150 million (£116 million), with Fury being guaranteed 70% of the purse, or £81.2 million (around $105 million). Usyk reportedly secured $45 million.[47][48][49] With the UK tax rate in place for Fury, he will henceforth contribute a minimum of £45 million of his purse to the British government.[50]

Rematch

On 29 May, Turki Alalshikh announced that the rematch is scheduled to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 21 December.[51]

References

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  3. ^ "New 'Undisputed' Belt Revealed for Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk Boxing Fight". si.com. 6 February 2024.
  4. ^ Ellis, Jordan (23 October 2023). "'They want a mega card' – Anthony Joshua claims he could fight Deontay Wilder on same night as Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk in April". talkSport.
  5. ^ Sessions, George (25 October 2023). "Tyson Fury reveals December date for Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title fight". The Independent.
  6. ^ Majendie, Matt (30 October 2023). "Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk showdown DELAYED after punishing Francis Ngannou fight". Evening Standard.
  7. ^ Broadbent, Rick (29 October 2023). "Tyson Fury fight with Oleksandr Usyk delayed until 2024". The Times.
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