Tyson Fury has set a seven-day deadline for Oleksandr Usyk to accept their blockbuster fight – or the Gypsy King is set to retire. The Ukrainian retained his world heavyweight titles as he defeated Anthony Joshua in their hotly-anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
Usyk defeated Joshua at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia, with the Ukrainian retaining his WBA (Super), WBO, IBO and IBF world titles in front of 30,000 fans. He also took home the Ring Magazine title after it was vacated by Fury following his sudden retirement.
In a clash billed as the Rage on the Red Sea, Joshua showed aggressiveness but could not match the strategic wiliness of Usyk, who is unbeaten in his 20 professional contests. Two judges scored the fight 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk, while the third gave it to Joshua 115-113.
Following the bout, Fury took to social media to ridicule the duo as he even claimed he could defeat both Usyk and Joshua in the same night. He turned his attentions to Usyk soon after, giving prospective bidders a week to come up with a £500 million purse ahead of the potential unification of the heavyweight division.
Usyk has also insisted it is the only fight he is interested in and both sides are confident of securing a deal. Saudi Arabia is reportedly leading the race to host the fight, which would crown the first undisputed heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
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However, even the lucrative regime will struggle to meet Fury’s remarkable demand. The Brit is adamant he will settle for nothing less than a world-record purse.
In a video posted to social media, Fury said: “To all the suitors out there who want to make the fight, I’m going to give you all seven days, till September 1 to come up with the money; if not, thank you very much, it’s been a blast and I’m retired.”
The large purse requested would dwarf the £200m earned by Floyd Mayweather for his fight with Conor McGregor in 2017. The fight could reportedly go down as early as December 17 – the night before the FIFA World Cup final in Qatar – and promoter Frank Warren is confident in reaching a deal if the money is right.
“We’ve had preliminary discussions a couple of months ago and the bottom line is that now Usyk has said it’s the only fight he wants and it’s the same with Tyson,” Warren said. “The challenge is going to be meeting the financial expectations of both guys.
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“It has to be much bigger than that (Usyk v Joshua II) because you’ve got two undisputed fighters and the first time the four belts have been on the line. It’s a unique situation and what adds to it is that they are both undefeated, which is quite unusual.
“They’re not like two young kids coming up, these are guys who have been through the ringer and have done everything. Tyson trains hard all the time. He could be ready to fight in 10 weeks, there’s no doubt about that. Usyk is going to need a break now, so come winter it wouldn’t be a problem at all.
“It’s going to be all about money and about making it worthwhile for the guys. They’ve seen the money offered to the likes of golfers and so forth. This is not golf, this is much more dangerous and this is a unique sporting event, it’s sporting history.
“They’ve just done the Usyk v Joshua fight, but this is the ultimate prize in boxing – the undisputed heavyweight championship.”