WBC heavyweight champion says Usyk ‘couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding’ as he opens door to unification bout
Tyson Fury has issued an ultimatum for organisers to make the undisputed heavyweight title fight with Oleksandr Usyk “by September 1” and has demanded £500 million to come out of retirement to fight the Ukrainian.
As revealed first by Telegraph Sport on June 19, Fury has demanded half-a-billion – which would be the sport’s biggest purse ever be it pounds or dollars – to step into the ring again to defend his WBC crown which would afford the victor the opportunity of becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Usyk retained his IBF, WBA and WBO belts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday night by defeating Anthony Joshua for the second time, teeing up a unification bout against Fury if he can be tempted away from retirement.
“To all these suitors out there who want to make the fight, I’m going to give you all seven days until September 1 to come up with the money. If not, thank you very much, it’s been a blast. I’m retired,” Fury said on his social media channel.
“All offers submitted must be to my lawyer Robert Davis, in writing with proof of funds. So let the games begin.”
Negotiations are already underway, with Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, stating yesterday that Fury-Usyk will take place wherever it generates the most money and indicated that it is unlikely to be in the UK. If the contest does proceed, there are talks for it to take place in the Middle East, likely to be in mid-December when the football World Cup is reaching its climax in Qatar.
Fury added: “Everyone keeps asking about this Ukrainian guy. Are you going to come out of retirement, are you going to do this, are you going to do that? I’ve made it quite clear that I’m retired from boxing, I’m very happy doing that, but I will come back for an obscene amount of money, because it’s not Anthony Joshua – which I would have done for free in England.
“Let’s face it, it is not Anthony Joshua, it is some foreigner who no one has ever heard of. If they want to give this unknown quantity the opportunity to fight me, and give him the chance of legendary status, and try and beat me, then they’ve got to pay for that. They’ve got a week. It’s Aug 24 today.
“I have no real interest in Usyk. No one even knows his name. A pumped-up middleweight who beat AJ. It’s not my fault he battered AJ. That’s not my fault he beat him twice in a row. However, there has only ever been me.
“I can beat Usyk on a week’s training because he is a middleweight; I can put my fist straight through him. If the money is on the table I will fight Usyk and 50 men like him and I will lay waste to every one of them.”
‘This fight is purely about money… I don’t need money’
“If they want to give this unknown quantity the opportunity to fight me, and give him the chance of legendary status, and try and beat me, then they’ve got to pay for that. They’ve got a week. It’s August 24th today.”
Fury previously told Telegraph Sport: “If somebody wants to pay that – £500m – I’m sure there’s people out there with a lot more than that, then I’ll return. But until that day, kaput, I’m out. And if someone wants to waste half-a-billion, I suppose my morality will be tested.”
Fury also told talkSPORT on Wednesday: “This fight is purely about money. I’m retired. I don’t need money. I’ve got plenty of money. But if they want the Gypsy King to fight, they’ve got to pay an obscene amount of money. It’s the biggest fight in the world, and it needs to be the biggest payday in the world. Floyd Mayweather got $400m for [Manny] Pacquiao, I want £500m for Usyk.”
Assessing Saturday night’s world title fight in Jeddah between Usyk and Joshua, unbeaten 34-year-old Fury explained: “I don’t respect him [Usyk], I don’t think he’s a great fighter. I think he’s a struggling fighter and I’ve seen more excitement on a Friday night in Morecambe.
“I didn’t take anything from it. Not being disrespectful to Joshua – it is what it is – he found his level. And he’s come up wanting at [the] top level. He’s lost three of his last five fights so clearly he has come up wanting [at] a high level. But I didn’t think Usyk landed a worthwhile punch in 12 rounds, tip-tapping. He couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding. I think AJ’s legacy is in tatters at the moment. Tatters.”