‘I’ll Believe It When I See It’: Ex-World Champion Doubts If Fury Vs Usyk Will Happen

April 18, 2024
1 month
Tyson Fury attends a press conference ahead of his bout with Oleksandr Usyk

Former super-middleweight world champion George Groves has reiterated his doubts that the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will take place.

The fight, scheduled for May 18, has already been postponed twice. It was initially set for December 23 last year, but Fury’s unexpectedly difficult outing against MMA star Francis Ngannou in October caused the first delay.

Rearranged for February 17, Fury then suffered a cut above his eye on sparring weeks before the fight was due to be held, pushing the contest back again to May 18.

After the second delay, Groves and his former rival Carl Froch both shared their suspicions over Fury’s desire to face Usyk and raised concerns about the fight ever happening.

With the fight now exactly one month away, Groves is standing by his previous position, insisting he will only believe it when both fighters are making their way to the ring in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Fury Vs. Usyk May Not Happen - 'No Guarantees, Fury Has Withdrawn Four Times'
Credit Top Rank

‘He Has Never Fancied The Usyk Fight

“I’ve said since the start – I’ll believe it when I see it,” Groves said to Betway. “I don’t think Fury has ever fancied the Usyk fight.

“He’s talking about having 10 more fights, but if he loses to Usyk how does that work? It’s a massive risk for him to fight Usyk. He’s probably really hoping that Usyk can’t take a body shot.

“When the fight got postponed after the cut, I wasn’t surprised,” he added. “It gave me the feeling that this fight will never happen. I’d be interested to know what media have paid upfront for their flights, or whether they’re holding off.”

Fury has not fought since narrowly avoiding disaster against Ngannou six months ago when, making his professional boxing debut, the Cameroonian floored the lineal and WBC champion in the third round and took him to a split decision.

It was a terrible night for the Briton, made worse when long-time rival Anthony Joshua fought Ngannou and destroyed the former UFC heavyweight champion inside two rounds. It led to renewed calls for the two British rivals to finally fight, and Groves believes that’s a fight the undefeated champion would fancy more compared to Usyk, who has twice beaten AJ.

‘Fury Would Rather Have A Bit Of Joshua’

“We saw Eddie Hearn almost say that Joshua-Fury trumps Fury-Usyk after AJ beat Ngannou. I thought to myself, I bet Fury would rather have a bit of Joshua than Usyk because he’ll see that as an easier fight,” Groves said.

“People are starting to consider that AJ beats Fury after both of their performances against Ngannou, so it would not be a surprise if Fury wants to set the record straight and fight Joshua next and leave Usyk out.

“The Saudis or the WBC aren’t going to pressure Fury to fight Usyk, so maybe he’s thinking he will go down the Ngannou route again, or fight Joshua.

“That’s the fight everyone really wants to see. I don’t believe if he pulls out he’s going to have to pay a $10 million fine. ‘Usyk is probably thinking ‘I don’t know if this guy is going to show up’ because there’s still a chance Fury pulls out.”

Despite Groves’ doubts, Fury held a press conference in his hometown of Morcombe recently where he looked in far better physical shape than his bout with Ngannou, suggesting that the ‘Gypsy King’ is in full camp mode for Usyk.