The much-anticipated showdown to determine boxing’s undisputed heavyweight champion is finally set to take place. On Saturday, February 17, at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Lineal champion Tyson Fury will collide with WBO/IBF/WBA Unified champ Oleksandr Usyk. This historic bout will crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Dubbed as 'Ring of Fire', this epic top heavyweight event will be a centerpiece of Riyadh Season, a globally renowned winter entertainment festival, catering to fans across the globe.
In a fiery face-off at a press conference held in London on November 16, both fighters had words for each other. “Usyk, you can run, but The Gypsy King is coming to get you. This is my era, and your time is up. Your undefeated record AND your belts, they will be mine!” declared Fury. He expressed gratitude to the Saudi officials for bringing this colossal fight to fruition. “I had an amazing time here before, and I am ready to do it again. This time, The Gypsy King will return to England as the undisputed heavyweight king.”
Usyk, equally confident, stated, “I have no goal. Only the way. And my way is ‘The Undisputed.’ That is why this was the only fight for me. When that bell rings, I will bring the fire.”
His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, Chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, hailed the significance of this event within Riyadh Season. “This is history in the making, a fight the world has waited for. Now it is a reality, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is excited to be hosting this era-defining fight,” he expressed.
Frank Warren of Queensberry also conveyed appreciation, saying, “Tyson Fury taking on Oleksandr Usyk is simply the biggest fight that can be made in boxing and is what the world wants to see.” He extended gratitude to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman and His Excellency Turki Alalshikh for making this historic event possible.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum emphasized the magnitude of the bout. “Fury is an all-time great heavyweight champion, but you can never count out Usyk, a former Olympic champion who has already conquered two weight divisions.”
Fury, with an impressive record of 34-0-1 and 24 KOs, solidified his Lineal title in a thrilling trilogy against Deontay Wilder after a hiatus from the sport due to personal challenges.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) made a successful transition from the cruiserweight division, stunning Anthony Joshua and claiming the unified heavyweight titles. His victory in the Joshua rematch paved the way for his pursuit of the undisputed status in the heavyweight division.
This monumental clash promises to be a sensational event, pitting two of the greatest heavyweights of this generation against each other. The world eagerly awaits the showdown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, anticipating a historic moment in boxing.