Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk rescheduled for May 18 as new £8m fine threat issued

Tyson Fury will fight Oleksandr Usyk on May 18 (Getty Images)
Tyson Fury will fight Oleksandr Usyk on May 18 (Getty Images)

Tyson Fury undisputed heavyweight world title fight against Oleksandr Usyk has been rescheduled for May 18.

The pair had been set to take to the ring on February 17, with Fury putting his WBC belt on the line against WBA, WBO and IBF champion Usyk, in the division's first undisputed bout in 25 years.

However, it was announced on Friday that Fury had suffered a cut in sparring, requiring "significant stitching" above his eye, and the fight would be have pushed back.

There was talk that Usyk would still fight later this month, potentially defending his belts against IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic, however Saudi Arabian organisers have now confirmed that Fury will still take on the Ukrainian next.

Announcing the new date, Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia's general entertainment authority, revealed that the fighters face an £8m fine should there be another withdrawal ahead of the May bout.

“If Usyk is scared, I will call for [Anthony] Joshua vs. Tyson,” Alalshikh said. “If Tyson is scared, I will call for any fighter Usyk wants, and it’s my name on this thing. We have a guarantee from both sides, and they know it now.”

Speaking on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Fury dismissed suggestions that he was looking for a way out of the fight, taking aim at Usyk's promoter Egis Klimas.

"Egis, never call me a coward again," Fury said. "[I have] never backed down from any man in my life."

He added: "Yesterday morning sparring, arranged to spar 12 rounds with four different guys. In round five I got an elbow in the eye, been to the hospital and got 11 stitches - nothing much anything can do about [being] cut in sparring. S*** happens."

Usyk was typically calm throughout, wishing Fury a "fast recovery" and insisting he was "ready to fight for undisputed any time, anywhere".

It was confirmed again that a rematch clause is in place for Fury-Usyk, making it unlikely that Anthony Joshua is able to immediately fight the winner should he win his March bout against Francis Ngannou.

Alalshikh also made a public offer for Hrgovic to fight on Joshua's undercard, offering him Daniel Dubois, Martin Bakole, Frank Sanchez, Jarrell Miller, Agit Kabayel and Jared Anderson as opponents.