By: Sean Crose
“He’s on hold pending the outcome of the Usyk fight with Joshua,” promoter Bob Arum told FightHype of his fighter, WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. There have been many questions regarding the towering Englishman since his destruction of longtime contender Dillian Whyte last spring in the UK. Fury has said he’s retired, but then has suggested that he might return. As always with Fury, nothing is set in stone. Even the rumor that Fury isn’t allowed to return to the United States because of his connection to reputed crime boss Daniel Kinahan hasn’t been verified.
“I’ve heard the same thing,” said Arum, “that they can’t get into the United States because of the Kinahan situation, but again, I’m told that may not be case.” Arum went on to make it clear that he believes Fury would feel unsatisfied if he never fought the winner of Usyk-Joshua 2, which goes down later this month. The winner, after all, will be all that stands between Fury and the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. Fury has the WBC and lineal belt, but Usyk presently holds the IBF, WBA, and WBO belts – belts he won off of, and might subsequently lose to – Joshua.
“I think he (Fury) doesn’t want to leave that unfinished,” said Arum, referring to the task of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion. “But again, that’s up to him and I haven’t pressed him…we will once the Usyk-Joshua fight has happened.” There was talk of a future undisputed heavyweight title bout going down in Saudi Arabia, just as Usyk-Joshua 2 will be in a few weeks. Saudi Arabia’s reputation as a human rights violator, though, has raised some eyebrows now that the kingdom is hosting major fights.
“Would I do a fight in Saudi Arabia?” Arum asked rhetorically. “Yeah, I’d do a fight in Saudi Arabia.” Still, Arum said he strongly disapproved of the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “I’d much rather do a fight in the UK,” he said. Fury was supposed to face Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight crown last year in Saudi Arabia. Yet an American judge stepped in and ruled that Fury must fight longtime Fury foe Deontay Wilder instead. Although Fury emerged subsequently victorious from a war with Wilder, Joshua ended up losing his titles to Usky in his next fight, proving that nothing is certain in the sport of boxing – especially as it applies to the heavyweight division.