Oleksandr Usyk will be ringside for Tyson Fury’s clash with Derek Chisora on Saturday with his promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, saying a deal for an undisputed world heavyweight title fight is all agreed.
It has widely been reported that the plan is for a Fury-Usyk fight to take place in Saudi Arabia – probably the capital Riyadh – in February or March, but Krassyuk said that while a deal between the boxers had been agreed, the location was not yet certain.
“There is only one thing pending and that is Tyson’s fight,” Krassyuk said. “Everything else is in place and we are ready to go.
“It is very likely it is going to be Saudi but, if not, we have many options to market this fight. It is the biggest heavyweight fight of all time, probably, so it is not going to be very complicated to place it somewhere on the planet.”
It will be a happy return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for Usyk, as it was the venue for his first win over Anthony Joshua last year.
He went back to Ukraine within days of his rematch win over Joshua in Jeddah in August and has been working with his foundation helping people affected by the war in his homeland after the invasion by Russia.
On Monday, he had a meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and left Ukraine on Thursday to travel to London, with the first part of the journey having to be done by car to Poland.
“He left Saudi to go to Spain to see his family for a couple of days, then he immediately left for Ukraine because he has so much work to be done there,” Krassyuk said.
“His foundation is helping people, it is sending vehicles to the front line, they are constructing houses for people who lost their shelter. On Monday he had a meeting with President Zelenskyy, he is one of the ambassadors for the United24 Platform to raise money for helping Ukraine, so he is quite busy doing those things to help his country in this war with the Russian Federation.”
Part of Usyk’s motivation for the rematch with Joshua was to inspire fighters in his homeland.
£It was a historic event, it brought some extraordinary inspiration to soldiers and to common people, it was like a small piece of positive energy getting people together, it was an inspiring thing for Ukraine,” Krassyuk said.
“He was back in Ukraine 3-4 days after the fight, they left their kids with grandparents and went to Ukraine. He was greeted well, had a small press conference and had continuous meetings with people about what he could do to help.
“It is not like he is relaxing on a beach, he is doing a great job helping Ukraine.
“He wants to glorify his country and he wants to be a part of the victory, he is serious about it and wants to use this platform to alert the whole world to what is happening in Ukraine.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.