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Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undisputed rematch ruled out after major call

If the heavyweights are to engage in an instant rematch, it will not be for all the belts, per a ruling by the IBF

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Friday 06 October 2023 19:09 BST
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A rematch between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk would reportedly not be for the status of undisputed heavyweight champion, due to a key ruling by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) this week.

It was announced last week that WBC champion Fury and Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts, will box each other in Saudi Arabia – likely before the end of March.

ESPN reported this week that the contract for the fight, which is set to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in over 20 years, includes a two-way rematch clause. Therefore, the loser, whoever that may be, can ensure a second bout against the winner without having to fight a different opponent first.

However, the IBF has ruled that the winner of Fury vs Usyk must box mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic before any rematch takes place, per ESPN. Otherwise, the winner of Fury vs Usyk will be stripped of the IBF belt, and their rematch will only be for the remaining belts.

Croatian Hrgovic, who holds an unbeaten record, told ESPN: “The IBF wrote that if I won my last fight and if Usyk beat [Daniel] Dubois, the IBF would enforce my mandatory status to fight Usyk for the title.

“The IBF has now allowed Tyson Fury and Usyk to do a unification first. The winner of that fight is mandated to fight me immediately after, with no other intervening fight, so I expect to fight for the heavyweight championship early next year.

“I’m disappointed at the delay, but I will stay ready, and I won’t let it distract me from my goal of winning the title. Whether against Usyk or Fury, my time is coming.”

Ukrainian Usyk, 36, retained his titles with a stoppage win over Dubois in August, after climbing off the canvas following a controversial low blow, which many viewers believed was a legal body shot by Dubois. Dubois’s promoter Frank Warren, who also promotes Fury, lobbied for a rematch but to no avail so far.

Meanwhile, Briton Fury has not fought since December, when he retained the WBC title against Derek Chisora, whom he had already beaten twice before. Fury, 35, is set to fight former UFC champion Francis Ngannou next, facing the mixed martial artist in a boxing match in Saudi Arabia on 28 October.

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