The scheduled undisputed heavyweight title bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk has been delayed due to a surprising cut suffered by Fury during training.
In order to get ready for the fight on February 17 in Riyadh, Fury, 35, was cut during Friday’s sparring sessions at his training facility in Saudi Arabia.
Fury required “significant stitching” and “urgent medical attention” for the injury over his right eye.
In a statement, external the Briton said he was “absolutely devastated”.
Fury is the WBC champion, while Usyk, 37, of Ukraine, is the owner of the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles.
The victor, should the bout happen later, will be hailed as the first heavyweight champion to go undefeated in the four-belt era.
Fury declared that he was in “superb condition” and had been training “for so long” to take on Usyk.
“I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye is healed,” he added.
“Can’t help getting injured in sparring but what I can say was Usyk was in trouble,” he added in a subsequent Instagram post. I’m in great physical condition. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. A huge year for team GK is 2024.”
Alex Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, wrote beneath the video: “I hope you get well soon. God gave you a clue. “Brother, consider retirement.”
According to promoters Queensberry Promotions, medical professionals would have a “better idea of the recovery period needed” after evaluating the cut.
The 31-year-old Croatian Filip Hrgovic, the IBF mandatory challenger, told ESPN: “I’m prepared to take on Usyk now that Fury is injured.
“Let’s go Usyk, you owe me my mandatory shot. It’s time to finally face me.”
The bout was supposed to take place on December 23, but those preparations were derailed by Tyson Fury’s contentious victory over Francis Ngannou, a former UFC fighter, in October.
Since going professional in 2008, Fury, who was born in Morecambe, has won 34 bouts and drawn one.
After an April fight that was supposed to take place at London’s Wembley Stadium collapsed, he was previously under fire for not being able to come to terms with Usyk.