BBC Sport

Oleksandr Usyk hopes his heavyweight world title fight with Tyson Fury will take place in February in Saudi Arabia.

The Ukrainian was set to fight Fury on 23 December but promoter Frank Warren said last week that is “unlikely”.

Fury secured a controversial split-decision victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in the Gulf kingdom last month.

Usyk, 36, said he was ready for the December bout but a new date could be decided next week.

Speaking to Reuters through an interpreter from his training camp in Valencia, Spain, Usyk said he would “very much like” the Fury fight to happen in February.

“I was ready to fight on the 23rd but since Fury got some injuries in the last fight, a knockdown, then probably it will be postponed to next year,” he said.

Promoter Warren told BBC Radio 5 Live after the Gypsy King’s win: “Tyson can’t be going into a camp after a tough fight like that. That’s eight weeks away.

“He needs at least a bit of time to get himself, his body, back into shape. Let it heal. Then get into a camp. It will be on early next year.”

WBC champion Fury beat Ngannou, who was making his professional boxing debut, but the Cameroonian-French fighter put him on the canvas in round three after connecting with a left hook.

WBA, WBO and IBF champion Usyk was ringside in Riyadh and, after Fury was announced a narrow winner, the two faced off in the ring.

Negotiations for a meeting between them went on for the best part of a year until it was agreed in September.

The much-anticipated fight would crown the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999 and the first of the four-belt era, and Usyk said the delay would not affect him.

“I’ll just do more technical work. Technically, nothing changes. I just have a little more time for some additional tasks, and that’s it,” he said.

“I don’t think about Fury at all – I think about myself, about my team, about my family. I don’t need to think about my opponent. I just need to be with him, fight and that’s it.

“Everything I do today – my achievements, my victories, my efforts are focused to honour my country and my family,” he said.

Usyk fought Anthony Joshua last year in Jeddah, retaining his title in a rematch of the September 2021 fight in London where he took the Briton’s belts.

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