Tyson Fury has revealed his undisputed heavyweight showdown with Oleksandr Usyk is set to take place on December 23.
Fury and Usyk signed contracts last month for the eagerly-anticipated clash, which will take place in Riyadh and be the first undisputed contest in the blue riband division since Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield at Madison Square Garden in 1999 when all the belts were on the line.
At the time of the September 29 announcement from Queensberry and K2 Promotions no date for the bout was revealed, but Fury has now seemingly confirmed it will take place two days before Christmas.
Fury is currently in Riyadh preparing to face UFC fighter Francis Ngannou on Saturday, although has no concerns over the eight-week gap between this weekend’s tune-up bout and the proposed date to take on Usyk.
He told Sky Sports: “We’ve signed the contracts. December 23, that’s out there isn’t it? It’s only eight weeks away from Saturday. Why not?
“I’ve not even had a fight this year so to get two in before the end of the year would be fantastic.
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) October 24, 2023
“Double payday. There’ll be a nice big turkey in the Fury household this Christmas!
“If it happens December 23, I’ll be playing that song, ‘Driving Home For Christmas’.
“I won’t land back in the UK until Christmas Eve, late Christmas Eve and if we get a delay I’ll be spending Christmas with the reindeers in the airport!”
Fury will contest the 35th bout of his career this weekend, but his WBC title will not be on the line against Ngannou for the 10-round fight.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 25, 2023
The duo were put through their paces in Riyadh on Wednesday night with boxing novice Ngannou eager to keep his skills under wraps during a low-key open workout.
Cameroon-born Ngannou did insist he would earn the respect of the boxing community during his maiden bout in the ring this weekend.
“I was just having fun,” the UFC heavyweight champion reflected.
“I almost wanted to just dance and then I realised I would show them my dance skills and I was like nah. I don’t have any. No, just a little but not too much.
“Let’s be honest I haven’t gained any respect from the boxing community. I am not expecting anyone to respect me, I need to claim my respect.
“Respect is not given. You can’t demand people to respect you. Respect is earned and I will earn my respect.”
Fury did get a sweat on with trainer SugarHill Steward, although also had plenty of fun with flexing of his muscles before he got his whole team, including Joseph Parker and brother Tommy Fury, in the ring for a picture.
“I am absolutely fantastic,” he said. “What a place. I am having fun in there. It is what it is all about. Heavyweight champion of world, in his element, having fun, in Saudi Arabia, in the heat, it doesn’t get any better.
“I was enjoying myself. We are here for fight week, I am all rested, all energised, all ready to rock and roll. I feel like I have rewind the clock back to my earlier days.
“Nineteen stone can you believe that? And 6ft 9 and moving like that. Wow, that’s shocking. It is not fair is it really? He (Ngannou) is the bull, I am the matador. 99.99 per cent of the time, the matador wins.”
Undefeated Fury then proceeded to take his top off and accuse Ngannou, 37, of being “embarrassed” of his own body.
“I think he is a big, fat sausage,” Fury insisted. “Look at the shape I’m in? I’m ripped, I’m an Adonis and I’m ready for a fight.”