According to Bob Arum, Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, will not be defending his title this summer against Zhilei Zhang. Instead, he plans to wait until December for a highly profitable undisputed championship fight against Oleksandr Usyk, the IBF, WBA, and WBO champion, in Saudi Arabia.
Arum acknowledges that there is a lot of money in Saudi Arabia for the Fury vs. Usyk fight in December, but he does not rule out the possibility of Fury changing his mind if he feels like it.
Fury has been facing low-level opposition lately with his bouts against journeymen Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte. Consequently, it is unlikely that he will suddenly show ambition and take on a dangerous tune-up fight against Zhilei Zhang, who is known for his hard-hitting style.
“They’re waiting now, both fighters, for the end of the year, to fight each other in the Middle East because that’s where the big money is,” said Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, about Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk on ProBox TV.
“I think he’s going to wait, but with Tyson Fury, it depends on how he wakes up in the morning.”
With the recent millions he has earned, Fury has become a bon vivant, enjoying expensive clothing, extravagant purchases, and no longer behaving like the simple country bumpkin he was before his rise to fame.
After watching Zhang’s sixth-round stoppage of Joe Joyce last month, Fury may have been scared off from fighting him. Prior to that fight, Fury was on track to fight one of these two for his summer warm-up, but after witnessing what Zhang did to poor Joe, Fury has lost his appetite for a tune-up.
The powerful Chinese knockout artist, Zhang, has the potential to finish what Deontay Wilder started by knocking Fury out cold if Fury were brave enough to take that fight.
Zhang recently closed Joyce’s right eye with his laser-guided left hands before stopping him in the sixth round on April 15th. Joyce has decided to exercise his rematch clause and fight Zhang again, and it is safe to say that Zhang will end the 37-year-old’s career when the rematch takes place.
It is still unclear whether Fury will fight in December, as Usyk revealed this week that negotiations with him are currently at an “impasse.”
If the Fury-Usyk fight cannot be negotiated, we will see how eager the Saudis are to throw massive money at Fury to remain on the December card against a lesser opponent. However, it is doubtful that they will pay Fury $80 million to fight his good friend Joseph Parker or another fight against Chisora.
Usyk still has to defend his title this summer against his WBA mandatory challenger, Daniel Dubois, and that is not a sure-thing win for him. It remains to be seen whether the Saudis will want to throw crazy money at Fury for a fight against Dubois in December.