Recent weeks saw increasing fears that the undisputed heavyweight championship showdown between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBO, WBA and IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk had fallen apart at the negotiating table. However, every time the fight was declared dead, reports would follow that the two sides had resumed negotiations for the planned April 29 clash. Despite those flashes of hope, all chances of the bout happening in April appear dead as of Wednesday.
Usyk's promoter, Alex Krassyuk, told Sky Sports on March 10 that he no longer believed Fury was interested in the bout after Fury shot down a proposed purse split of 60-40 in favor of the winner. Even worse, Krassyuk said, Fury's demands were making the fight an impossibility.
"I can only tell you from the words I hear from my negotiators, my partners Frank and George Warren," Krassyuk said. "According to their reports, Tyson Fury was asking for too much money. Even if Usyk would get zero for the fight, it would still not be sufficient for Tyson to cover his [demands]."
Later that week, Fury posted a video on Instagram stating that he was offering Usyk and his team a "take it or leave it" deal of a 70-30 purse split in Fury's favor.
In addition, Fury claimed that for every day the Usyk team didn't accept the deal, he would remove 1%.
"They want 50%, Usyk and all this 'Tyson is being greedy,'" Fury said. "From where I'm standing, Usyk, you and your team are worth 30%. You either take it or you leave it. And if you don't want it, go fight Daniel Dubois and get a few million dollars. If you want to make some real money, come on fight the Gypsy King. I will say, for every day from today that you linger and mess around, I'm going to deduct 1%."
Usyk's side opted for the "take it" portion of Fury's "take it or leave it" offer, with Usyk posting his own video message in response.
"Hey, greedy belly. I accept your offer," Usyk said. "70-30 split the fight with you on April 29 at Wembley. But you will promise to donate to Ukraine immediately after the fight. $1 million."
Belly @Tyson_Fury Deal !?? pic.twitter.com/X1IoWF5zgY— Alexander Usyk (@usykaa) March 10, 2023
However, Wednesday, news broke across multiple outlets that -- despite one final push to get the deal done -- the fight was now officially off for the April date. Some of those reports suggested that the purse split for the rematch was a hurdle that could not be cleared.
Usyk's manager, Egis Klimas, told reporter Steve Kim, "No matter how much Usyk compromised, he was pushed for more."
"The fight is called off," Krassyuk said in an interview with TalkSport. "The reason for that is it went too far. There was a feeling that after Usyk accepted 70-30 Tyson Fury started to think that he could put a saddle around his neck and start riding Usyk as much as he can. It's not right. I mean, Usyk accepted the 70-30 split as a courtesy. He was so willing to make this fight happen. But the fight is not about Tyson Fury. The fight is about the WBC belt that [Usyk wants] in his collection. And if it's so complicated that Tyson tries to avoid it by putting so many obstacles in front of making the deal, then there's no need to put more effort in it and we just go our way."
The news comes after the WBA set an April 1 deadline for the fight to be made or they would order Usyk to fight WBA secondary titlist Daniel Dubois, who holds priority in the rotation system of mandatory challengers for Usyk's three world championships.
The April 29 date emerged after originally planned dates in February and March fell through, with an initial plan to hold the bout in Saudi Arabia. The plans to hold the bout in Saudi Arabia then fell apart, taking with it the inflated purses that come with events held in that country.