According to experts from the global bookmaker 1xBet, world boxing, which has been losing popularity to MMA in recent years, needs a truly big fight and an undisputed champion.
Absolute heavyweight championship story
There has not been a unification fight for the title of absolute world heavyweight champion for over 20 years. The fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury is one of the most anticipated events in world sports and is sure to be a historic event.
The last undisputed heavyweight champion was Lennox Lewis. After a controversial draw with Evander Holyfield in early 1999, when the American was given a draw, the Briton achieved revenge and unified the WBC, WBA and IBF belts in November of that year. Lewis did not have time to enjoy the triumph, and already in the spring of the next year, he lost the title of absolute champion due to his refusal to defend the WBA title in a fight with mandatory challenger Johnny Ruiz.
Today, it is more difficult to become an absolute champion than in the 1990s – after all, for the honorary title, you need to collect not three but four belts. Over the past 20 years, the WBO version, considered secondary in the era of Tyson, Holyfield and Lewis, has gained strength and authority. According to the degree of importance today, the belts are distributed as follows:
- World Boxing Council (WBC)
- World Boxing Association (WBA)
- International Boxing Federation (IBF)
- World Boxing Organization (WBO).
Now Tyson Fury is the world champion according to the WBC, and Oleksandr Usyk is the world champion according to the WBA, IBF, WBO and the less significant IBO. All belts will be at stake in the unification fight, which means the winner will automatically receive the status of absolute champion. After winning, the new absolute champion must defend his title at least once since the fight contract provides a mandatory rematch option.
How Usyk and Fury went to fight for absolute champion
Tyson Fury made the boxing world talk about himself on November 28, 2015 when he defeated ageing champion Wladimir Klitschko. In one evening, Gypsy King turned from a promising boxer into a world champion, according to WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO.
The rematch with Klitschko never took place. Fury discovered psychological problems, which were superimposed by troubles with doping. The Briton left the ring for three long years, losing all the belts he had won. Tired of waiting for his opponent, Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 went to fight with Anthony Joshua, lost to him by knockout and ended his career.
The boxing world was waiting for Fury to return and was looking forward to the fight with Joshua. The fight never took place, but Tyson, who had taken a break from boxing, gave fans one of the most epic trilogies in the history of the heavyweight division with Deontay Wilder. In the first fight, the American knocked out the Brit down twice, but Fury was miraculously able to recover and bring the fight to a draw. The American fought desperately in the next two fights but lost by knockout.
Unlike the giant Fury, Oleksandr Usyk began his amateur career in the middleweight of up to 75 kg. The Ukrainian debuted in professional boxing in the Cruiserweight category (up to 90.7 kg) and became the absolute champion in just 14 fights. Thus, he broke the record of the legendary Holyfield, who needed 15 fights to achieve a similar achievement in 1987.
After the historic victory, Usyk made his debut in the heavyweight division, where after two warm-up fights, he fought with Anthony Joshua, who held the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles. The Briton was the favorite, but the fast and technical Ukrainian could convincingly outplay the champion and almost knocked him out in the 12th round. The rematch on August 20, 2022 was a more equal fight, but Usyk defeated the powerful but inactive Briton for the second time.
Long organization of unification fight
Thus, the four most important belts were in the hands of two boxers, and preparations for the unification fight began. Alas, the process dragged on for years, and the final point in the negotiations has not been set to this day.
For the first time, Usyk invited Fury to fight for the title of absolute champion in the fall of 2021, immediately after his first victory over Anthony Joshua. However, at that moment, Joshua believed he lost by accident, and Usyk agreed to a rematch.
The next rounds of negotiations took place a year later when Fury defeated Dillian Whyte and then Dereck Chisora. Then, the first specific date for the fight between the two champions surfaced in the press – April 29, 2023.
Negotiations stalled due to the exorbitant financial demands of Fury’s team. Gypsy King considered himself the main star of the confrontation and demanded a 70/30 split of the prize fund. The owner of three championship belts, Usyk, proposed a fair division of the amount in the ratio of 50/50.
In the spring of 2023, it was not possible to reach an agreement again, so Oleksandr Usyk signed up for a fight with Daniel Dubois, and Tyson Fury decided to make easy money by fighting with the famous UFC fighter Francis Ngannou. In preparation for this fight, Fury’s team visited Saudi Arabia several times, and there, they made progress in negotiations for a fight with Usyk.
The parties do not announce specific figures for the prize money, but apparently, the sheikhs offered the boxers such a high fee for the fight in Riyadh that even Fury, greedy for money, could not resist.
What to expect?
The contract for the unification fight was officially signed on September 29, and the main date was December 23, 2023. When the terms were announced, experts doubted the feasibility of such deadlines. Fury’s fight with Ngannou was scheduled for October 28, and the training camp for such high-level fighters takes at least two months. It was difficult to imagine that the Briton would have time to recover before the fight with Usyk.
Fury’s team probably made a logical bet on an easy fight with Ngannou and a quick knockout – after all, there should be a gap between a world champion and a mixed martial arts fighter in a fight according to boxing rules. However, the Cameroonian-French fighter had a different opinion. Ngannou not only forced Fury to go the entire ten-round distance of the fight but also knocked him down. In the end, the Englishman still won the tough fight by split decision, but a fight with Usyk two months later was out of the question.
Fury’s team predictably started talking about postponing the fight. After another series of negotiations, during which Usyk demanded compensation for the disruption of the fight, a new preliminary date appeared – February 2024, without specification. Given the ease with which Fury breaks any agreement, the announced deadline didn’t guarantee the fight to occur in February, but not this time. Perhaps the threat of losing the belt and pressure from the WBC forced the Briton to fulfil the terms of the contract – the fight will occur on February 17.
Chance of winning
Let’s look at the fighters’ chances of winning an absolute heavyweight champion title.
Experts from the bookmaker company 1xBet consider Tyson Fury to be the favorite of the fight and give the odds of 1.84 for his victory, and the odds for a win or draw is 1.64. For Usyk’s victory, predictions are accepted with odds of 2.209, for a win or draw – 1.95. A draw is considered unlikely and given a respectable odds of 16. A knockout is also not predicted – the bet on an early victory for Fury is 4.5, and Usyk is 6.0. But victory on points is considered more likely – 2.55 for Fury and 3.125 for Usyk. Accordingly, the bet on the fact that the fight will last all 12 rounds is 1.37, and on the early completion – 2.99.
The powerful Briton, with a height of 206 centimetres and a fighting weight of over 120 kg, is much superior to Usik in size but inferior in skills. However, in the heavyweight, the advantage is almost always on the side of the bigger guy.
Why then are Usyk’s chances rated so highly? Firstly, light on his feet, Oleksandr is the most technical boxer in the super heavyweight category and is extremely difficult to hit accurately. Secondly, you always need to take into account the factor of Fury’s legendary laziness. The Briton does not like to keep himself in shape between fights, and with age, getting himself in order before a match becomes more and more difficult.
On the other hand, Usyk is far from a puncher, and Tyson has an amazing ability to recover from heavy punches.
Considering all of the above, 1xBet is inclined to believe that there will be no knockout in the fight, the fight will go all 12 rounds, and Fury will win by unanimous or split decision.
Try to predict the result of the Usyk vs Fury fight and place your bet on the 1xBet platform!
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