Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are closing in on a deal for an undisputed heavyweight championship fight -- planned for April 29 at London's Wembley Stadium -- after both sides notified the WBA that they have agreed to terms, president Gilberto Mendoza told ESPN on Friday.
Mendoza said he received confirmation from both fighters' promoters that a tentative agreement is in place ahead of the WBA's 5 p.m. ET deadline for Usyk to defend his title against mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois. Dubois holds the WBA's "regular" title, but the organization continues to consolidate belts.
Fury, in an Instagram video posted Friday, called on Ukraine's Usyk to accept 30% to the Englishman's 70% of the cut for one of the biggest fights boxing can deliver. Fury holds the WBC title and is ESPN's No. 1 heavyweight (No. 7 pound-for-pound); Usyk owns the WBA, WBO and IBF belts and is ESPN's No. 2 heavyweight (No. 3 pound-for-pound).
As part of the deal, Usyk asked Fury to donate $1 million to relief efforts in Ukraine as the country continues to defend itself from Russia's invasion. The fight, once finalized, will be offered on ESPN pay-per-view in the U.S., sources said.
"They want 50%, Usyk and all this 'Tyson is being greedy,'" Fury said in the Instagram video. "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 at the Copper Box [Arena in London] and get a few million dollars.
"If you want to make some real money, come and fight The Gypsy King. ... I will say, for every day from today that you linger, mess around, I'm going to deduct 1% from the 30%. ... Sign the contract, get your money and get f---ed up. ... Tick, tock."
Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) stayed busy in December with a 10th-round TKO of Derek Chisora to retain his heavyweight title. After Fury stopped Dillian Whyte in six rounds last April, he announced his retirement, but it lasted only four months.
The 34-year-old Fury defeated another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, to win the unified heavyweight championship in 2015. He was out of the ring for nearly three years as he dealt with alcohol and substance abuse along with depression. During that hiatus, he ballooned to 400 pounds.
Fury returned to the ring with two wins over soft opposition before he survived two knockdowns vs. Deontay Wilder to settle for a draw in a fight most observers believed he won. Fury left no doubt in the rematch, a seventh-round TKO to win the WBC title. The trilogy fight, which Fury won via 11th-round KO, was named ESPN's Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year for 2021.
"Hey greedy belly, I accept your offer, 70/30 split to fight on April 29 at Wembley," Usyk wrote on Instagram. "But you will promise to donate 1 million pounds to Ukraine immediately after the fight. And for every day of your delay, you will pay 1 % from your purse to Ukrainian people. Deal?"
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) won the undisputed cruiserweight championship with a unanimous-decision victory over Murat Gassiev in 2018 before he moved up to heavyweight in 2019. The Olympic gold medalist defeated Chisora in his second heavyweight fight before he signed for a bout with Anthony Joshua for three heavyweight titles.
Usyk, 36, defeated Joshua via unanimous decision in September 2021 and retained his unified championship with a split-decision win in the August rematch. The southpaw is one of the most skilled boxers in the world but also showed off his power against Joshua; he appeared on the verge of stopping AJ in the final round of the first fight.
Now, Fury and Usyk are on the verge of the biggest challenges of their illustrious careers, a matchup poised to crown boxing's first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era.