Morecambe world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury’s fight against Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed title has been postponed after he sustained a cut while sparring.
WBC champion Fury was due to meet WBO, WBA and IBF titlist Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday February 17. The fight has now been rescheduled for May 18.
The winner would have become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000.
Queensberry Promotions issued the following statement:
Fury said: "I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight for so long and being in such a superb condition.
"I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed.
"I can only apologise to everyone affected including my own team, Team Usyk, the undercard fighters, partners, and fans as well as our hosts and my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
Fury added in an Instagram post: "Can't help getting injured in sparring but what I can say was Usyk was in trouble. I am in fantastic shape."
Fury's promoter Frank Warren told TalkSport the injury occured on Friday morning when Tyson was caught by a stray elbow from his sparring partner.
"Tyson has been training very hard for this fight," he said.
"I can't tell you how gutted everybody is. Unfortunately it's going to be postponed.
"All we want to focus on is Tyson recovering from his eye injury. It's very unfortunate and we will work out in the next few days what's going to happen in the future.
"It's a fight that everyone wants to see. And they will see it eventually. We'll make it happen."
UPDATE: On Saturday it was announced the fight will now happen on Saturday May 18 in Riyadh.
Both Fury and Usyk, and their managers, appeared on The MMA Hour podcast to discuss the situation.
Fury said: "I arranged to spar 12 rounds with four different guys. In round 5 I got an elbow in the eye. I've been to the hospital and had 11 stitches. Nothing much anybody can do about getting a cut in sparring.
"I was very disappointed. I've been away from my family for five weeks, I've been in Saudi Arabia training, everything was going fantastic. I was 100 per cent confident I was going to knock Usyk out. There were no doubts in my mind."
When asked by host Ariel Helwani how he felt when he heard about the cut, Usyk said: "My reaction was just smile. I just smile and go to training."
Then when Usyk's manager Egis Klimas questioned whether Fury actually wanted the fight, Tyson said: "Why would I not want the biggest payday of my life?
"I am no coward. I've boxed all my life. I've ducked nobody!"
Turki Alalshikh, chairman of the General Authority of Entertainment in Saudi Arabia, has also guaranteed $10m to either fighter from the other's money, if their opponent pulls out of the new date.
"Tyson wanted to fight on February 17 even with the cut," he said on The MMA Hour.
"I said I am not crazy to put you in the ring with this cut.
"We will deliver this fight on May 18 or deliver another big fight if someone quits from it.
"I know they both want this fight and want the fans to see it."