Fury suffered a severe cut above his right eye on Friday while sparring, which has been labelled by his promotion team as a ‘freak cut’.
The wound required stitches, leading to the postponement of the undisputed heavyweight contest.
‘I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight so long and being in such superb condition,’ a dejected Fury said.
‘I feel bad for everyone involved in this huge event and I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed.
WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT
This is the nasty laceration above Tyson Fury’s right eye which has postponed his next fight
Fury (left) will no longer fight Oleksandr Usyk on February 17 after getting cut in sparring
Fury has been sparring Moses Itauma (7-0) Kevin Lerena (30-2) and Alexis Barriere (11-0)
‘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.’
Usyk’s team have already moved to goad Fury after the news, with his promoter Alexander Krassyuk writing him a message with a subtle dig.
‘Wish you the soonest recovery,’ he said in response to Fury’s post. ‘God sent you a sign. Think of retirement brother.’
Meanwhile, Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas went on a brutal X-rated rant and said Fury would ‘do anything not to face’ the IBF, WBA and WBO champion.
He is quoted by Ring Magazine as saying: ‘Fury is a f****** coward who will do anything not to face Usyk, and he asked his b**** to hit him with a frying pan in his brow. You can quote me word for word for that.’
The Telegraph report that an accidental clash was behind the cut to Fury, causing him to need 15 stitches to patch it up.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren later appeared on talkSport to reveal that the clash came during a sparring session with a Croatian fighter – who Sky Sports claim is southpaw Agron Smakici – and stressed he still believes the bout will happen.
Fury had stitches for the wound and he will now be sidelined as Usyk seeks a new opponent
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk couldn’t resist the chance to goad Fury after the news
‘It’s the biggest blow to Tyson,’ he said. ‘He’s worked very hard and has been training very hard for this fight and has unfortunately sustained this terrible cut today.
‘It’s off, it’s postponed and in due course I’m sure we’ll announce a new date for the fight. It happened this morning in sparring with a Croatian heavyweight who caught his eye with his elbow.
‘Of course I do [think the fight will still go ahead]. It’s what everybody signed up for. It’s a huge fight – the biggest fight this century, there’s no doubt about that.
‘It’s unfortunate where we are but we will make sure that it will occur because it’s the fight that everybody wants to see.’
The fight would have seen the first undisputed champion crowned since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Fury added to his statement by posting a mirror selfie on Instagram, with the caption: ‘Cant help getting injured in sparring but what i can say was Usyk was in trouble i am in fantastic shape. i will resheduel [sic] soon as i can. 2024 a massive year for team GK.’
Fury took to Instagram to show off his physique after coming in for criticism over postponing
Fury has previously been quite secretive of his shape but showed off his physique in the mirror photo just two weeks out from the proposed clash.
Queensbury Promotions described the incident in Riyadh which led to the injury as ‘freak’, with the blow coming above Fury’s right eye.
‘The cut, which opened above Fury’s right eye, required urgent medical attention and significant stitching, and will obviously require a period of recovery, scuppering any possibility of the fight with Usyk taking place on February 17 in Saudi Arabia,’ a statement said.
A spokesperson added: ‘Whilst this is still breaking news it is clearly a massive disappointment, after the work that has been done by so many people to finally deliver this historic event to the world.
‘Once the doctors have appraised Tyson’s eye, we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed.
Fury apologised in a statement and said he has been left ‘absolutely devastated’ by the injury
‘Once known we will work diligently with all the stakeholders and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reschedule this fight as soon as possible and will of course keep everyone updated with developments.’
His Excellency Turki AlalShikh, who was instrumental in organising the event, has confirmed that the fight will be rescheduled at a later date, and that the February 17 card has been scrapped.
In a statement posted on Friday night on X, he wrote: ‘In light of Tyson Fury’s unexpected injury, we’re sending our best wishes for his swift and full recovery
‘As a result, the eagerly awaited #RingOfFire heavyweight championship will be rescheduled. Not to worry, your ticket refunds are on us.
‘Stay tuned for further updates, and thank you for your understanding and support.’
The postponement is the latest setback for the showdown between the pair, who were slated to fight this time last year before both men walked away from negotiations – despite Usyk agreeing to a 70-30 split in the Gypsy King’s favour – when Fury asked to remove the rematch clause.
There may well be a sense of deja vu for Fury and his camp as it is the same right eye that required 47 stitches back in 2019 following a nasty gash inflicted by Otto Wallin.
Fury was caught by a series of Wallin’s hooks and he was left with a nasty laceration above his right eye.
Usyk (pictured) is still hoping to box on that February 17 date, with IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic named as a possible opponent for the Ukrainian heavyweight
Only a matter of hours ago promoter Eddie Hearn addressed claims that Australian cruiserweight Jai Opetaia dropped Fury during their sparring session last month.
Opetaia – who was due to face Mairis Briedis for a second time on the Fury vs Usyk undercard – linked up with the Morecambe fighter during his camp in Saudi Arabia.
The 28-year-old joined Fury in Riyadh ahead of their respective fights on February 17 but only sparred five rounds before heading back to Australia.
British boxing legend Johnny Nelson recently came out to claim that Fury had been ‘getting turned over in the gym’ but Hearn has come forward to deny those.