- Tyson Fury’s showdown with Usyk was moved back after freak cut in sparring
- The fighter involved has revealed what Fury called him before the accident
- He insisted it was a punch, not an elbow and did not cut his eye on purpose
Fury was dealt a huge blow after sustaining the cut which required 15 stitches and led to much goading from the Usyk camp, calling him a ‘coward’ for delaying their bout, which would have declared the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
The fight, initiall pencilled for February 17, has since been rearranged for May 18 in Riyadh, leading to frustration within the boxing community – and the Croatian fighter involved in the incident has been in the headlines too.
Agron Smakici previously said he ‘didn’t feel bad’ in a blunt response giving his take, but has since clarified his words in a lengthier interview and detailed exactly what happened during the spar with Fury – clarifiying that the shot was a punch and not an elbow like many people were claiming.
‘Unfortunately it looks like bad news because I cancelled the biggest fight but it wasn’t on purpose,’ he told iFL TV.
WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO BELOW
Agron Smakici (left) has revealed what Tyson Fury called him just before he split the Gypsy King’s eye open in sparring
The Croatian MMA fighter – who has trained with Anthony Joshua (R) previouly said he did not ‘feel bad’ for causing the cut
Fury sustained a nasty laceration above his right eye which has postponed his next fight against Oleksandr Usyk
‘It was a punch – he was pulling my head forward and maybe it goes to the elbow. I was trying to move around like Usyk, avoiding punches, hitting the body. He looked good. I can’t say he was not in shape like people are writing.
‘On Thursday we did a late evening spar. We had breakfast at 11 on Friday and then they said we’re going to spar at 12. It was too early for us – it was short notice. I was tired from the day before. He did some tricks. He likes to say “you little sausage”. He’s the type like that. We had some stuff like that in the sparring.
‘In the third round, it happened – the cut. Before that it was interesting sparring, very good sparring.’
Smakici – who has also trained with Anthony Joshua in the past – also insisted that their sparring session was ‘very protected’ with headguards and other precautions, and said he would love to return and prepare Fury when he comes back to camp for his rearranged fight with Usyk in the summer.
‘All the time with the headguard,’ he added. ‘We both had big gloves and they put on vaseline. Everything was very protected. They didn’t say it was an elbow, he just said I’m bleeding, I’m cut. He looked good [in the ring]. Sometimes he would dance or sing in the ring.
‘I would love to do it [next camp]. I was supposed to stay for Joseph Parker too. I would like to go back to the Fury camp to do the whole preparation with him to push and motivate him. I will put some elbow protection on!’
Grainy footage posted online claims to show the decisive hit the Gypsy King took which bust his eye open, with Warren explaining that a stray elbow was to blame for the severe cut.
Explaining the circumstances surrounded the injury, Warren said: ‘It happened [Friday morning] in sparring with a Croatian heavyweight who caught his eye with his elbow.
Fury will now face Usyk on May 18 – after being goaded as a ‘coward’ by members of his camp
‘I can’t tell you how gutted everybody is and I obviously feel for Tyson, I feel for Usyk and I feel sorry for His Excellency Turki Alalshikh and everyone who works at the Riyadh Season because this is an event that we all worked hard to make happen and unfortunately it’s going to be postponed now.’
An apologetic Fury said after news of his injury came to light: ‘I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this fight so long and being in such 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.’