The two heavyweight world champions had been due to meet in Riyadh on February 17 to crown the first undisputed king since Lennox Lewis back in 1999. But then Fury sustained a ‘freak cut’ in sparring and the bout will now be rescheduled.
Hearn said he heard the news a little before it was made public because he had two fighters due to appear on the undercard – cruiserweight Jai Opetaia and super-featherweight Joe Cordina. He provided a very measured response to a story which made seismic shockwaves in the boxing world.
Hearn told IFL TV: “I just can’t believe it really, it’s not our show but we have some fighters on the show. I know, I’ve been there before when this kind of thing happens 10 days out or two weeks out. It’s just devastating for all the work that’s gone in – the promos, the press conferences – but it’s also boxing and it’s just an unfortunate set of events that are gonna put a great fight back by we don’t know how long.
“There’s no point asking me what’s gonna happen because it’s not my main event. I spoke to George Warren, obviously him and Spencer [Brown] and His Excellency will work it out.
“Anything is possible, but speaking just with my view, I expect it just to be rescheduled, whether it’s April, May – something like that.
Will Usyk still fight on February 17?
In the immediate aftermath of Fury’s injury there were many questions flying round in the boxing media world – including whether Usyk would still fight on that February 17 date. His mandatory IBF contender Filip Hrgovic quickly told ESPN that he would be willing to step in for a title shot at short notice.
Hearn though does not see it happening, as he explained: “I don’t have the knowledge of the situation at this point to tell you whether that is likely or not, my gut feeling is no. I do not believe Usyk will fight somebody else on February 17th. I believe the fight will be delayed until April or May, but that’s just my opinion rather than speaking of fact or speaking to anybody involved.
“These kind of things, when they first happen, I’ve been here many times. You just have to take a breath, go into another room, give yourself a slap round the face, have a little cry and say ‘this is boxing, what we gonna do, now we’ve got to just make the right decisions’.
“I’m sure His Excellency will be probably as disappointed as anybody, but this is boxing, we’ve been here many times before. Unfortunately it’s affected the biggest fight in boxing.”