Frank Warren BLASTS critics as Fury vs Usyk undercard comes under fire

Frank Warren has hit back furiously at critics of the undercard for that Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk blockbuster.

‘The Gypsy King’ (34-0-1) and the Ukrainian genius (21-0) will lock horns in Riyadh in May with all of the heavyweight titles on the line. The winner will be crowned as the sport’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis way back in 1999.

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Last week the undercard for the rescheduled show (it had been set for February 17 until Fury sustained a cut in sparring) was announced, and some media outlets responded by carrying articles containing ‘criticism from furious fans’.

The mastermind behind boxing’s renaissance – Saudi General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Alalshikh – responded by saying he is not interested in putting on “clown fights” and that it was a “powerful card for all boxing fans”.

Warren, who of course promotes Fury, was equally unimpressed and exasperated as he rounded on the critics during an interview with BoxNation.

Warren on Fury vs Usyk undercard

He said: “It is a great card and he’s [Turki Alalshikh] right what he says. The main event – it is the biggest fight this century. The first time four heavyweight world title belts have been on the line. It’s cost a fortune to get those two guys into the ring to make it happen.

Frank Warren Documentary
Promoter Frank Warren fumed at criticism of the Fury vs Usyk undercard.

“The rest of it is a massive, massive bonus – every other fight on there is a bloody good fight. Good fights on there as well – Cordina vs Cacace, that’s a cracking fight. There’s some brilliant fights on there, some exciting fights on there – all the way through. I don’t get it, why anybody would say that.

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“I don’t get it, why anybody would say that. It was brought to my attention over the weekend, I’ve seen some people saying that, but then I look at the comments underneath and most of them – I would say 99% of them – agree it’s a bloody good undercard, a great undercard for the show.

“I think it’s disrespectful to the fighters on the undercard and to the show.”

Warren gave one final take on the critics, as he fumed: “It’s a great, great show and if anybody says any different, then obviously they’ve got an agenda or they’re complete imbeciles and they don’t know about boxing.”

Full undercard details

So who is on that Fury vs Usyk undercard? Here are the main details:

Undefeated Australian Jai Opetaia takes on three-time cruiserweight world champion Mairis Briedis for the IBF world championship and Ring Magazine belt in a rematch of their exhilarating July 2022 encounter when Opetaia claimed the belts by overcoming the celebrated Latvian fighter.

Undefeated Welsh Olympian Joe Cordina will defend his IBF world super featherweight championship against IBO title holder, Northern Irishman Anthony Cacare.

READ MORE: Latest heavyweight rankings ahead of Fury vs Usyk unification battle

The heavyweight theme is bolstered by the unbeaten German star Agit Kabayel going up against unbeaten Cuban Frank Sanchez as both return to Riyadh following their knockout victories on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in December in a WBC Final Eliminator.

UK lightweight sensation Mark Chamberlain will also be heading back to The Kingdom after proving to be a major hit on his opening night in Riyadh. The big punching 25-year-old featured at ‘Knockout Chaos’ in March and will now face the dangerous Nigerian Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab.

In another significant attraction, Sergey Kovalev – the former long-standing light heavyweight world champion – will go up against the undefeated Robin Sirwan Safar at cruiserweight.

Formidable young heavyweight star Moses Itauma, the World Amateur champion, who is tipped to become the future face of boxing’s marquee division, takes on Ilja Mezencev in his ninth fight in the professional ranks at the age of just 19.

New Zealand Olympian David Nyika faces Michael Seitz at cruiserweight and English featherweight Isaac Lowe is matched with Hasibullah Ahmadi.

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