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Bob Arum explains why Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk negotiations fell apart

Bob Arum says a monstrous offer to stage the fight in Saudi Arabis late this year undermined efforts to hold the bout now.

Bob Arum says neither fighter is to blame for the undisputed heavyweight unification not coming together.
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum talks to Fight Hub TV about his perspective on why an undisputed heavyweight title unification between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk seemingly all fell apart at the last minute, after there was nearly every assurance the fight would take place.

Arum says a supposed offer in Saudi Arabia to hold the fight at the end of year was so much more than what either fighter could make fighting in the UK, neither fighter was really motivated to strike a deal to make the fight right away. Here are some excerpts of what he had to say below.

Arum on what went wrong in Fury vs Usyk talks

“Well nothing really went wrong. I think what happened was the initial deal was easy to make but there was no urgency on either fighter because the Saudis were talking about putting up really big money to get the fight done in November, December. So I think that it was hard to keep the fight together under those circumstances because the money they could make in Saudi, if it was real, was so many times more than what they would make for a big fight in the UK.”

On fan perception that Fury is to blame after all the concessions Usyk made

“I don’t put the blame on anybody. I think it’s a business and I can see where each fighter was coming from. So, again, I was involved in the middle of those negotiations and I don’t fault either fighter.”

On if the fight is dead for good or just for the time being

“I think Usyk knows that he has to fight Frank’s fighter, Dubois, which it isn’t an easy fight but Usyk should win. And I think Tyson might look to fight Joshua...If they both win I think they’ll revisit the fight for late November, December.”

On the real issue standing between Fury and Usyk striking a deal

“Because you’re Usyk and you can make say $15M fighting Fury — which is a good number — but if you go another route and you fight Fury in the winter in Saudi, you can make $50-60M. Now that’s a big difference, right? So there’s not real impetus to get the deal done because everybody is looking at greener pastures.

“If there was no Saudi possibility we would’ve made this fight in three days. But that was always the cloud hovering over the negotiations, and you can’t blame the fighters. You really can’t.

“The Saudis weren’t anxious to do the fight except in the winter because they’re building a stadium for the fight. So, you know, it is what it is. But I don’t fault either fighter.”

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