Support Eddie Goldman on Patreon.

This is a special guest post by Eddie Goldman.

We sure do like to see the big guys fight. But the erosion of boxing’s popularity and the squandering of its most marketable assets is most evident in the near-stasis in its once-glorious heavyweight division.

If there were a criminal trial in 2023 for the attempted murder of professional boxing, Exhibit A would be the collapse of the proposed heavyweight title unification fight between WBC champ Tyson Fury and unified WBA-IBF-WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk.

Here you have the two fighters who are both undefeated and universally regarded as the best heavyweights on the planet. The 34-year-old Fury, from the U.K., has a record of 33-0-1 with 24 KOs, while the 36-year-old Usyk, from Ukraine, is 20-0 with 13 KOs. Between them, they hold all four major sanctioning body belts. Neither was burdened by having to face one of these sanctioning bodies’ mandatory challengers in their next fight.

The winner of a Fury-Usyk fight would have been crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the first time a fighter would have earned such a designation since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield at the end of the last century, in 1999. Back then, that distinction went to a fighter who held just three belts, the WBA, WBA, and IBF straps, while nowadays holding the WBO belt is required in today’s “four-belt era”. Even George Orwell would have grimaced at such terminology.

Support Eddie Goldman on Patreon.

The rest of this piece is for paid subscribers to the Bloody Elbow Newsletter.

About the author
Bloody Elbow
Bloody Elbow

Independent MMA Journalism

More from the author

Related Stories