Who pays crazy money to Fury and Usyk? All the financial details of the superfight

By | May 11, 2024

On May 18 in Saudi Arabia, the most anticipated boxing match of the year will take place. WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will share the ring with Alexander Usyk, who holds the other three belts in the division. The British and Ukrainian fighters will compete in a unification bout for the title of undisputed world champion. Discussions about Fury and Usyk needing to fight each other have been ongoing since September 2021, when Alexander took three championship belts from Joshua. Since then, the Ukrainian has managed a rematch with Anthony, and defended his belts against Daniel Dubois. It seemed that a fight between Fury and Usyk would never happen, as the boxers exchanged pleasantries on social media but could not agree on terms that satisfied both parties. This continued until representatives from Saudi Arabia intervened.

In the last year, Arab sheikhs have significantly shaken up the boxing industry, organizing a large number of high-profile fights and they plan to continue this trend. They managed to reach an agreement with Fury and Usyk, who signed contracts last autumn. According to reports, the contracts are simply astronomical. “They pay big money. Everything these people get involved in is significant. And I believe I’ve signed the biggest contract in boxing history with them. I can’t reveal the numbers, but I can say the bag of money will be damn big. The football deals with Ronaldo and Neymar—none of that compares to what was offered to me. It’s a lot of money,” Fury said.

Legends are already circulating about Arab payouts, with boxers earning record sums in their careers, which is why such loud fights take place in Saudi Arabia. The royal division has virtually settled there, with almost all top boxers of the division having fought there, except for Alexander Usyk. But he too will soon box on Arab soil and take home a bag of money.

Fury has already experienced the generosity of the sheikhs: for his fight with Francis Ngannou, who debuted in boxing, Tyson received about $40 million, not counting a percentage of the pay-per-view sales. The former UFC champion was also not short-changed, receiving an eight-figure sum as a fee, which was undoubtedly his highest earnings at the time (Ngannou later received even more from the Arabs for his fight with Anthony Joshua). But now the conversation is about the main boxing match not only of this year but perhaps of the 21st century. At stake is the title of the undisputed world champion in the royal division, a title that no one has held in the era of four belts. Therefore, the payouts must be on a completely different level.

Two years ago, Tyson stated that he wanted a record sum for a fight with Usyk in boxing history. The most lucrative fight to date is the historic match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, where, according to various sources, the boxers earned a combined total of about $500 million, with about $300 million going to Floyd. This includes revenues from pay-per-view sales, tickets, and all sponsorship and advertising contracts. Astronomical sums. And surpassing them will be extremely difficult. But it seems that in Saudi Arabia, words like “difficult” and “impossible” are unknown. Legendary promoter Bob Arum declared last autumn that Tyson would definitely receive much more than $100 million for his fight with Alexander Usyk, even hinting that this amount could exceed $200 million. It is noteworthy that the aforementioned Mayweather received about $210 million as a guaranteed fee for his fight with Pacquiao.

Of course, Arum might have embellished the figures to draw attention to the fight. But there is no doubt that both Fury’s and Usyk’s fees will be record-breaking. For example, well-known expert Simon Jordan mentioned mandatory sums of $115 million for Fury and $60 million for Usyk. This was also announced at the time when the sheikhs planned to bring Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder together as the main event of the evening. Now, all attention on this May evening will be focused solely on Fury and Usyk, so their fees might well have increased. Turki Al al-Sheikh, the chairman of the country’s General Entertainment Authority, who is responsible for organizing all the high-profile boxing matches in the country, is acting very wisely. Fury and Usyk could not agree on a fight for a long time because the Brit’s team insisted on a 70 to 30 percentage distribution of the purse in favor of Tyson, which, of course, Usyk did not agree with. Turki then showered both with money, leaving the boxers with no room to back down.

Will Fury’s fight beat Mayweather’s record? It seemed that Floyd had permanently inscribed his name in history, and no one could ever earn $300 million for a single fight. But it seems that Tyson has a real chance to break the record with the help of Arab money. Meanwhile, Usyk, playing the role of Pacquiao, will also not be financially shortchanged and will earn the highest sum of his career. And if the fight is close, a rematch could very well follow. It’s scary to even imagine the amounts that would then be discussed.

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