The man who opened up a horrific cut on Tyson Fury leading to his world title fight against Oleksandr Usyk being postponed has denied using his elbow on ‘The Gypsy King’.
The fight to crown heavyweight boxing’s first undisputed champion in 25 years was postponed on Friday just two weeks out from the opening bell. A new date of 18 May has now been agreed.
WBC champion Fury explained he was taking part in a 12-round sparring session when he was struck above the right eye, later insisting it was an elbow that did the damage.
His promoter Frank Warren also confirmed it was an illegal shot that led to this month’s fight being shelved, with Fury requiring 15 stiches as a result.
The man who was sparring with Fury is thought to be Agron Smakici, a Croatian southpaw who has lost just two of his 22 professional fights.
The 31-year-old has previously sparred Anthony Joshua and has also twice fought in MMA, most recently in October 2023 at an event in Austria.
Unconfirmed footage of their session suggests there was an elbow involved but according to Boxing Talk, Samkici has denied using an elbow, telling the outlet: ‘It was a clean punch so I don’t feel bad.’
He added: ‘Fury says a lot of things but he knows how the sparring was with me.’
Explaining the incident that led to the fight being postponed, Warren said: ‘It happened this morning (Friday) in sparring with a Croatian heavyweight who caught his eye with his elbow.
‘I can’t tell you how gutted everybody is and I obviously feel for Tyson, I feel for Usyk and I feel sorry for His Excellency Turki Alalshikh and everyone who works at the Riyadh Season because this is an event that we all worked hard to make happen and unfortunately it’s going to be postponed now.’
Fury vs Usyk will go ahead on 18 May with February’s undercard also moved to that new date.
It was also confirmed that a deal has been agreed where if either man pulls out of the new fight date, they will have to pay a forfeit price of €10million to the other man.