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Tyson Fury won't fight Oleksandr Usyk next - it's Francis Ngannou or retirement, says George Groves

Tyson Fury's proposed meeting with Oleksandr Usyk on December 23 could be pushed back after Brit given "one of my toughest fights of last 10 years" by former UFC Star Francis Ngannou; George Groves says Fury will fight Ngannou again or retire

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George Groves believes Tyson Fury will not go ahead with the undisputed fight against Oleksandr Usyk and could even hang up his gloves

George Groves does not expect Tyson Fury to fight Oleksandr Usyk next - saying the unbeaten heavyweight will either meet Francis Ngannou again or retire.

A proposed December 23 bout with Usyk for the undisputed title looks in jeopardy with Fury given an almighty scare by former UFC star Ngannou before a contentious win in Saudi Arabia.

Fury was floored in round three before getting up to edge the contest on points and said of Ngannou in his post-fight interview: "He's given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years."

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk
Image: Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk

Groves now not only believes Fury-Usyk will be delayed but that it might not occur at all, saying the Brit's plans post-boxing could be dented if he were to lose to his Ukrainian rival.

Groves told Sky Sports: "There is not a chance the Usyk fight is happening on that date. It is not Usyk on December 23, I don't think it's Usyk next. I think it's either Ngannou or that's the last of Fury.

"He tells everyone he is the Gypsy King, that he is the man, no fighter can ever beat him. There is someone right now who can beat him and it's Usyk. A lot of people will think the same.

"He doesn't need to roll the dice and get beat off the little gap-toothed Ukrainian guy.

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Head of Fighter Operations at PFL Europe Dan Hardy says Fury was not 'switched on' against Ngannou

"He'd rather just sail off into the sunset. He is an interesting character and there are lots of avenues he can explore after boxing. Doors that might be shut on him or not the same if he loses to Usyk.

"I think he is going to either rectify the last fight against Ngannou, which he will get paid a lot of money for and a lot of people would be interested in. He will train better and show up and perform.

"Or he might retire.

Does Fury still have the same hunger?

"There is no way he didn't wake up the next morning [after the Ngannou fight] with loads of doubts. 'Have I still got it anymore?' 'Why could I not handle this guy comfortably?'

"He might be questioning, 'do I really want to do it anymore?'

"He wasn't the 'people's champion' until after the second Denotay Wilder fight [in 2020] and he hasn't had that acid test since fighting Wilder [in 2021]. That is a long time.

"He hasn't had to work hard, hasn't had to struggle. Dillian Whyte didn't show up. Dereck Chisora was like a friend. It feels like a long time since he has probably been really backs against the wall.

"To roll back the clock and have that hunger still at 35, it might not be the same. It definitely won't be the same as going out to Germany and beating Wladimir Klitschko [in 2015]."

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Sky Sports' Matthew Macklin believes Fury underestimated Ngannou, as he narrowly defeated the former MMA fighter in a controversial points decision

Fury's fellow heavyweight Frazer Clarke added: "I don't know if pride will not let him fight Usyk and I don't know if pride will not let him fight AJ [Anthony Joshua].

"I feel [the AJ fight] needs to happen. The only question is, will we get it when they have both slowed down a bit? We need to see it now. As for the Usyk thing, would he want a confidence fight before Usyk?"

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