Oleksandr Usyk has insisted he will only fight Tyson Fury and called on the unpredictable world heavyweight champion to accept a bout during the early part of 2023.
The Ukrainian was last in the ring in August when he retained his WBA, IBF and WBO belts after a split decision win over Anthony Joshua in Jeddah.
Talks about an undisputed heavyweight contest with WBC Fury belt holder took place shortly after Usyk’s success in Saudi Arabia, but next month the Brit will face Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It means the wait for all the titles up for grabs continues, and while Usyk is determined to fight Fury, his religious beliefs mean they must either step into the ring by March 4 or be ready to wait until the end of the year.
“Right now my team is looking for conversations with Tyson Fury and he’s really an unpredictable person, so we can’t guarantee when,” Usyk told the PA news agency at the Lisbon Web Summit.
“For me, the idea would be to fight maybe in early February or early March, like March 4th, because I’m an Orthodox Christian.
“During the great fast before Easter I don’t fight, so it should be before or after Orthodox Easter (April 16).
“I want to fight with Fury because I need the fourth belt and I don’t want to fight with anyone else until I have the fourth belt.”
Usyk was in Lisbon to talk with Parimatch Tech CEO Maksym Liashko about the ongoing war in his country and the importance of highlighting Russia’s actions.
The 35-year-old insisted that the Ukrainian people would continue to “fight the aggressor and the bully”, but raised the possibility of fighting for the world heavyweight titles in Kiev.
He added: “The organizers are trying to figure out where they can make the most money.
“For me, yes, I would really like to fight in Ukraine and Ukraine is really capable of hosting this kind of fighting.
“I would be really happy to see it happen at the Olympic Arena in Ukraine. But I’m not the one to choose the venue, so I guess (this time) it will be Saudi Arabia. “
Before Usyk can turn his attention to a possible fight with Fury, he will be watching with interest on December 3 when his rival battles veteran heavyweight Chisora.
It will be the third fight between the British duo and the former cruiserweight to which he wonders why it should take place.
“I don’t know why he needs this fight,” Usyk said.
“Maybe he thinks why it would be a year without a fight, now he needs it. I think it’s a maneuver because I don’t know why I need it. “