Unified cruiserweight world titleholder Oleksandr Usyk has informed World Boxing Super Series organizer Comosa AG that he has suffered a minor left elbow injury, forcing the tournament final against fellow unified titleholder Murat Gassiev to be postponed.
Usyk, a southpaw, and Gassiev, who each hold two major 200-pound pound world titles, were scheduled to meet in the final of the eight-man tournament to determine the undisputed champion on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But on Monday the World Boxing Super Series announced the fight has been postponed.
“Team Usyk has informed Comosa AG that Mr. Usyk suffered a minor elbow injury whilst training for his World Boxing Super Series final against Murat Gassiev, for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” the World Boxing Super Series said in a statement. “It has been confirmed by all parties, including Comosa AG appointed independent medical staff, that Mr. Usyk is unavailable for the scheduled date of the event, May 11th. As such, the May 11th event, due to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has been postponed.”
Comosa AG said it is consulting with the Usyk and Gassiev teams, as well as Sela Sport, the local organizer in Jeddah, to come up with a new date for the fight.
“Comosa AG wishes Mr. Usyk a good and speedy recovery. Further information on the rescheduling of the final will be released in due course,” the statement said.
The postponement comes at a time when there has been serious discussion about the final possibly moving from Saudi Arabia to Russia, where an investment group is said to be interested in bringing the fight there for millions of dollars more than was being offered in Jeddah.
Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), 31, the 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist from Ukraine, unified two belts in the semifinals with a majority decision win over Mairis Briedis on Jan. 27 in Briedis’ hometown of Riga, Latvia.
Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), 24, of Russia, also unified two world titles in the semifinals with a stirring 12th-round knockout of Yunier Dorticos in a fight of the year contender on Feb. 3 in Sochi, Russia. The World Boxing Super Series, which debuted in 2017 with two eight-man tournaments, one at cruiserweight and one at super middleweight, also said it would announce the weight classes for its second season of tournaments in the coming weeks.
The cruiserweight and super middleweight tournaments ran smoothly with only super middleweight Juergen Braehmer dropping out of the semifinals due to illness. But both finals are hampered by injury.
Besides Usyk’s elbow problem, super middleweight world titleholder George Groves suffered a dislocated left shoulder in a unanimous decision victory over British countryman Chris Eubank Jr. in the semifinals on Feb. 17 and asked for a postponement of the 168-pound final.
Groves (28-3, 20 KOs), 30, is due to defend his belt against countryman Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs), 27, in the final on June 2 at the O2 Arena in London but Groves said he needed another month to be ready for the fight after having surgery. The World Boxing Super Series has not yet announced whether it will postpone the super middleweight final or use an alternate to replace Groves.