Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk spoke directly on the phone before signing contracts for their fight.
The rival heavyweight world champions will meet in an undisputed WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO world title fight in the coming months, once Fury has come through his bout with Francis Ngannou on October 28.
Not long ago though, Fury’s future was unclear.
When talks at the start of this year for the Usyk clash to take place in April at Wembley Stadium collapsed, the Gypsy King was left without a fight.
Attempts to stage a summer bout at Wembley proved difficult as negotiations with the likes of Andy Ruiz and Zhilei Zhang failed.
An approach to Anthony Joshua also proved fruitless.
However, things took a positive turn when Fury’s managerial representative Spencer Brown received an approach that connected him with His Excellency Turki Alalshikh – chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA).
With the GEA seeking marquee events to headline Riyadh Season, this led to the deal which made Fury vs Ngannou a reality.
Brown told Boxing King Media: “It was done very quickly, very easily, very few people knew about it.
“The Francis Ngannou fight was made first. His Excellency Turki Alalshikh – he’s the man behind all of it. Without him, we can’t put anything on.
“You can have 50 great fights, but if you’ve not got somebody backing you, a country backing you and a team backing you to do these fights, then you’re not gonna [make them]. Fights are easily made if you’ve got the backing behind you to do them.”
Brown continued: “We had an [approach] from a football agent actually, one of the best agents I’ve seen…
“When we found out who was behind it all, His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, our hopes got up.
“We had long conversations with Frank Warren and George Warren about it, they told me to carry on and see what I could do.
“In the meantime they were sorting something else out for Tyson, a fight in England.
“Robert Davies (Tyson’s solicitor), me, Frank Warren and George Warren were all in discussions throughout the day.
“We sat outside a café with His Excellency Turki Alalshikh at the end of a phone and we got the job done in four hours, it was that simple.”
Fury vs Ngannou was announced in July, and then the next task became clear.
For several years various boxing powerbrokers have tried to bring an undisputed heavyweight world title fight to fruition.
In 2017 and 2018, it was Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder.
In 2019, it was Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz.
In 2020 and 2021, it was Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua.
And in 2022 and 2023, it was Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk.
Many tried and many failed to make all of these fights. Last month though, the latter of the list was successfully signed.
Once Usyk emerged victorious from his mandatory defense against Daniel Dubois in August, Brown contacted the Ukrainian’s manager Egis Klimas and got the ball rolling with consent from the Saudis.
“It was really simple to be honest,” Brown explained, “I rang his manager Egis Klimas and asked him if we could have a meeting.
“Everybody gave me their permission to go and make the fight, the promoters and everybody said, ‘If you can go and make it, go and do it.’
“So I rang Egis, we met in New York, I introduced him to the [Saudi] team, we basically sorted everything out.
“We came back and met in London, we all got in a room for I think it was four or five hours with all the parties concerned, and we got it done very simple.
“Tyson was over the moon, we settled on the monetary side and everything else, the bits people don’t see and don’t realize goes on.
“Tyson and Usyk actually spoke to each other, Tyson invited him after the fight to go to Morecambe with his kids to have a weekend away.
“Honestly it was very easy, it got done very simply and this is where we are today.”
Regarding what was said in the phone conversation between Fury and Usyk, Brown recalled: “It was very quick and very simple.
“Tyson just said, ‘Thanks very much, look forward to meeting you in the ring. And after it all settles, I’d like you to come to Morecambe where I live, bring your kids and we’ll have a weekend.'”
Assuming Fury comes through unscathed against Ngannou as expected, it will be all systems go for the planned date of December 23 in Riyadh.