Oleksandr Usyk has set Tyson Fury a deadline of March 4 for their proposed undisputed world heavyweight title showdown to take place, Abbeylivenetwork.com reports.
On the back of defeating Anthony Joshua for a second time in August, it was initially felt that the Ukrainian would go up against Fury before the end of the year.
However, Usyk told Queensberry Promotions that he would not be ready for November or December, leading to Fury to arrange a third fight with Dereck Chisora.
Fury, the WBC title holder, and promoter Frank Warren have frequently stated that a date of December 3 was necessary in order to facilitate a clash with Usyk in February or March.
Usyk has now backed up those suggestions, saying that he wants to put his IBF, WBA and WBO belts on the line by March 4 at the latest.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Portugal, Usyk said: “Right now my team is seeking conversations with Tyson Fury, and he is really an unpredictable person, so we can’t guarantee when.
“For me, the idea would be to fight maybe early February or the beginning of March, like March 4, because I am an orthodox Christian.
“During the great fasting before Easter I do not fight, so it should be all before or then after orthodox Easter.”
As well as Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, this also played a part in Usyk’s rematch with Joshua being delayed until August 20, and the likelihood is that a similar period would occur if Fury’s camp are not ready for March 4.
If Fury agrees to that date, he would be left with just 13 weeks between facing Chisora and participating in the most historic fight of his career.
That would represent a faster turnaround when Joshua would have received had the respective parties successfully negotiated a contract for an all-British mega fight on December 3.