LONDON - The undisputed heavyweight championship bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia has been postponed after Fury suffered a cut during sparring, promoters Queensberry Promotions said on Friday.

The 'Ring of Fire' bout, scheduled for Feb. 17 in Riyadh, was set to unify Fury's WBC heavyweight championship with his Ukrainian rival's WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts, crowning the first unified heavyweight boxing champion since 1999.

"I am absolutely devastated after preparing for this bout for so long and being in such superb condition. I feel bad for everyone involved," Briton Fury said in a statement.

"Once the doctors have appraised Tyson's eye we will have a better idea of the period of recovery needed," a spokesperson for Queensberry Promotions said.

Fury, 35, won his WBC championship after knocking out Deontay Wilder in February 2020, while 37-year-old Usyk won his belts after outscoring Anthony Joshua in September 2021.

Both boxers are undefeated in their professional careers.

"I will work diligently towards the rescheduled date once the eye has healed. I can only apologise to everyone affected," Fury added.

Flights and hotels had already been booked for many of those attending the fight from abroad.

Usyk's camp expressed scepticism about the news, despite Queensberry posting a picture of the 'freak cut' above Fury's right eye that it said required 'significant stitching'.

The Ukrainian's manager Egis Klimas told Sky Sports television that Fury "will do anything to not face Usyk" and suggested that maybe the Briton was "hit by a frying pan which he asked for".

Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk also replied to an Instagram post by Fury with the comment: "Wish you soonest recovery. God sent you a sign. Think of retirement, brother."

Quensberry's Frank Warren told talkSPORT radio that the fight would definitely happen once Fury had recovered.

"It’s the fight that everybody wanted and because of the Riyadh Season, His Excellency (Saudi entertainment head Turki Alalshikh) and all his team, that’s why the fight is happening and nothing is going to impair it or stop it going on," Warren said.

"It’s unfortunate where we are but we will make sure that it will occur because it’s the fight that everybody wants to see."

Warren said Fury had been sparring with a Croatian heavyweight whose elbow caught Fury over the eye.

(Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru/Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)