After Tyson Fury’s Statement Win What Is Next In The Heavyweight Division?
Last weekend, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder met for a third time and after one of the most dramatic heavyweight boxing fights of all time, Fury once again came out on top landing an 11th round stoppage to retain the WBC title belt he won in the last fight between the pair.
In what was a truly outstanding boxing bout, both boxers were on the canvas multiple times, Wilder in the third, fifth and finally eleventh rounds, while Fury was knocked down twice in the fourth round as both boxers produced a fight for the ages and one that will live long in the memory.
Fury’s victory though means that, along with Oleksandr Usyk’s win over Anthony Joshua a few weeks back, it is now those two boxers that hold all the heavyweight divisions belts.
However, Joshua, Wilder, plus a number of other stars such as Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz Jr. and the WBC’s mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte, who faces his own bout against Otto Wallin in a couple of weeks’ time, are all in the frame for a shot at either of the champions.
If you would like to have an early bet on the Dillian Whyte v Otto Wallin clash on the 30th October, then bet365 Sport is offering odds on the bout, with Whyte the 2/5 favourite ahead of Wallin the 7/4 outsider.
You will also be able to find odds on the fight if you are based in the United States and live in a state that allows sports betting with providers like BetRivers Sportsbook, which offers an extensive range of top boxing betting.
So, who are the movers and players that will shape the heavyweight landscape in the next couple of years and what bouts could we see next between them and what are the chances of that sought after unification fight?
Fury V Usyk – A Possibility?
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The fight many purists would like to see would be a unification bout. For a long time, that looked like it would be Joshua against Fury, before talks broke down and Joshua then lost his belts to Usyk a short time before Fury defeated Wilder in their third fight.
Now the dynamics have changed. Usyk holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO versions of the title, Fury is the WBC and Lineal Champion. Could these two unbeaten champions meet up to finally unify the division under a single champion?
Well, it is a possibility. The WBC have reportedly given Fury’s camp 30 days to negotiate a deal with Usyk to unify the belts. However, if a fight is not able to be sorted in that time, then the organisation have said their mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte will be Fury’s next opponent in a mandatory defence.
However, that is of course dependent on Whyte beating Wallin later this month and as we saw against Alexander Povetkin, where Whyte lost the first fight before winning the rematch, nothing is ever certain in heavyweight boxing.
It would be a just reward for the patient Whyte who had had to wait an extraordinary length of time for a shot at the title, but is it the fight that the boxing public want to see?
In a sport that is driven by the principle of satiating the demand of the public to see the fights they want to see, will the clamour for the heavyweight division to be unified once again see Usyk and Fury agree a fight?
We will find out over the next month or so. But that is not the only issue that will need sorting in what is a stacked heavyweight division now.
What Now For Joshua And Wilder?
Both former champions now have two losses on their cards, Joshua to Ruiz Jr and Usyk, Wilder’s both to Fury (plus he has a draw against the same opponent). Both though are far from spent forces in this division and the likelihood is that one, or both, will come again to try and challenge for the titles that they once held.
There has been talk about whether the two former Champions would face each other next. I think that is unlikely without both being in action at least once more to regain a bit of confidence against a lesser opponent.
If they were to meet then it could well be as an eliminator for another World title shot, perhaps against the then unified champion, whichever boxer that may be.
Other Contenders In The Mix?
However, there are other boxers who are putting themselves into contention for a world title shot at some point in the future. Andy Ruiz Jr, who defeated Anthony Joshua in 2019, has been training hard for another shot at the world title and he is ranked highly by a number of the different boxing organisations.
So too is New Zealand former champion Joseph Parker, who fights Dereck Chisora later this year, while there are some up and coming names to consider in the shape of Filip Hrgovic (13-0), Joe Joyce (13-0), Tony Yoka (11-0), Frank Sanchez (19-0), Michael Hunter (20-1-1), Trevor Bryan (21-0) and even the British pair Daniel Dubois (17-1) and Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin (25-3).
Luis Ortiz is another that could be in the mix, although his problems with failed drugs test would likely make anyone very wary of taking on the 42-year old Cuban.
It is likely that many of these contenders will probably end up facing each other in a series of bouts to help with their claims for a world title shot. At the moment, Fury and Usyk top the heavyweight rankings in many people’s eyes with Wilder and Joshua their main rivals. Whyte is perhaps the boxer who deserves his shot at a title next, but the politics of boxing make that far from a formality.
It is going to take a few big wins against some quality opponents for any of the fighters in the mix above to push themselves into genuine contention at that level. Most likely to come through that are Andy Ruiz Jr and Joseph Parker, although Joe Joyce is ranked very highly by a number of organisations and he is being talked about as a possible world title contender within the next two years.
Whether Fury and Usyk want to battle each other will determine what happens in the heavyweight division. If they do, then the eagerly awaited unification bout will likely take place next summer and you may well see Joshua, Whyte and Wilder involved in some kind of elimination competition to earn a shot at the unified champion. Perhaps with one or two of the fighters who emerge from the crowd to join the elite level.
If Fury and Usyk cannot agree a fight, then Fury will take on Dillian Whyte and Usyk will probably have his rematch with Anthony Joshua, after which talk will be of a unification bout, whichever of the four boxers win their respective fights.
Regardless, the heavyweight scene is in rude health at the moment and with so many great fights potentially to be made, it looks like being an exciting few years in the division.