Hopes of an epic trilogy fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder went up in smoke earlier this week after the Gypsy King said he grown tired of negotiations with the American’s team, with the pair unable to agree on a date.
Sportsmail exclusively revealed the third fight between the two had been abandoned, clearing the path for Fury to take on Anthony Joshua in an all-British undisputed title fight next year. But first he’s looking for opponent to take Wilder’s slot for a London bout this December.
Fury, the WBC king after stopping Wilder with a dominant display in Las Vegas in February, said he was ‘looking forward to smashing him again’, but said ‘enough was enough’ after the Bronze Bomber repeatedly tried to push the dates back.
He won’t be short of offers from potential opponents hoping to shock the world and scupper his dream of a mega fight against Joshua in 2021. A handful of stars have already come forward to challenge him – with his US promoter Bob Arum revealing a five-man shortlist of to pick from.
Sportsmail analyses Tyson Fury’s next possible bout, looking at their chances of earning a shot at his title.
Michael Hunter – 33/1
The highly regarded American looks to be a future star in the sport and has been tipped as a possible opponent for Joshua in the past – now he’s being considered as a serious candidate to face Fury.
But if the British fighter was hoping for a routine ‘warm-up’ fight to keep himself ticking over, Hunter will provide a wake-up call.
He might be a cheap option – with the 32-year-old claiming he would fight him for free – but ‘The Bounty’ feels Fury’s camp would still avoid him as he poses too much of a threat.
‘I would fight for free; I’d fight Tyson Fury for absolutely nothing. There’s a lot of budget being saved right there, and they still wouldn’t fight me.
‘I don’t think there’s going to be a fight with Tyson Fury because there are easier fights. They would rather have easier fights, but you never know.’
Hunter has just one defeat on his record – coming against Oleksandr Usyk when he was a cruiserweight. He has earned some impressive wins, stopping Alexander Ustinov as well as knocking out the highly rated Martin Bakole.
His last fight came against Alexander Povetkin on the card of Joshua v Ortiz II in Saudi Arabia last December. The fight was scored as a draw, but Hunter caused the Russian hitman plenty of problems and many saw him edging the contest.
Fury will be keen to be tested in December, but Hunter is perhaps too dangerous and could jeopardize a money-spinning fight with AJ.
Verdict: Outside bet
Oscar Rivas – 10/11
The Colombian is hoping to bounce back from his unanimous points loss to Dillian Whyte last summer, and Fury might fancy the clash since he’s spent so long out of the ring.
The 33-year-old may have lost to Whyte in 2019 but it came as his only career defeat – and floored the British star in the ninth round.
Rivas, who was on Arum’s list of five potential fighters, would be no walkover and is a skilled fighter who enjoyed a successful amateur career.
He suffered a defeat to his fellow candidate to face Fury in Michael Hunter in a 2008 Olympic qualifier, but later gave Andy Ruiz Jr one of his first defeats at the Beijing tournament. Rivas also beat Kubrat Pulev – who is set to face Joshua in December.
The fighter, known as ‘Kaboom’, is ‘the logical choice’ for Fury’s next opponent, according to his promoter, who says he is ready to step into the ring having originally been preparing for a bout on the undercard of his fight with Wilder.
‘Oscar is fit, available, ranked No 8 by the WBC and would gladly take the challenge,’ his co-promoter Yvon Michel told Sky Sports. ‘Now for December I believe Oscar would be the best and the logical choice for Fury in his first title defense.
‘We know Fury loves challenges and fights for the fans. Fury has written the best story of all for a fighter who became a heavyweight champion of the world and I am sure he is aware of Rivas’ story.’
Otto Wallin – 20/1
Fury hasn’t been seriously hurt too many times in his career, but he’ll remember a bruising encounter against Swedish fighter Otto Wallin, who caused a cut below his right eye so deep it required 47 stitches.
So, it’s no surprise Wallin is pining for a rematch to get his revenge after Fury won the fight on points. Many pundits believe the contest could have easily been waved off as Fury was hurt badly, but he survived until the final whistle and secured a win by unanimous decision.
Before the fight Fury had been in a typically pestering mood, standing behind Wallin at the press conference and smiling, but it was anything but a laughing affair when the pair stepped inside the ring.
Fury handed Wallin his only career defeat, and he recently bounced back with a stoppage win over Travis Kauffman this summer. His promoter Dmitriy Salita told of how his fighter is determined to emerge victorious this time around and wants a rematch thrashed out.
‘Otto called me as soon as he read about the possible fall out and said, “Let’s get the rematch, I am going to beat him!”, he told Sky Sports.
‘Tyson may be the best heavyweight in the world but the man that came closest to beating him, learned and improved as a result of that highest-level, world-class experience is Otto Wallin.’
But it’s highly unlikely Wallin would be given a shot next, as Fury is set to pick an opponent in the WBC’s top 15. The 29-year-old is currently ranked 21st.
Verdict: Outside bet
Agit Kabayel – 11/8
Tyson Fury has one thing in common with the German fighter – they both beat Dereck Chisora.
The 28-year-old secured a majority decision win over the Brit and last fought in July, battling to a points victory over Evgenios Lazaridis.
He isn’t a household name in the world of boxing, but he is undefeated in his career so far after 20 fights, with 13 coming by knockout. He’s never fought for a world title belt before, so could he now be eyeing up Fury’s strap?
Another name on Arum’s shortlist, Kabayel has emerged as ‘the leading candidate’ to face Fury next, according to ESPN, and his cause is aided by the fact that he fights under the same promotional company as Fury – Top Rank.
Efe Ajagba – 12/1
The first name to be mentioned by Arum when he revealed his five-man list of potential fighters, the Nigerian is another unbeaten prospect who is relatively young in boxing terms at just 26 years of age.
‘Five guys who are possible. There’s Efe, the African is there,’ the legendary promoter said.
He has won all 14 of his fights, with 11 stoppages, the last of which came with an unconvincing win over Jonathan Rice last month, so there will be less of an appetite for Fury’s team to line up a fight.
But with odds of 12/1 he still has every chance of being selected by Top Rank and his status as a young, unbeaten fighter should make him a more attractive proposition.
Charles Martin – 20/1
Famed as the man who became IBF world champion before losing it to Anthony Joshua in the following fight.
‘Prince Charles’ was downed twice in the second round and failed to beat the count, giving the British fighter a routine win in 2016.
Since then, he’s embarked on something of a rebuilding job – and to his credit he’s won five bouts by knockout since then, with just one loss to Adam Kownacki.
His form has seen him move up as IBF’s No.2 ranked fighter after a career-best stoppage of Gerald Washington, but he remains a lowly 13th in the WBC’s rankings.
Verdict: Outside bet
Luis Ortiz – 40/1
Lost twice to Wilder by knockout but caused him plenty of problems, a dangerous opponent for Fury and probably too high profile.
Filip Hrgovic – 50/1
Undefeated and underrated, the Croatian would pose a stern challenge to Fury’s WBC belt but is unlikely to be ready in time as he’s already set to face Rydell Booker in Las Vegas next month.
Andy Ruiz Jr – 50/1
Called out Fury earlier this year after he beat Wilder and said he was ‘here and ready’ to fight, but hasn’t fought since losing his world title belts to Anthony Joshua last December and is still looking to trim down and revamp his career.