After Fury’s stunning win – what next for the heavyweight division?

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Deontay Wilder is set to take Tyson Fury into a trilogy, Dillian Whyte is the mandatory challenger and everyone wants to see a unification mega-fight with Anthony Joshua – what happens next for the heavyweight division?

  • Tyson Fury delivered a performance for the ages to beat Deontay Wilder 
  • American said he will be activating his rematch clause to cement a trilogy fight 
  • But there is clamour for an all-British unification bout with Anthony Joshua
  • Dillian Whyte and Andy Ruiz are also players in the heavyweight landscape
  • READ: Sportsmail’s fight report on the bell from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas 

Tyson Fury’s stunning victory over Deontay Wilder has set the heavyweight division alight. 

The ‘Gypsy King’ is now on boxing’s throne and even though Anthony Joshua holds most of the belts, his domestic rival has the aces.  

Here, Sportsmail inspects how the landscape has changed and who the major names could fight next over the coming months. 

Tyson Fury’s stunning win over Deontay Wilder was headline news around the world

Tyson Fury 

The lineal and now WBC heavyweight champion of the world is a crossover megastar. The manner of his win over Deontay Wilder and ability to milk a crowd means he fits in Las Vegas like hand in glove. 

You’d imagine Fury would have wanted to capitalise on this momentum and take on Anthony Joshua in an all-British fight for the ages to unify the division. The general consensus among fans is that this is the fight they want next.

But there is a major spanner in the works here – Wilder said he will be activating his rematch clause, forcing Fury to complete a trilogy against him. 

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum confirmed on Saturday night that they would honour the contract if that’s what Wilder opted to do. 

The ‘Gypsy King’ delivered an incredible performance to dominate the American champion

Fury said: ‘I need to enjoy this victory and Deontay will need time to recover from the fight, but I’m almost sure that he will take a rematch because he’s a dynamite puncher. 

‘At any time he can take somebody out. With that danger, then you’re always in a fight. I’m pretty sure we’ll run it back again if he wants to. But if he doesn’t want to, these are my promoters and whatever they want to do, I’m happy with. Whoever’s next will get the same treatment, that’s for sure.’

Television companies may have been more reluctant for the rematch. Many felt Fury was robbed in the first fight and aside from the knockdowns it was one-way traffic. 

To back the first performance up with a comprehensive, dominant dismantling of Wilder in the second means appetite to see it for a third time is surely reduced. It is a much harder product to sell to the audience again, particularly with casual fans. 

Fury may have to fight Wilder for a third time if the beaten man enacts his rematch clause

With a rematch all but confirmed, Fury will be looking to put on another spectacle and keep himself in the running for an undisputed fight after admitting he only sees himself fighting for another two or three years.  

The likes of Dillian Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk had been mooted as alternative bouts but when asked about fighting Usyk he said: ‘I want the big fights people are interested in and that ain’t one of them.’   

Fury is blockbuster and needs a dance partner to give him an event to be excited about. Should he come through against Wilder again, Joshua is the only other man who fits the bill at the moment.  

AJ has spoken in the past of his interest in fighting Fury but has been quiet since his countryman’s victory. 

There was one picture posted on Joshua’s Instagram story of Fury’s Nigeria mouthguard from the fight but no messages of lengthy praise for his domestic rival. 

The Watford-born fighter will be disappointed to hear that Wilder has invoked the clause and now looks set to take on Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, possibly in June. His promoter Eddie Hearn had tried to drum up anticipation for Joshua v Fury and had warned that viewers didn’t want to see FuryWilder3.

‘I don’t think anyone wants to see a third fight, it was that conclusive, but we will see if he wants to exercise that,’ Hearn said. ‘I probably expect Wilder [to take the rematch]. I don’t see where else he has to go.’ 

Anthony Joshua could unify all the belts if he manages to fight Fury at some point in the future

‘Our preference is to go straight into it because it would be undisputed. We will never get the opportunity in this sport to do it again with two Brits. I have already spoken to AJ, he wants this fight. He has zero fear of fighting Tyson Fury and he wants to be undisputed.’

Given the manner of his win on Saturday night, Fury would enter a fight with Joshua as the favourite, which might well suit the former Olympic champion. 

He is riding high off the back of his redemptive triumph in Saudi Arabia and the revenge over Ruiz felt like a watershed moment in his career. 

Joshua boxed beautifully that night but there were plenty of questions over the poor condition of his Mexican opponent who had been filling the tank with food rather than emptying it in training in the build up.  

Eddie Hearn had been pushing for Fury to take on Joshua in a massive unification fight

Hearn said he was hopeful a deal could have been done with Fury as his promoter Bob Arum also represents Pulev, giving them a chance to delay the mandatory bout to stage the huge all-British contest. Now, the pair will likely have to wait for a clash – possibly until 2021. 

‘Our mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev is also promoted by Bob Arum,’ Hearn reasoned. ‘Tyson Fury’s promoter, so there is a very easy manoeuvre there if Wilder doesn’t want the rematch to go straight into this undisputed fight in the summer.’

‘And it doesn’t really matter because we fight Pulev at Spurs in June and this fight happens in November/December. But our preference is to go straight into it’, he added on TalkSport.

Deontay Wilder 

It always seemed likely that Wilder would go for the trilogy. The reality is, there really was nowhere else for the American to go. Fury is the biggest fight in boxing and probably most lucrative too. It makes sense from a financial and career perspective for him to have another crack, even if his chances of winning seem remote. 

Fury manhandled, outboxed and overpowered Wilder but with that famous right hand, there’s always a chance he could produce a shock on his day. The purse was a 50-50 split on Saturday but would now be 60-40 in Fury’s favour, that’s still a hefty payday for the ‘Bronze Bomber’.

Wilder will force Fury back into the ring in a third bout to win back his WBC world title belt

The beaten man was unhappy at the way it ended with his team throwing in the towel and that sense of injustice will probably be burning. He wanted to go out on his shield and he might now have his wish.   

After the fight, his trainer Jay Deas said his man would activate the rematch clause, saying: ‘These guys have put on two tremendous fights already, so I certainly think that the public will want it.

‘And I think we’ll want it and I think they’ll want it, so it seems natural. I think that’s what you’ll see happen.’

The ‘Bronze Bomber’ has nowhere else to go other than take on Fury for a third time

Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel also indicated that would be the case.

His lack of options were glaring. Joshua would have been the only other name on a similar level to Fury, but there wasn’t much to gain for AJ to fight him.

The injury to Wilder’s ear against Fury isn’t thought to be serious so he won’t be sidelined for long. The summer seems the most likely time for the trilogy fight and Las Vegas would be favourite to play host with the new state-of-the-art Raiders stadium a possibility.  

Andy Ruiz 

Who next for the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history?

His reign on the throne was short-lived and it seems Ruiz is ill-equipped to handle the trappings of stardom. 

He earned enough money from the Joshua rematch to set himself and his family up for life so the hunger for work can be legitimately questioned.   

Andy Ruiz was well beaten by Anthony Joshua and has to work his way back to a title shot

‘It’s hard to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas’, Marvin Hagler famously warned and it seems as though Ruiz found out first hand. 

He’s still a dangerous opponent with lightening fast hands, a solid chin and clever boxing brain so few will want to fight him. 

Dominic Breazeale, who was obliterated by Wilder in a round last year, seems a likely option. Both men are coming off defeats, have a reasonable profile, especially in the US and it would be a chance for Ruiz to prove he can commit to the sport. 

Jarrell Miller is another who might fit the bill but the big names remain out of reach for now.   

The Mexican needs to prove he still has the drive to succeed at the top of the division

Dillian Whyte   

The WBC mandatory challenger had a legitimate claim to fight Fury next up, had Wilder not activated a rematch.

Having lost his mandatory tag after an adverse finding in a drugs test last year, he was later found not to have committed any wrongdoing and the WBC reinstated him. 

Whyte and Wilder had been building up a grudge match, largely centred on the Brixton fighter’s claims that the American was avoiding him like the plague. 

Now Fury is the champion and he is the mandatory so it didn’t take long for Whyte to make himself heard on Twitter. 

Dillian Whyte has won 11 fights in a row and is the WBC mandatory challenger to Fury

Whyte hit back at his own promoter Eddie Hearn after feeling overlooked following the result

He responded to Eddie Hearn’s post calling for Fury vs Joshua by writing: ‘How about doing what’s right and forcing him to fight me first as the number 1 challenger.’

Whyte has the mandatory tag until 2021 so there’s no rush for Fury to fight him or risk being stripped of his title for a while. 

It seems unlikely that he’ll get the call-up, despite winning 11 in a row since losing to Joshua back in 2015. 

He told Sky Sports: ‘Listen, he should be fighting me next, regardless of whatever he thinks, whatever AJ thinks,’ said Whyte, who has already secured a guaranteed WBC title shot by February 2021.

Whyte thinks he has the style to trouble Fury and believes he should be the next in line

‘I deserve it. I’ve worked hard for my title shot and I keep fighting and I keep risking my position. I’ve been No 1 contender for ages now. They should fight no-one else, apart from me. I’ve done everything that is required of me, so now it’s my turn.  

‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already started talking about the [Anthony Joshua] fight. Fury won’t face me, unless he gets put in a position, where he has to face me.

‘Everybody is going to be: ‘He just beat Wilder.’ That don’t mean s***. This is boxing and styles make fights. Tyson Fury knows I’ve got what it takes to beat him.’

With a fight against Fury or Wilder looking off the cards for the time being, Whyte has been rumoured to be closing in on a fight against Alexander Povetkin in June. 




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