The boxing world was collectively stunned to silence last year when unified world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury vacated his championships due to personal issues relating to his mental health. Now attention has turned to who the possible Tyson Fury opponents could be upon his return.
The only man to defeat the world’s most dominant heavyweight in ten years found himself without the titles he fought so hard for, yet the public were quick to offer their support.
Now, with the excellent news that Fury is in training and planning a summer comeback, attention turns to which opponent will find themselves facing the former champion.
Here are five potential combatants who could attempt to derail the return of the self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’:
5) David Allen
Far from the most accomplished name on this list, David Allen represents the portion of the heavyweight division striving to reach world level, but find themselves climbing through the domestic scene.
Still, the ‘White Rhino’ offers explosive power in either fist and despite a hard-fought loss to Luis Ortiz his infectious smile and sense of humour seem to be aiding his gradual rise in the ranks and public persona.
He and Fury sharing a ring might offer a few laughs as well as a decent scrap.
4) Dillian Whyte
A top-ranked heavyweight contender, Whyte’s biggest test to date came against the current IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
While he eventually found himself losing via a crushing KO he was able to stand with Joshua and even rocked the division’s newest superstar in the second round.
A ‘Fight of the Year’ contender against former Fury foe Derek Chisora only helped cement him as legitimate world-title level fighter, although if rumours are to be believed a Chisora rematch or even a shot at WBC champ Deontay Wilder may be on the cards first.
3) Luis Ortiz
A recognisable heavyweight on numerous shores, Ortiz has made his name producing eye-catching stoppages against decent opposition in the past few years.
He certainly has the power to trouble any heavyweight however, at thirty-seven, he isn’t the freshest possible challenger.
Even so, his current signing to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom in the UK can only increase his chances of a big-scale Fury match-up happening.
2) Tony Bellew
After successfully stunning David Haye in one of the biggest upsets in British boxing history, the man they call the ‘Bomber’ was quick to mention some big names in his post-fight thoughts, a certain Mr Fury included.
He may have only had only one fight at the weight and Haye may have been seriously injured for the majority of the fight, but there’s no doubt up until the injury it was one of the most controlled, disciplined performances we’ve seen from the Liverpool man.
He was holding his own against the ‘Hayemaker’ and he looked good doing it.
Maybe he is deserving of a run in the division, and what better way to announce himself than by taking on another former world heavyweight champion. Can you imagine the press conference though?…
1) Any of the current heavyweight champions
It’s important to remember that Fury never actually lost any of his championships and remains an undefeated fighter.
Effectively, his decision to relinquish the belts was the smartest move at the time, not just for himself but for the division as a whole, and he should be commended for that.
No, he’s probably not going to be offered a title shot straight away, but there’s certainly an argument that he deserves his shot soon after his return, if not on his returning night. In many people’s eyes he is still the legitimate heavyweight champion of the world and should be treated as such.
I have a feeling it won’t take very long for Fury to find himself within the grasp of gold again.