As Tyson Fury finally brought an end to his historic rivalry with Deontay Wilder in emphatic style in Las Vegas, the 6ft 9 giant cleared the first hurdle of his five-fight plan outlined back in September.
The Gypsy King was true to his word as he entered the ring a mammoth 277lbs and utilised his newly-formed come-forward style, crafted under the guidance of trainer SugarHill Steward, as he handed the Bronze Bomber another grueling and gruesome evening.
Fury, his family and entourage toasted another successful evening in his ever-blossoming career as they disembarked the T-Mobile Arena to take on the famous Vegas nightlife, but after returning to the UK and retiring to his new £1.7million house in Morecambe, it’s what comes next that will now be at the forefront of the WBC champion’s mind.
Tyson Fury retained his WBC belt with an empathic stoppage win over Deontay Wilder
The Gypsy King outlined his five-fight plan in September, starting with victory over Wilder
Back in early September, when the heavyweight landscape was ruled by Fury and his long-term rival Anthony Joshua, the Gypsy King clearly outlined the plan for the rest of his career, which started with another victory over Wilder and ended with a more nostalgic trilogy bout against former rival and now friend Derek Chisora.
The list read: Wilder in Vegas on October 9, Dillian Whyte in December, most likely in Cardiff, a double-header with Joshua in 2022 and finally Chisora, once again in Cardiff, most likely next winter.
‘No problem with any of these bums,’ Fury told Sportsmail. ‘Yes, bums. That’s what I call them in comparison to myself, the best fighter of all time.’
And speaking about Wilder on BT Sport, he said: ‘By the end of the first round in Vegas he will have realised that he’s back where we left off and he’s about to be demolished again. This time in a lot less than seven rounds.’
He continued: ‘Dillian (Whyte) keeps going on about how he deserves a world title shot. Since I haven’t fought in England for a long time and Joshua won’t be ready for December, I’ll fit him in and shut him up. Easy. As long as he doesn’t ask for silly money because he doesn’t really want to fight me.
‘Joshua is just a body-builder while I’m the best heavyweight in the world, the better athlete, the most devastating puncher, the more flamboyant personality, the most handsome. He loses big, twice.
‘Chisora keeps calling me out so it will be fun for me to shut Ol’ Del Boy up once and for all.’
Fury had intended to fight Anthony Joshua next, before AJ’s one-sided loss to Oleksandr Usyk
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced that Joshua has activated his clause for the Usyk rematch
Fast-forward just a month and the heavyweight landscape looks somewhat different. There’s a new kid on the block who goes by the name of Oleksandr Usyk, a Ukrainian mastermind who bamboozled Joshua for 12 rounds as he snatched the Brit’s WBA, WBO and IBF titles in front of a perplexed capacity crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
An upset was always a possibility, but perhaps Fury’s subsequent claim that he remains the only undefeated fighter among the heavyweight top-dogs – forgetting Usyk’s 19-0 record – showed where his focus had been.
Fury later corrected himself, stating: ‘I forget Usyk has been a world champion for five minutes. I was talking about the group before, from years gone by, last 10 years, I am the last man standing – still here undefeated, a lone soldier.’
Fury and Joshua had initially been in talks for an all-British undisputed showdown to take place this summer before Wilder won his infamous arbitration case, but even after the disruption both camps remained on the same page: beat their respective opponents and get it on next year.
Joshua’s defeat has certainly thrown a spanner in the works; Eddie Hearn recently revealed the rematch clause has been activated, with the fight to take place early next year. But while it certainly alters the timeframe of Fury’s road to undisputed, perhaps it doesn’t change too much for the Gypsy King.
Fury’s intention was always to fight Whyte next, and after the ‘Body Snatcher’ was officially made mandatory challenger to his WBC strap, Joshua’s defeat perhaps only cleared the potentially muddied waters.
Had Joshua won, Fury would have had 30 days following his victory over Wilder to negotiate the undisputed clash. Instead, he will be free to take on Whyte while a fight for eternal glory takes a momentary back seat.
Dillian Whyte has now been named mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBC heavyweight belt
But he must first get past Otto Wallin (right) who caused Fury all sorts of problems back in 2019
Some may question why Fury would risk his belt against Whyte – his father John included, who has insisted it should be Usyk or no-one. But with Joshua and Usyk tied into a rematch, it makes sense for Fury to take care of his mandatory duty while keeping active and avoiding another lengthy lay-off.
It’s a fight Whyte – who was mandatory challenger to Wilder’s belt for over 1,000 days prior to his defeat to Alexander Povetkin, which he then avenged – is certainly craving.
‘Fury has the belt. Wilder had the chance to fight me for three years but didn’t,’ he told Sky Sports News. ‘Hopefully now the WBC forces my position and Fury has no choice.’
Fury’s next fight odds
Dillian Whyte – 5/4
Oleksandr Usyk – 3/1
Anthony Joshua – 6/1
Joseph Parker – 8/1
Andy Ruiz Jr – 10/1
*odds as per Betfair
Whyte does have a bout against Otto Wallin on October 30 to negotiate first, and many will recall the significant troubles the Swede gave Fury when they squared off in 2019.
But assuming the Brit gets through the test, Fury’s next fight seems clear – and it aligns with his September five-fight plan.
What comes next is is a chance to make history, though it’s not always that straightforward with the Gypsy King. Speaking poolside following his stunning victory over Wilder, the enigmatic heavyweight hinted now might be the time to call it a day.
‘I don’t know what’s going to happen,’ he told The Telegraph. ‘I’ve got one fight left on my contract with Top Rank and ESPN and we’ll see what that is. But I’m not thinking about boxing right now. I don’t know how many fights I’ve got left. I don’t know if I need to fight anymore. I don’t know what the future holds.’
He continued: ‘I will always have been the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, Ring magazine champion, that will not evaporate in history, but once it is done, it is done and you cannot get it back.’
Fury’s right. He has and will always have been a unified heavyweight champion who has at one point held all of the belts – but he’s never been an undisputed champion. And with that still a genuine possibility, there’s no way he’ll throw away the chance to be truly remembered in history forevermore.
Former cruiserweight king Usyk now holds the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight belts
So, assuming Fury takes on and gets past Whyte, it’s a shot at the undisputed championship up next. That could still be a double-header against Joshua, starting in 2022, or it could of course be against Usyk.
Fury’s UK promoter Frank Warren has certainly made his thoughts clear, insisting Joshua will lose the rematch and imploring the 31-year-old to step aside to allow an undisputed fight to take place.
‘He (Joshua) shouldn’t be going through with it (the rematch against Usyk),’ Warren told Sky Sports.
‘I think Usyk will beat him again. If there had been another 20 seconds, Usyk would have stopped AJ. He wobbled him early and nearly took him out. Next time around he will fancy knocking AJ over. I can’t see AJ winning that rematch.
‘If he knocks it on the head, it opens the door for us to do the unification (Fury vs Usyk). Let AJ get a warm-up fight. He needs a winning mentality before he goes into (a rematch with Usyk).’
It’s a suggestion that was also previously given by Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum, which Hearn quickly responded to. It was a resounding no.
Crucially, Usyk – who wasn’t overly impressed by Fury’s performance against Wilder – has already outlined his intentions to face the British giant should he come through the rematch against Joshua.
‘The fight we saw on Saturday night (Fury vs Wilder) was not an impressive one,’ Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told talkSPORT. ‘As a fight, it was a huge performance. But as a boxing match, it didn’t look like (one).
He continued: ‘So I consider Usyk’s chances to be pretty high if he uses his boxing IQ and the way he used to box with AJ.’
Fury’s final opponent on his five-fight plan was Derek Chisora, who has beaten twice before
Fury’s final opponent on his five-fight plan was former foe and now friend Chisora, who fights Joseph Parker for a second time later in December.
Having fought and beat the veteran heavyweight on two prior occasions, first in 2011 and second in 2014, the bout would represent nothing more than a goodbye to the sport; one last hurrah.
But where Fury’s road to undisputed remains clear, perhaps is final outing is less so. That’s because a showdown with Joshua will forever be a major draw, and even should he lose to Usyk once more, Warren has insisted a future fight can still be made.
‘Usyk would be a massive fight,’ he told BBC Sport. ‘The Joshua fight is still a massive fight.
‘I do believe the public buys into that fight even if AJ isn’t champion. If he did fight Tyson he would have a lot to prove and I do think the public would buy into it.’
Ideally for Fury, certainly from a commercial standpoint, Joshua wins the rematch with Usyk and the pair do eventually get their undisputed showdown.
But if not, Fury’s options remain clear regardless: Whyte, an undisputed double-header and a farewell fight, with Chisora still an option. Though the circumstances have changed, Fury’s five-fight plan is still very much alive.