Who is next for Tyson Fury? Here are 5 potential opponents

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Tyson Fury is still celebrating his knockout of Deontay Wilder in their instant classic Saturday in Las Vegas but people are already asking: What’s next for The Gypsy King?

Apparently it won’t be a fight against fellow titleholder Oleksandr Usyk, who is expected to face Anthony Joshua a second time early next year. The Ukrainian stunned Joshua and the boxing world by outpointing the big Briton to win three of the four major titles on Sept. 25. He must now honor a rematch clause, assuming Joshua demands that he does.

Of course, Fury could go directly into a showdown with Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship if Joshua agrees to step aside and then fight the winner of Fury vs. Usyk. That undoubtedly would require a massive payment to Joshua, however, It seems unlikely.

If Usyk vs. Joshua II happens, the soonest Fury could face the winner is next fall or even winter.

That leaves a number of solid, but lower-profile potential opponents for Fury to fight in the meantime. Here are five that could make for an interesting matchup with the WBC champ.

DILLIAN WHYTE VS. OTTO WALLIN WINNER

Whyte and Wallin are scheduled to meet in what should be a competitive fight on Oct. 30 at O2 Arena in London. Either man would be a legitimate opponent for Fury. Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) has had his ups and downs – including knockout losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, the latter of which he avenged by stoppage in his most-recent fight – but he’s a good-sized, capable heavyweight who resonates in Great Britain. Plus, Fury has hinted that Whyte is a logical next foe. Maybe it could take place in the U.K., where Fury hasn’t fought since 2018. Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs) already gave Fury a tougher challenge than expected in a unanimous-decision loss in September 2019. Fury fought through a horrific gash above his right eye, which probably hampered his effort. Still, Wallin won respect with his performance. A rematch doesn’t seem out of line.

ANDY RUIZ JR.

Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) would bring a good story into the ring, which is attractive to everyone involved in the promotion. He got to Joshua before Usyk did, taking him out seven rounds to win three shares of the championship as millions watched in astonishment in June 2019. Joshua turned the tables on an ill-prepared Ruiz by decision to regain his titles six months later but no one has forgotten what the chubby American did in the first fight. Could a quick, resilient and rededicated Ruiz do to Fury what he did to Joshua? A lot of people would be interested to find out. One more thing: Ruiz, ranked No. 2 behind Wilder by the WBC, presumably will rise to No. 1.

ROBERT HELENIUS

The 6-foot-6 Finn seemed to be irrelevant only a few years ago, the victim of nagging injuries. His eighth-round knockout loss to Gerald Washington in July 2019 felt like the one-time contender’s last gasp. Then, as his injuries – most notably a bad shoulder — finally healed, Helenius (31-3, 19 KOs) made surged back up the rankings. He stopped journeyman Mateus Osorio immediately after the setback to Washington and then destroyed rising young slugger Adam Kownacki of Brooklyn in back-to-back fights, the second time by disqualification on the Fury-Wilder III card. Helenius, 37, might have the size, power and experience to give Fury problems. It would be a fascinating matchup.

JOE JOYCE

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist from London would, like Whyte, make for a big fight in the U.K. Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) stopped Daniel Dubois in a showdown of unbeaten heavyweight prospects last November to rise into prime title contention, after which he stopped Carlos Takam in six this past July. He’s ranked in the Top 10 by three of the four sanctioning bodies, including No. 3 by the WBC. Joyce is a big man, 6-foot-6 and as much as 270 pounds. And he’s a capable boxer. His problem might be his age, 36, which is three years older than Fury. He needs to be moved quickly. And what better move than to face Fury?

FRANK SANCHEZ

Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) took a nice step in his career on the Fury-Wilder undercard, defeating fellow rising contender Efe Ajagba by a convincing unanimous decision. Sanchez doesn’t have the name recognition of the others on this list, which would probably hurt his chances of landing such a fight. And the product of the Cuban amateur system is a superb boxer who is adverse to taking risks, which makes him a relatively dull fighter. On the plus side, his skill set, quickness and athleticism might make him a legitimate threat to Fury. And while he’s not huge, at 6-4, 240 pounds, he wouldn’t be at a prohibitive size disadvantage. Purists might like this fight, the fans maybe not as much.

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