Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren revealed on March 20 that his heavyweight charge Tyson Fury (27-0-1) will face an opponent ranked in the top five in the world next, after negotiations with Deontay Wilder broke down.
With Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) defending his WBC strap to Dominic Breazeale (20-1) on May 18, and Anthony Joshua (22-0) putting his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO belts on the line to Jarell Miller (23-0-1) on June 1; that leaves a very short list of a dozen possible candidates left: Dillian Whyte (25-1); Luis Ortiz (31-1); Adam Kownacki (19-0); Manuel Charr (31-4); Trevor Bryan (20-0); Otto Wallin (20-0); Kubrat Pulev (26-1); Agit Kabayel (19-0); Tom Schwarz (24-0); Oscar Rivas (26-0); Joe Joyce (8-0); Fres Oquendo (37-8).
WBC Silver Champion; WBC #1; WBA #4; WBO #1
Frank Warren is trying to lure the only Brit on that list, Dillian Whyte, away from Matchroom, possibly to match with Fury. With intended opponent Breazeale ditching their WBC interim heavyweight title fight, the 'Body Snatcher' is looking for someone to fight, and the pair, who are both colourful characters, will make for a huge domestic dust-up. Brixton's Jamaican-born Whyte is probably the highest-ranked of all possible contenders.
Cuban powerhorse Luis Ortiz was the only other opponent to trouble Wilder, with just one point seperating the heavyweights on the scorecards before 'The Bronze Bomber' ended the fight clinically in the 10th-round. Ortiz and Fury's combined successes over the same opponent could make sense for them to meet in the squared circle next.
Within one year of his sole career loss, 'King Kong' reeled off three one-sided wins over decent competition in Razvan Cojanu (16-3); Travis Kauffman (32-2), and Christian Hammer (24-5).
WBC #5; IBF #4
Unbeaten Polish puncher Adam Kownacki has 15 KOs from his 19 victories and his resume is quite impressive. His last win was a second-round stoppage over world title contender Gerald Washington (19-2-1), which followed a close points decision over former world titlist Charles Martin (25-1-1). That brace of notable wins followed on from victories over Georgian Iago Kiladze (26-1) and world title contender Artur Szpilka (20-2).
WBA World Champion
Despite failing a doping test towards the end of last year, canceling his scheduled September 29 world title fight with mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo, the German-based 'Diamond Boy' is still listed as the WBA world heavyweight champion, making him the only other world titlist out there other than Wilder and Joshua. However, reports suggest that Charr is in negotiations to face the next man on the list - Bryan.
WBA Interim Champion
The New Yorker is the current interim WBA world heavyweight champion after stopping BJ Flores (20-0) in four last August. As the 'Regular' champion Manuel Charr is currently inactive, it's very possible that a fight with the 29-year-old from Schenectady could end up with the WBA world title on the line, unless Charr defends it soon.
Despite not being heavily linked to a fight with Fury, Bryan could actually make more sense than anyone else on the list, but he could be challenging for the full title next, according to reports.
WBA #5; IBF #5
The unbeaten Swede fights on April 13 against Nick Kisner (21-4-1), which safely rules him out as the next opponent for Fury. However, he could be a future foe, as the former EBU-EU champion's 21st contest is his first in America, as he looks to start mixing it at world level.
Another possible contender, Kubrat Pulev, is already scheduled to fight on March 23 against Bogdan Dinu (18-1), so may not be ready in time to face Fury so soon after in May. With the Bulgarian inflicting a defeat on cousin Hughie Fury's record, Tyson may want revenge for the family.
The EBU heavyweight champion is currently being chased by mandatory challenger Joe Joyce, after Otto Wallin's withdrawal, so a world title shot may not be a consideration for the German. However, being rated #8 by the WBC, #3 IBF and #9 WBO, it makes him a credible contender, but fight fans would find this match-up hugely underwhelming.
The 24- German heavyweight is the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight champion and although it seems like a title beneath the likes of 'Lineal' champion Tyson Fury, it would be an easy fight for Frank Warren to make with his close ties to the World Boxing Organisation. The rumours of this fight being made have been escalating every day and Schwarz is beginning to emerge as the front runner for Fury's next fight.
Colombia’s 'Kaboom', Oscar Rivas, skyrocketed up the heavyweight rankings with a career-best win over Bryant Jennings in January. Following the 12th-round TKO victory, the 31-year-old with 18 KOs from 26 wins is now linked to Top Rank/ESPN and looking for his next challenge.
WBA Gold Champion
The Commonwealth heavyweight champion is now the owner of a brand-new WBA 'Gold' belt, introduced for his fight with former world champion Bermane Stiverne, which ended in a one-sided sixth-round stoppage for the Londoner known as the 'Juggernaught'. That win placed him in the mandatory position for the WBA world title.
The 33-year-old doesn't seem to have much interest in Fury, as it's very early days in his career still, instead he's hunting down the European title or the 'Regular' WBA belt, which are held by the aforementioned Kabayel and Charr, respectively; although manager, Sam Jones, has been very vocal about a fight with Charles Martin next, who went the 10-round distance with the aforesaid Kownacki in September 2018. Purse bids have also been called by the BBBofC for Joyce to face Daniel Dubois for the British heavyweight title.
Despite not fighting since his world title loss to Ruslan Chagaev (32-2-1) in 2014, the Puerto Rican was scheduled to face Manuel Charr late last year before the fight was cancelled. The 46-year-old could still have one more fight left in him and is, bizarrely, still ranked as high as No.3 in the WBA standings.
Tweet us with who you would want to see Fury fight next: @britboxing_
WBC #6; IBF #13
Although he has slipped out of the top five in the rankings due to two consecutive losses to Joshua and Whyte, you can't disregard New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (25-2) as a possible opponent for 'The Gypsy King' Despite losing his WBO world title in 2018 and then dropping a points decision to Whyte, he managed to end the year on a third-round TKO win over Alexander Flores (17-1-1) back in his homeland.
The 27-year-old is also guided byTop Rank/ESPN in his career and Duco Event’s David Higgins recently declared their willingness to face Fury next, so he is ready and waiting. As a former Joshua and Whyte victim, the fight does make sense for Warren to make, but, being very fickle, he isn't ranked in the top five with any governing body right now.
Undisputed cruiserweight world champion
The history-making cruiserweight king has now stepped up to heavyweight and is rumoured to be facing Alexander Povetkin on May 18 in Atlantic City. That rules him out as a potential next opponent for Fury and the Olympic gold medalist seems to have his eye on Anthony Joshua instead. However, he is hungry for glory and will fight anyone, just like he did in the crusierweight division where he scooped up every belt available.