According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, the five fighters listed below are all in contention to land the golden ticket to challenge WBC World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury next.
Talks for Fury-Wilder 3 broke down after Deontay Wilder wasn’t going to be ready to fight until January and Fury wasn’t willing to wait around any longer.
The list is made up of world-ranked Top Rank fighters, as well as available fighters in the top 15 with the WBC.
Oscar Rivas (26-1, 18KOs)
No.1 Colombian Oscar Rivas is well known to UK fans for his 2019 summer showdown with Dillian Whyte which was a thrilling fight that saw Whyte knocked down in the ninth-round, but escaped the scare to win on points.
He has a notable win in the amateurs of Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in an Olympic qualifier, and he also defeated another Anthony Joshua opponent, Kubrat Pulev, at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, but lost to overall winner Roberto Cammarelle.
His biggest scalp as a pro was against world title contender Bryant Jennings in January 2019, who the took Joe Joyce the distance over 12-rounds for the only time in the Londoner’s career. ‘Boom Boom’ Rivas managed to stop the Philadelphian in the final round.
Agit Kabayel (20-0, 13KOs)
WBC #15; WBA #8; IBF #9
28-year-old German Agit Kabayel is a long-reigning European champion, who held the prestigious title for close to four years between June 2016-February 2020, before vacating for Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce to contend on November 2019.
In his last fight, he won the WBA Continental heavyweight title, formerly held by David Price.
He has done remarkably well considering he only had five amateur bouts before turning pro. He is now a world ranked, undefeated heavyweight, signed to Top Rank, close to landing a dream fight with the world no.1 Tyson Fury! Not bad for a kickboxer.
Efe Ajagba (14-0, 11KOs)
WBC #14; WBA #12
Efe Ajagba holds the record for the fastest ever victory in boxing history when his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring one second after the bell for the first round sounded.
An African Games champion, and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, the Nigerian is nicknamed ‘The One and Only’ and is currently undefeated in 14 fights.
He doesn’t have any notable names on his record, but his last five opponents have all been of respectable level to score victories against at this stage of his career, such as world title contender Razvan Cojanu and WBO European titlist Ali Eren Demirezen.
Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25KOs)
WBC #13; WBA #6; IBF #2
‘Prince Charles’, known mostly for his 2016 defeat to Anthony Joshua that crowned AJ as a world champion for the first time when he ripped the IBF belt away from the American in just the second round.
Remarkably, the Californian has propelled himself back into world title contention with five wins from six fights since his loss to Joshua. A surprise sixth-round TKO win over world title contender Gerald Washington in his last fight in February this year has seen the 34-year-old gatecrash the world rankings to be back in the mix for big fights in the future.
Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12KOs)
WBC #10; WBA #9; WBO #7
Once-beaten Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter, 32, doesn’t believe that he will be the man to face ‘The Gypsy King’, he recently revealed in an interview, stating that he represents more of a threat than original opponent Deontay Wilder, whilst adding “they’ll pick the easiest or softest opponent.”
The American had a stellar amateur career, winning national champions, as well scoring a World Junior bronze, where he lost to the overall winner, Christian Hammer. He once defeated the aforementioned Oscar Rivas in an Olympic qualifier for Beijing 2008. He didn’t qualify that time, but he did four years later for the London 2012 Olympics, but was eliminated by now-unified light-heavyweight world champion, Artur Beterbiev.
Way back in 2011, he was picked for his speed and quickness to be a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko ahead of his fight with David Haye.
As a pro, he has challenged unsuccessfully for the WBO World cruiserweight title to history-making superstar Oleksandr Usyk, but he surprised everyone with his performance by winning the opening rounds and troubling the Ukrainian for the first time in his career.
He upset home favourite Martin Bakole at the York Hall in 2018 to win the IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title; he then beat Alexander Ustinov for the WBA International belt in Monte Carlo, which he defended once against Fabio Maldonado via second-round TKO, then added the WBA Inter-Continental strap in his next fight with unbeaten Sergey Kuzmin at Madison Square Garden.
His last appearance was an all-out war with now-WBC interim champion Alexander Povetkin, which ended in a draw after a see-saw fight that swung back and forth.
Betting Odds Supplied by Star Sports
20/1 Otto Wallin
50/1 Filip Hrgovic
WBC #9; IBF #6; WBO #15