Tyson Fury is having a hard time finding a dance partner to challenge for his WBC World Heavyweight title, but the sanctioning body are apparently about to make things a whole lot simpler.
The man from Morecambe was last out in December of 2022 – a one-sided beating of Derek Chisora – before entering negotiations with unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk, to make an undisputed fight.
Those talks collapsed in a heap a couple of months ago, and look set to be revisited for the end of the year in Saudi Arabia, leaving Fury desperate for a summertime opponent but unable, so far, to find one.
As Usyk readies himself to face his first mandatory challenger – WBA’s Daniel Dubois – the WBC have been less proactive with their champion.
The sanctioning body called a final eliminator between the number one and two ranked heavyweights, Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr, last November. The winner would then be ordered to challenge Fury, but a fight never materialised.
Frank Warren has now told TalkSPORT that he will be meeting with the WBC’s President, Mauricio Sulaiman, this week, and he expects them to call a mandatory defence.
Working down the rankings, it’s still perhaps no clearer as to who will end up in the ring with Fury. Contenders don’t have to accept a mandatory challenge if the letter lands on their doorstep.
As mentioned, Wilder is number one. He’s all but ruled out given he’s faced Fury three times, drawn one and lost two, and is, by all accounts, days away from signing to face Anthony Joshua at the end of the year.
Ruiz at number two has apparently already been approached but asked for too much money. A mandatory challenge could sort this with the purse split pre-determined.
Next up is Anthony Joshua, who has the Wilder plans and is dubious as to whether or not Fury’s latest fight offer was real.
In at number four is Cuba’s Frank Sanchez – a 22-0 heavyweight who’s yet to have a twelve rounder. He doesn’t currently have a fight scheduled.
At number five is Arslanbek Makhmudov, a Russian knockout artist who’s due to fight on July 1, and may have problems challenging for the WBC’s belt given their sanctions on his country.
Sixth is Dillian Whyte, who Fury beat handily last year, followed by Martin Bakole at number seven. Bakole has said he’ll fight Fury, but it’s hard to see the sanctioning body going that far down the rankings for a mandatory defence.
In short, Fury may have an opponent presented to him soon – whether or not that materialises into the September fight in the UK that he so desires remains to be seen.