First it is important to stress that for some boxing purists, the ‘Gypsy King’ remains the undefeated Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World, even though he was stripped of his Ring Magazine belt before the start of his long-awaited comeback fight against former cruiserweight Sefer Seferi. Looking at the heavyweight title picture in terms of 'Lineal’ championships; Anthony Joshua (IBF, WBO & WBA ‘Super’), Deontay Wilder (WBC), and the newest addition to the alphabet heavyweight mess, WBA ‘Regular’ champion Manuel Charr, are all only belt holders and not true world champions in the strictest sense of the term.
In an interview last year (2017) for IFL TV on YouTube the 29-year-old congratulated Charr on winning the newly revived WBA ‘Regular’ belt, before quickly joking he’d knock him out in the first round. Even if Fury was only at 50% of what he was against Klitschko, it would be hard to see a fringe world level fighter like Charr beat him. Ironically, if Fury did win the WBA ‘Regular’ belt, it would give that title a legitimacy it has never achieved with hardcore boxing fans, as it would then be in the possession of the Lineal Champion.
The remaining alphabet sanction body champions are legitimate elite level heavyweights, however, and Tyson Fury will have to be physically close to his career best to defeat them. Maybe back in 2015, Fury could have defeated them all with ease, but these fighters have been active since then and remained undefeated, they are all learning and the gap between them and Fury’s career best is narrowing all the time. Anthony Joshua demonstrated this with his KO win over Klitschko, something Fury didn’t come close to doing in his 2015 showdown with the long reigning champion. And only last year (November 4, 2017) in Wilder’s rematch with former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne did we see what can happen to a former world level heavyweight fighter after a long absence from the ring and significant weight gain; the first Haitian born world heavyweight champion, Stiverne, was knocked out in the first round by the ‘Bronze Bomber’, Wilder. How far Fury has slipped from his career defining night against Wladimir Klitschko in Düsseldorf, Germany, now over 1,000 days ago, is hard to judge based on his comedy quasi-exhibition ‘fight’ against.
The good news is that he looked close to getting down to a good fighting weight for the near 6 ft. 9 giant. The bad news is, despite the occasional flashes of the old ‘Gypsy King’, Fury looked awkward and very beatable at times. All the cloning seemed to be simply a means of covering up that Fury’s timing was off and that the undefeated fighter needed serious rounds under his belt to shake off all the ring rust, before he would be ready for a real fight with a David Price or Shannon Briggs, never mind one of the reigning world champions. Another fighter who would be eager to take advantage of the ring rust is WBA Cruiserweight Emeritus Champion, Tony Bellew. Fresh off exploiting the weaknesses he (Bellew) saw in David Haye, 'The Bomber’ was asked by Sky Sports who he wanted to challenge next. Bellew, 35, listed Tyson Fury as one of the fighters that would be of interest to him, but explained why he did not think Fury would take the fight: "I understand why Tyson doesn't want to come anywhere near me with the calibre of opponents he will be facing. I am a vast step up. He's making David Haye look like he faced Ivan Drago in his comeback, with this opponent.”
With the likes of Bellew, David Price and even former lineal champion Shannon Briggs showing interest in fighting Fury next, the announcement that Italian heavyweight Francesco Pianeta will be Fury’s next opponent was a disappointment to most boxing fans. But after the fight, which served as nothing more than a media event to mark Tyson Fury’s official return to boxing, this calibre of heavyweight is understandable. And at least Pianeta is a genuine heavyweight unlike Seferi. Baring a massive upset on August 19, which while unlikely can always happen in heavyweight boxing, fight fans will be expecting Fury to fight a legitimate fringe world/European title level fighter next. What no one could predict after the Seferi fiasco, however, was Fury's promoter Frank Warren's comments on Monday morning (July 30) while being interviewed on Talksport, that he was talking with Deontay Wilder's team about making a fight between the lineal and WBC champs before the end of the year, in November, or December.
Tony Bellew, who was also being interviewed on the radio station was sceptical about Fury challenging Wilder so soon. The former WBC cruiserweight king simply putting Warren's comments down to hyping Fury's fight with Pianeta at Windsor Park: making the logical argument that if Fury is fighting the likes of Pianeta, instead of more credible opponents such as himself (Bellew), why would Fury take the risk against a legitimate heavyweight knockout artist such as Wilder?
The answer, of course, is money. While an all British showdown between Bellew, coming off two KO wins over David Haye, would be pay per view worthy in the UK; a fight with Deontay Wilder on pay per view on both sides of the Atlantic would make a lot more money. And, if Fury can avoid Wilder's knock out power for 12 rounds, and win on points in the same manner as he did against Klitschko in 2015, it would set Fury up for better split with Joshua in their eventual collision for the lineal and undisputed heavyweight title. It is, of course, a massive if, and if Fury can somehow pull it off it will be the biggest comeback since Ali-Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, 1974.