Tyson Fury could be forced to face Anthony Joshua next.
‘Gypsy King’ is currently preparing to fight former UFC titleholder Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on October 28 – but his WBC heavyweight belt won’t be on the line against the boxing debutant.
It was hoped that after his money-spinning fight with Ngannou, Fury would look to become the first four-belt champion in heavyweight history by facing WBA, WBO, and IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk.
However, the latest WBC rankings update has placed Deontay Wilder as Fury’s number one contender, with Joshua second on the list and Andy Ruiz dropping down to fifth.
This means that if AJ and ‘The Bronze Bomber’ finally fight, they will be facing off in a final eliminator to decide Fury’s next WBC mandatory challenger.
The winner would be granted a shot at Fury, and if he refuses to face them he could be stripped of his belt, according to the Daily Star, and Joshua or Wilder would face another top contender for the vacant strap.
Unfortunately, the WBC’s latest ranking update has come at a time when Joshua’s fight with Wilder is at risk of collapsing, according to a recent update from boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.
As of late, there’s been a shift in power when it comes to making big boxing bouts in Saudi Arabia and it’s left Joshua vs Wilder in limbo.
Skills Challenge Entertainment, whom Hearn has been negotiating with, has been replaced by a new entity that booked Fury’s fight with Ngannou.
“Everybody has agreed to terms, but until the money is put in place, the fight’s not happening,” he said.
“There’s a movement in management and ownership of boxing in Saudi, and it’s up to them what they want to do.
“If they don’t want to do Joshua-Wilder, maybe it goes somewhere else, but it’s one of the biggest fights in heavyweight boxing.”
Although Hearn remains intent on booking a fight with Wilder, it seems like just a matter of time before he is forced to look at alternative options.
The 44-year-old, who has worked with Joshua for a decade, suggested his star client could face Filip Hrgovic or Andy Ruiz in December before revisiting his long-time rivalry with Wilder.