What now for Tyson Fury? The Gypsy King has vowed to retire but a unification bout against Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua could prove too tempting to turn down… and a money-spinning fight with UFC star Francis Ngannou is an option
- READ: Tyson Fury stops Dillian Whyte with a stunning uppercut in the sixth round
- Fury hinted that the fight will be his last after promising his wife he would retire
- But the prospect of a fight with UFC star Francis Ngannou remains a possibility
- Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk may also tempt Fury back into the ring
- Sportsmail looks at what the future holds for the Gypsy King after his latest win
If you take Tyson Fury on his word, the Gypsy King has called it a day in the ring.
‘I have to be a man of my word. I think this is it,’ Fury said after a stunning sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 at Wembley Stadium.
‘This might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King. What a way to go out… I’ve fulfilled everything I’ve wanted to achieve, I’m going to retire as only the second heavyweight champion after Rocky Marciano to retire undefeated.’
But while Fury remains the WBC heavyweight champion there will always be a layer of scepticism to his retirement talk among fans who believe he can be tempted back in for both the millions he could earn and the prestige he could add to his resume.
Lest we forget that back in September, Fury outlined his dream five-fight plan: Deontay Wilder in Vegas on October 9, Whyte in December, most likely in Cardiff, a double-header with Joshua in 2022 and finally Chisora, once again in Cardiff, most likely next winter.
Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight belt against Dillian Whyte at a sold out Wembley
The Gypsy King ranked the decisive uppercut as the finest punch of his professional career
He defeated Wilder and Whyte with some ease and while facing Joshua may depend on how he comes through his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, hanging up his gloves just two fights into a five-fight plan has raised eyebrows.
In the ring in the aftermath to his win over Whyte, Fury talked up an exhibition matchup with UFC star Francis Ngannou, while the prospect of unifying the heavyweight division may prove just too enticing to ignore after Joshua completes his rematch with champion Usyk.
‘I promised my lovely wife Paris of 14 years that after the (Deontay) Wilder third fight, that would be it. And I meant it. We had a war. It was a great trilogy,’ Fury added.
‘But I got offered to fight at Wembley at home, and I believe that I owed it to the fans, I owed it to every person in the United Kingdom to come here and fight at Wembley. Now it’s all done.’
He will have options, as every great champion does, and Sportsmail picks out five fights that may get him out of retirement and back in the ring.
The most obvious contest – based on the fact they stood side-by-side in the ring together after the fight – would be a fight with UFC star Ngannou.
The Cameroonian MMA fighter travelled over from Las Vegas to watch the fight ringside, before standing alongside Fury following the knockout win to talk up a crossover contest.
‘This is going to be one very special fight,’ Fury told ESPN’s US broadcast after the win, quickly backtracking on those retirement comments made moments prior.
‘It’ll be something never before seen in the history of our sport.
‘We’re not talking two guys around 140lb, I’m 270lb, he’s 270lb. It’s going to be an explosive fight when it happens.’
Fury (left) and Francis Ngannou (right) insist that an enticing crossover fight will happen
‘I’m the boxing heavyweight champion, he’s the UFC heavyweight champion, he’s in great shape, look at the muscles on him,’ Fury added.
Ngannou, meanwhile, was equally as keen to get a fight penned in, stating: ‘We are going to find out who is the baddest motherf***er on the planet.’
Cameroonian Ngannou, marginally older than Fury at 35, is now in a process of recovery from his January win over Cyril Gane and so don’t expect anything too quickly between these two.
The two have talked this up before but it would strictly be an exhibition bout with a mix of MMA and boxing rules.
‘MMA gloves in the ring, kind of like a mix up, a little bit different,’ Ngannou suggested.
If Fury does stick to his word and turns his back on professional boxing then exhibition contests such as this one may be the route to a quick buck for him.
Ngannou retained his heavyweight title with a wrestling-heavy performance at UFC 270
Now this hinges on Usyk’s rematch with Joshua but the Ukrainian would be the most intriguing route back in for Fury if he retains his WBA, WBO and IBF world title belts.
Fury possesses the WBC strap and so any fight with Usyk, if he comes through his rematch unscathed, would be for the undisputed titles, a first in the four-belt era in the heavyweight division.
Lennox Lewis, for one, is keen for Fury to see the job through in unifying the division before officially calling it a day.
‘A great showing by Tyson Fury tonight,’ Lewis said on Twitter.
‘It emphatically keeps him as the man to beat. He’s already in a very exclusive club in boxing, but I look forward to welcoming him to the #undisputed club. Let’s get it done!’
Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Usyk is the reigning WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion
There was a time when Fury did not even want to entertain fighting Usyk, then a cruiserweight when dismissed by the Gypsy King.
But the Ukrainian has stepped up to heavyweight and more than held his own after winning the belts off a shell-shocked Joshua last year.
That win appears to have changed Fury’s view on Usyk and speaking after Joshua lost that first fight, Fury did talk up the prospect of a unification contest, even urging Joshua to step aside.
Fury told iFL TV: ‘I want him to step aside so I can absolutely batter Oleksandr Usyk.
‘If he does, he does. And if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. But get the f**k on with it
‘Either take your money and f**k off or fight the man. One or the other.’
A unification fight would surely be so, so tempting for Fury if the money was right.
The stars, you feel, would be aligning for a Battle of Britain for the ages if Joshua wins the belts back to set up a unification contest against long-time rival Fury.
Fury did say after beating Whyte that he has no interest in a fight against the winner of Usyk-Joshua 2 for the undisputed heavyweight championship – but few will believe he truly means it.
Even his wife Paris kept the door ajar should the prospect of unification present itself.
‘I would like him to come out now. He has nothing more to prove,’ Paris told BT Sport.
‘If he had anything left to do, I would say ‘Yeah Tyson, you do it’. But he has nothing to prove.
Anthony Joshua’s (right) has long had a war of words with Fury and may prove tempting should he overcome the Ukrainian in a rematch to hold the belts separating Fury from unification
‘So unless he really wants to box on, and if he’s just doing for whatever money, fame, he doesn’t need that. He’s the most famous man on the planet tonight. For Tyson to keep boxing, it just seems for one reason and I know in my heart, I think the only reason that Tyson will come back is for the unification fight.’
There has been plenty said between Fury and Joshua in the past, with the Gypsy King labelling his British rival as ‘just a body-builder’.
‘I’m the best heavyweight in the world, the better athlete, the most devastating puncher, the more flamboyant personality, the most handsome. He loses big, twice,’ Fury previously told Sportsmail when asked about the possibility of facing Joshua.
The back-and-forth between these two has been like a tango over the years, with Joshua talking up unification bout legacy back in 2020 after defeating Kubrat Pulev.
‘I want a challenge. It’s not about the opponent. It’s about the legacy and the belt. Whoever’s got the belt, I’d love to compete with him,’ Joshua said.
‘If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. It’s no big deal.’
The reason Joshua would be so tempting for Fury is that he is so supremely confident that he would school his rival.
In a social media video in response to Joshua’s comments after that Pulev fight, he said: ‘Well there you go everyone, Anthony Joshua just s**t himself live on television. He got asked did he want the fight, and he went around the bushes and put his a**e on the edge.
‘I want the fight! I want the fight next! I’ll knock him out inside three rounds! He’s a big bum dosser. Can’t wait to knock him out.’
Should Joshua navigate a way past Usyk, this one may prove way too tempting for Fury to look the other way.
This one would have significantly less on the line in terms of prestige, granted, but the two are good friends and it would be straightforward to arrange if Fury is kicking his heels out of the ring.
Parker is a former WBO champion but is also an opponent Fury would expect to comfortably deal with if they did have a dust-up.
The Kiwi fighter has been on great terms with Team Fury since his 2017 win over Hughie Fury.
Joseph Parker (right) and Fury are good friends and he was the understudy for Whyte fight
He was the reserve opponent in the event of Whyte being unable to fight this weekend, something which was a non-issue in the end.
‘We’ve said, “Listen, it’s not personal, strictly business.” If this fight happens we’ve shook hands on it and agreed, then we’re gonna throw down,’ Fury told iFL TV in the build-up.
‘Joe’s a former world heavyweight champion and highly rated in all the organisations. He’s in the top five heavyweights. So there will be no complaining from the fans.’
Fury rates Parker highly and believes he has enough pedigree to make it interesting.
Here’s one final out-of-the-box idea should Fury want to ease his way back in.
Joyce stands as the second-ranked by the WBC behind Wilder, who surely won’t get a fourth bout with Fury.
Factor in as well that Joyce has been chasing a world title shot for more than a year now.
His biggest win to date came against Daniel Dubois back in November 2020 and so Fury would be a huge step up.
This is likely one that would be hard to motivate Fury for, compared to unification, but who knows what Fury wants to round out his career from here?
Joe Joyce is a rising star in boxing and could act as an outside bet for Fury if he wants back in
Look, there is every chance that Fury has had enough and is focused more on family than fighting.
That five-fight plan was never set in stone and often stars don’t quite align in boxing when the fans want it most.
If this is it then the Morecambe fighter would be walking away having won 32 and drawn one of his 33 professional contests.
Frank Warren, told BT Sport: ‘If it was going to be the last fight, it’ll be the last fight. That’s his decision, he’s the guy getting in the ring.
‘If it is his last fight, he has gone out on such a high.’
Fury said that he had promised his wife Paris that he would retire and was sticking to his word
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