Despite the hopes and prayers of Deontay Wilder, who has seemingly lost all touch with reality since his February loss to the ‘Gypsy King’, it seems Tyson Fury will fight in the UK December 5th against an opponent yet to be named.
With two mega fights with Anthony Joshua on the horizon next year if both are able to win their intervening bouts, I wouldn’t expect Fury to fight anyone within the divisions upper echelons, but here’s three bouts that would certainly offer the WBC champion a test while not putting his battle with AJ in too much jeopardy.
The Colombian gave fellow Brit Dillian Whyte all he could handle in a July 2019 bout in which he put the ‘Body Snatcher’ down, and had him in serious trouble before losing a close decision. Prior to that the 33 year old had gone unbeaten in 26 outings, including 18 finishes, and holds wins over notable if not spectacular names in Bryant Jennings and Fabio Maldonado. A successful amateur career saw him qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games with a win over Andy Ruiz Jr, and then went on to beat Kubrat Pulev in the first round before crashing out to eventual gold medallist Roberto Cammarelle in the quarter finals. Rivas offers a notable name, someone who is known to UK fans, while having being out of the ring for long enough that Fury should be able to best him with relative ease if prior performances are anything to go by.
The last the UK fans saw of Charles Martin was him picking himself up off the canvas after Anthony Joshua blasted through him inside two rounds, all the more embarrassing considering his big talk in the build-up and his entrance to the ring with a crown and robe. Since then he’s gone 5-1, dropping a close decision to Pole Adam Kownacki, with his only win against an opponent of any note being his sixth round TKO of Gerald Washington in February. Martin is a former world champion, talks a good game, is big at 6′ 5” and has KO power, but overall isn’t particularly very good and having already fought AJ, can allow for comparisons between how the two Brits dealt with him. Martin has basically all the ingredients promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum are looking for in a Fury opponent.
If its a European opponent required (which it possibly could be due to the current Covid restrictions) Agit Kabayel could be the answer. An undefeated 20-0 German, Kabayel is the current European heavyweight champion, a title he has defended on three occasions, and is probably best known on these shores for a shock 2017 win over Dereck Chisora in Monaco. It is thought Kabayel is currently the frontrunner for the bout, and is not too dissimilar to the opponents Fury fought in 2019 (Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin) in being young unbeaten Europeans. Kabayel also holds wins over Herve Hubeaux and Andriy Rudenko and was last seen outpointing Evgenios Lazaridis for the WBA Continental heavyweight title in July, a win that earnt him top ten rankings in both the WBA and IBF. While not possessing the profile Rivas and Martin have, Kabayel is perhaps a sterner test and while Fury would be the heavy favourite, it always makes it more interesting when we don’t know someone’s ceiling in the sport.