As many predicted, Tyson Fury dominated his WBC title fight against fellow Brit Derek Chisora until the referee finally intervened in the 10th round, announcing the Gypsy King as the victor.
In truth, the writing was on the wall from the first round, as Fury landed jab after jab with searing accuracy. When the fight was over, Chisora’s lip was bloodied and his eye was sealed shut, the veteran fighter, 38, was consoled by Fury with a hug and a kiss.
The bout at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in front of 60,000 fans will almost certainly be the last of that magnitude in Chisora’s career, but his compatriot Tyson Fury has plans to take on Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Usyk in 2023, to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Usyk, who was ringside for the Fury v Chisora fight, currently holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts after successfully defending his titles against Anthony Joshua in August.
Although not officially scheduled in the 2023 boxing calendar, it is thought that Usyk is targeting a fight date between February and March next year. According to Talksport, Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas said: “On our side, everything is done […] Right now it’s Tyson Fury’s decision.”
Asked when the fight would be if Fury agreed, he added: “No earlier than February 18, no later than March 4.”
If the spring fight does go ahead, many have tipped Wembley Stadium in London to be the most likely venue, where Fury will be the home favourite in front of 95,000 fans. However, Saudi Arabia has also emerged as a serious contender to host. If that is the case, the venue will most likely be the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, where Joshua lost to Usyk earlier this year.
If Fury defeats the Ukrainian, making him the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, British boxing promoter Frank Warren would like to see Joe Joyce return to fight the Gypsy King at Wembley in the summer. The undefeated Olympic Silver Medalist would set up an all-English fight, but perhaps not the one fans have been crying out for.
Chisora was very much Joshua’s understudy for the Fury fight in December (talks for a fight between Fury and Joshua broke down in October) and AJ is unlikely to meet Fury in the ring anytime soon.
A possible route back into the heavyweight discussion for Joshua could be a fight with American Deontay Wilder, with Wembley as the venue once again. The former WBC world heavyweight champion inflicted a first-round knockout in October against Robert Helenius at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The hard-hitting American would be a formidable opponent for Joshua but he’s not the only name being touted around.
Fellow Brit Dillian Whyte has been mentioned as a possible comeback opponent for Joshua. The pair fought in 2015, with Joshua coming out on top, but Whyte is in good form now after defeating American Jermaine Franklin in November.
As an all-British showdown, the likely venue will be the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Beyond the heavyweight division, standout fights to punch in your diary include; Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Liam Smith, in a middleweight clash in January at AO Arena in Manchester, Jermell Charlo vs Tim Tszyu in an undisputed super-welterweight fight at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas and Oscar Valdez vs Emanuel Navarrete for the super-featherweight, WBO title at the Desert Diamond Arena in Arizona in February.
As the year draws to a close, many boxing fans will be thinking about what could’ve been, as the promise of blockbuster battles, such as Fury v Joshua failed to come to fruition.
However, in 2023, the heavyweight division will be brimming with potential, with the top five fighters in the world all looking to make their mark, from those at the very top of their game like Usyk and Fury to sleeping giants like Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
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