Tyson Fury will be able to fight Oleksandr Usyk before he has to make a mandatory defence of his WBC title; Deontay Wilder will box one-time Anthony Joshua conqueror Andy Ruiz to set up a potential fourth contest with Fury
Thursday 24 November 2022 14:14, UK
The time is right for Tyson Fury to meet Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed heavyweight championship fight early in 2023, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.
For the fight to take place, Fury would have to come through next week's voluntary defence of the WBC title against Derek Chisora.
But he will not be forced to box a mandatory challenger before a fight with Usyk, the unified WBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight titlist, if that bout can be made next.
Sulaiman told Sky Sports: "There has been real interest in having Fury against Usyk take place, that would be a great possibility and then the winner would have to fight the WBC mandatory once that is confirmed."
Sulaiman points out that the WBC has supported previous, failed endeavours to make the undisputed heavyweight championship fight. When Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua held all the major titles between them, talks took place to match those two fighters. Those negotiations ultimately collapsed and efforts to make Joshua versus Fury for all the belts also came to nothing in recent years.
"The WBC has been extremely supportive of unification bouts," Sulaiman explained.
"We supported back then Wilder against Joshua, it didn't happen. Then we supported when the time could be for Fury against Joshua again and then we support Fury against Usyk.
"If it happens it will be a tremendous fight for the world and the WBC is supportive of that as long as the rights of the mandatory contender are not infringed. So the timing right now looks very good for that to happen."
Another sequence of exciting heavyweight fights has been taking place to decide who the mandatory challenger for Fury's title will be.
Wilder and Andy Ruiz have been ordered to box one another to win a shot at Fury's WBC belt, although a date for that contest has not yet been set.
"We did a tournament with Ruiz fighting [Luis] Ortiz, Ruiz won, with Wilder fighting [Robert] Helenius, Wilder won. Now they will both meet to determine the mandatory contender of the WBC heavyweight division," Sulaiman said.
"It's a very promising and a very interesting scenario in the heavyweights with so many fights that can be done."
It means that should Wilder win, he would put himself on course for a fourth fight with Fury.
"Wilder, he was world champion of the WBC for five years, very dominating. He has the highest knockout percentage, his last outing was very impressive with a one-punch knockout, a dramatic punch," Sulaiman said.
"Ruiz has a great following. He made the world stage when he defeated Joshua by knockout and he's a fighter that you can never rule out.
"So that fight should prove to be a great, great match and then a very solid mandatory contender for the WBC."