Tyson Fury: Next fight narrowed down to 3 opponents?Written by Leroy Cleveland
After a hiatus from boxing of over two years, former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced his comeback via Twitter two weeks ago.
Fury, of course, has been dealing with a cocaine problem that was serious enough to suspend his career. Far heavier these days, Fury is back in training and hopes to eventually land superfights with dominant belt-holders Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Can Tyson Fury fully rebound from a drug problem, an astounding 100 plus pound weight gain and lengthy layoff?
Should he fulfill his promise to return to the ring, don't expect him to face a top-level opponent straight away.
Given the obstacles Fury has created for himself, I can't imagine him being a threat to Wilder or Joshua anytime soon as it will take a while for him to regain top form, physically and mentally.
In fact, regaining his old form will be like a trip through hell; More so because of the drug addiction and its after-effects than time out of the ring. If Fury wants to be the same fighter who knocked off Wlad, he'll need a minimum of 1-2 years of sobriety, quality training, a well-managed diet and three or more tune-ups.
What to look for in Fury's next opponent
Given Fury, upon his return, won't immediately be the same fella who upset Klitschko, his team must be careful in selecting opponents, especially his first.
Fury needs an opponent that:
1) he'll match up well with, stylistically
2) will be credible and/or interesting enough to generate widespread interest and
3) will pose at least some threat but ultimately won’t likely have the tools to defeat him
So, who will Tyson Fury fight next?
He might have dropped a hint about who his next opponent will be.
He recently posted a poll on Twitter to get fans' buy-in and presumably simmer expectations that he might face Joshua or Wilder straight away.
Who should be my next victim?
Charr vs Ustinov winner
First things first
Tyson Fury is not facing Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KO), arguably the No. 3 heavyweight in the world, next. Povetkin would be a threat to any fighter, including Joshua and Wilder, and would be far too risky as a first fight opponent.
David Price (21-4, 18 KO)
There's a rivalry and storyline with Fury and Price which would make that bout huge, despite the latter's sharp drop in stock over the last several years. However, I don't see Price as Tyson's first comeback opponent because David is comparable in height, boasts fine power and could certainly pose problems, stylistically, for a rusty Fury who will likely carry some added pounds into his first comeback bout.
If Fury got badly gassed, Price has the size, strength and polish to KO him. That stated, Price has strong potential as a future Fury opponent in the latter’s comeback campaign.
Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KO)
Team Fury likes Shannon because he's 46, has been relatively inactive himself the last two years and is likely to have problems with Tyson's reach and movement. Moreover, he is well-respected in the UK and boasts a solid resume. How many of today's heavyweights can say they have shared the ring with the likes of George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Frans Botha and Vitali Klitschko?
In addition, Briggs is also former lineal heavyweight champion with the charisma and credentials to make Fury vs Briggs highly interesting.
And lastly, even more attractive to Team Fury is Shannon's known stamina issues. Given he had that problem when he was younger, it likely hasn't improved given his age and lack of activity.
Briggs won't fight Fury at a fast pace, much to the Brit's benefit.
Charr or Ustinov
Manuel Charr (30-4, 17 KO) is a solid, top 30 contender but doesn't have the size, speed, experience or punching power to be a major threat to Fury while the near 41-year-old Ustinov (34-1, 25 KO) hasn't beaten anyone of merit who wasn't already past their prime.
Too mechanical and stationary, Ustinov would likely be decisively outpointed by even a rusty version of Fury. But Fury vs Ustinov would sell due to the latter's fine record (albeit over lesser opposition) and hulking 7'0" frame.
Although presumably outgunned, neither Ustinov nor Charr would be pushovers.
Briggs, Charr or Ustinov.... Who would you like to see Fury fight next?