TYSON FURY needs a December dance partner if he has indeed ditched Deontay Wilder.
The Gypsy King has grown tired of waiting for his 6ft 7in American opponent to name a date and location for their trilogy fight and wants to move on with his career – quickly.
The undefeated WBC king will now enjoy a homecoming UK show in December – to navigate around the Covid-related travel restrictions – before hopefully leaping into the undisputed decider with Anthony Joshua.
So the 32-year-old’s next opponent must be a big enough name to help sell a pay-per-view, very close to wallet-crippling Crimbo.
But not really dangerous enough to beat or cut the showman a few months out from potentially the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports are already selling Derek Chisora vs Olexandr Usyk (Oct 31), Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin 2 (Nov 21) and AJ vs Kubrat Pulev (Dec 12) on PPV.
So cash-strapped fans are going to take some convincing to buy Fury‘s first UK bout since 2018, if the opponent isn’t up to scratch.
Here SunSport considers five names – some perfect picks, some dreaded journeymen and some wild long shots – who could meet the fight criteria.
1. Lucas Browne – Australia – 29-2
The Australian veteran is a former WBA world champion, speaks the lingo and would have no problem playing the pantomime villain to drive up interest.
British fans will also recognise ‘Big Daddy’ from his two career defeats, both in London against Dave Allen and Dillian Whyte and caused by magnificent punches.
The freelance fight also has no exclusive promotional ties in the UK so would be an easy coup.
Browne has revealed it would be an ‘honour’ to face Fury, as he said: “Wouldn’t it be awesome for me to knock him out and have all these fans hate me at the same time. That’s something I’d love to happen.
“As I said, it would be an absolute honour to share the ring with him, I would be going in there to knock him out, that would be the plan.
“I could be losing 11 rounds and still knock you out with one punch in the 12th and that’s why I am always going to be dangerous no matter what.”
2. David Price – England – 25-7
There is already a brilliant backstory between Fury and the giant scouser.
Price beat Fury in a 2006 amateur bout and went on to take the Team GB super-heavyweight spot at the 2008 Olympics, ahead of Fury.
Then the Morecambe hero produced one of the funniest call-out clips in the history of British boxing when he offered the “big stiff idiot plumber” a pro straightener.
Price’s pro career has been a painful disappointment but his right hand remains a dangerous equaliser.
But his infamous glass chin could also help Fury score a sensational KO.
The 37-year-old has boxed on Eddie Hearn’s Sky Sports shows in recent years so negotiations might be tricky.
But it is definitely a long-overdue clash that would hit the mainstream and warrant a PPV fee.
3. Carlos Takam – France – 39-5-1
The Cameroon-born Frenchman has a few factors in his favour.
From a business angle he shares US promoters Top Rank with Fury, so the deal is done in-house.
In the ring, fans will remember the Las Vegas-based slugger giving AJ a torrid night in Cardiff in 2017 when Takam was harshly stopped on his feet in the 10th.
And he lost a barnstormer with Derek Chisora in 2018 to further enhance his reputation as a headline attraction.
There could be a worry that rough’n’tough Takam could be too high-risk, especially considering the 42-stitch wound Fury suffered in the supposedly easy bout with Otto Wallin in 2019.
At 39, the hardnut is approaching the end of his career and is unlikely to land another world title shot.
So he could be convinced to take a payday against his stablemate and promise to take his pressure style down a couple of notches.
4. Razvan Cojanu – Romania – 17-7
If the first three whetted your appetite then prepare to sling your dinner in the bin with option No4.
This Romanian heavyweight’s stock shot up after he went 12 rounds against then-world champ Joseph Parker but the 2017 stinker was little more than a sparring match and he lost three on the bounce immediately after.
Two of those defeats, however, are the reason Cojanu remains an option.
Frank Warren and BT fed the 6ft 7in clogger to prospects Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman so there is a relationship already in place.
But even a stacked undercard and post-fight singalong from Fury would struggle to make this worth a …. watch.
5. Dempsey McKean – Australia – 18-0
You’ve probably never heard of the 6ft 6in southpaw but before Fury cherrypicked Wallin and Tom Schwarz from obscurity last year they were also relative unknowns.
Schwarz was 24-0 and highly ranked by the WBO, while Wallin was 20-0 and respected by the WBA and both made Fury look good in the ring.
McKean shares a few similarities, as the unbeaten No1 heavyweight from Down Under with a couple of obscure WBO titles and a sizeable frame to lure in fence-sitters.
Fury’s die-hard fans would watch him box up a birthday present and, with the right sales patter, some floating voters might buy in to a bout like this.
But this would be another one that boxing purists would turn their noses up, especially after having it bloodied by the three other heavyweight PPVs on the calendar.