With Anthony Joshua set to face Jarrell Miller and the Deontay Wilder rematch looking unlikely, Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse looks at Tyson Fury's next move...
"If Fury doesn’t get his hands on Joshua this year an all-British fight that would grab the attention of fans would be with the progressive Dillian Whyte"
He is not without his critics, but we can't deny the Tyson Fury story is a sensational one and, of late, an inspiring tale. A man pulling himself back from the brink to return to the sport he loves and go agonisingly close to upsetting the fight game's most destructive puncher.
Looking miles ahead on the scorecards when travelling to Los Angeles to take on WBC champion Deontay Wilder - a fearsome gladiator with an astonishing knockout average - Fury was caught and dropped by heavy-handed attacks in both the ninth and 12th rounds. The 6ft 9inch heavyweight looked down and out in the last but, remarkably, he rose to his feet and, in that moment, won the hearts of sports fans across the globe, as well as the respect of The Bronze Bomber.
Battling back from depression, Fury spoke to fans in the aftermath of that split decision draw, telling followers if he can do it, anyone can do it.
More to come
What a story and in Hollywood the credits would role, but this journey is by no means at an end. Tyson is only now getting back to somewhere near his best and his performance in the Wilder fight has fast-tracked him back towards the major fights.
Who will the Manchester man face next? It won't be Anthony Joshua as he is scheduled to meet Jarrell Miller on 1 June in America, and it's unlikely to be the rematch with Wilder fans are crying out for as he's pencilled in to fight on 18 May against an as yet unnamed opponent. So, who does that leave?
Let's look at the options open to Team Fury and how punters can play match-maker to secure a slice of betting value at Betfair...
Step back to move forward
One match-up Betfair Sportsbook traders are taking bets on is Fury vs Joseph Parker. That wouldn't create anywhere near the interest levels Tyson's last fight did and would be seen as a step backwards. It would be a decent pairing in Fury's comeback, however, considering he has fought only three times since beating Wladimir Klitschko in Germany over three years ago.
It's a bout you'd expect the Englishman to win but Parker would serve as a decent test with the 6ft 4inch orthodox being a former world champion, winning 25 of his 27 starts. The only two men to beat him to date are Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, both defeats coming on points. Easy enough to forgive and Parker shouldn't be underrated.
Traders have been quick to put a line through his chances, however, and the Betfair Sportsbook offers the New Zealander as rank outsider, going 6/1 on him beating Fury, against the 1/12 of his opponent, 25/1 the draw. If that bout was to get the go-ahead punters will be forced into the method of victory market
All-British clash for the fans
If Fury doesn't get his hands on Joshua this year an all-British fight that would grab the attention of fans would be with the progressive Dillian Whyte who is thought to have missed out on another crack at AJ himself recently. As fights fans that would be the bout we'd love to see next and that view is well supported amongst followers of the noble art.
The Body Snatcher has won 25 and lost one so far, the spare coming in the seventh round of that thrill-a-minute clash with Joshua at the 02 Arena back in December 2015. Since then Whyte has won each of his nine comeback bouts, that hit-list including the names of Robert Helenius, Lucas Browne, Joe Parker and Dereck Chisora.
Of those nine Whyte has won by stoppage five times, halting long-term rival Del Boy in 11 last time out. That power will give Fury plenty to worry about but having proved his chin beyond all doubt when hauling himself off the canvas against Wilder, it's not going to keep The Gypsy King up at night. Fury would be 1/3 jolly over the 9/4 of Dillian Whyte. The draw shouldn't attract too much attention at this stage, even with 25/1 offered.
Back to settle the score
It's the fight we all wanted to see happen as soon as possible and the one that looked most likely following their December draw. Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder simply has to take place this year and we'd love to see it go ahead in Britain at a major venue. It would sell out any arena on these shores, the PPV numbers would be huge and the excitement bigger than any of Anthony Joshua's outings to date. So, what's stopping them?
There have been accusations from both camps that the other is blocking progress but both Tyson and Deontay are fighting men and if they are given the chance to settle an old score, we're confident they'd grab it with both gloves. The first meeting was a classic and the rematch would be just as special, if not better. Which fighter would carry your stake if the return was announced?
Betfair's trading team have set-up camp with Team Fury and have the Brit as betting favourite with 8/13 available at the time of writing. That won't go unnoticed, but the value there looks to be with The Bronze Bomber at 5/4, market best price at the time of asking. That may prove too good for the value hunters to ignore when remembering the American landed two shots in the first fight that would've finished most men on the circuit.