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Heavyweight landscape changing swiftly one year after absent champion Fury’s heroics

Lee Gormley | 2 December 2016

A year on from Fury heroics in Germany

On November 28th last year Tyson Fury stunned the boxing world by becoming unified world heavyweight champion, dominantly dethroning previously long-standing kingpin Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.

The Mancunian had continuously declared his intentions of securing a surprise success ahead of their 2015 showdown at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, and built towards the bout with a series of bizarre and entertaining out-of-ring actions.

A Tyson Fury comeback could be on the cards next year and there are plenty of high-profile match-ups he could be involved in.

A Tyson Fury comeback could be on the cards next year and there are plenty of high-profile match-ups he could be involved in.

Despite entering as the massive outsider, Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) secured one of the greatest feats achieved by a British boxer in history, earning a deserved unanimous decision over the Ukrainian to reign supreme on German soil.

A year on from his heavyweight heroics, though, Fury has since relinquished his straps after medical issues and both he and his former opponent Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) have been removed from the division’s rankings due to inactivity.

The heavyweight landscape has subsequently taken a new look, with the titles being put on the line throughout other high-profile match-ups, though Fury is 11/10 with Coral to overcome current IBF champion Anthony Joshua if the pair were to meet upon his eventual comeback to the ring.

Division shake up in process

A meeting with Joshua has long been mooted for Fury and it looked likely of occurring before he vacated his belts earlier this year, while WBC title holder Deontay Wilder is another potential future foe, though a rematch with Klitschko may never be witnessed.

In Fury’s absence and, with ‘Dr Steelhammer’ having gone without a fight since that last defeat, both men have lost their ranking spots. The reason being they have not been active for 12 months and neither officially have a date set for their next outing.

Fury v Klitschko one year on. It's been 12 months since that memorable night in Germany.

Fury v Klitschko one year on. It’s been 12 months since that memorable night in Germany.

Although, Klitschko is supposedly set to collide with Joshua early next year in probably the biggest heavyweight match-up possible while Fury is away from proceedings, and it’s a bout that could see the Briton take the next step in his swiftly progressive career.

The Watford-born champion must first deal with whatever threat is posed by Eric Molina, a fight in which he is 9/4 to stop the American inside rounds 4-6, before moving onto a lucrative blockbuster with Klitschko.

Such a meeting could potentially see the passing of the heavyweight baton down from previous division dominator Klitschko to uprising superstar Joshua, while Fury waits in the background for his hopeful return to the fold.

Belts up for grabs across division

Fury’s temporary exit from the heavyweight scene saw Joshua pounce and clinch the IBF strap by downing Charles Martin, while highly-rated New Zealander Joseph Parker will soon look to take his WBO opportunity when facing fellow unbeaten contender Andy Ruiz.

Klitschko was forced to wait for a Fury rematch which never materialised and should face Joshua early next year.

Klitschko was forced to wait for a Fury rematch which never materialised and should face Joshua early next year.

The WBA title was initially set to be contested for by veteran Shannon Briggs and Australian Lucas Browne, until the latter failed a second drugs test of his career in recent months. Meanwhile, former champion David Haye is 4/1 to face an upset at the hands of 2017 opponent Tony Bellew in a possible stepping stone towards a world title shot.

Hard-hitting Cuban Luis Ortiz has also been outlined as a potential future champion after signing with his new UK-based promotion, though his last performance left a lot to be desired. He will have plenty of other chances to shine, though, on UK territory in the near future.

After a recent injury, America’s Wilder will be keen on asserting himself as the top man in the heaviest division next year too, while Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne will be squaring off for the interim version of his WBC crown.

Fury can return healthier and revived

Fury’s former crowns may be being battled over across the division while he takes time away from the sport, but many fans will be awaiting his return to the fray in a bid to reclaim those belts he clinched on a famous night in Germany.

The 28-year-old has endured a tough year both personally and professionally, but his stint out of the ring could ultimately become a positive factor for the rest of his career.

There are plenty of huge heavyweight fights around the corner in 2017.

There are plenty of huge heavyweight fights around the corner in 2017.

Fury has been promised a mandatory shot at one of his former straps upon his return, plus if his comeback falls before next summer it will be during a time when the best in the division are finally being paired against each other.

Following a break and time to refresh Fury may also be a much healthier and revived fighter, one that could be coming into his prime years too, and a cleaner and more focused mind should see him return to supremacy.

There may be heavyweight fighters currently relishing their statuses as champions in this testing division but, with undefeated Fury absent for now, the sport will only benefit from the man who ended ‘the Klitschko Era’ returning to the scene.

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