The five heavyweight contenders awaiting a shot at Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury is set to create a logjam at the top end of the heavyweight division.
The champions have signed a two-fight deal to unify all four major belts in an undisputed clash, with just the site deal left to be resolved.
If this makes it over the line as expected, all of the heavyweight world titles will be then be wrapped up until mid-2021.
After their first fight, it’s understood that the WBO belt will be vacated, but the WBA, WBC and IBF will roll over into the AJ vs Fury rematch and not be available for anyone else until 2022.
This is set to create a big gap for the top five contenders looking to secure world title shots in the next 12 months.
Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs)
With his rematch victory over Alexander Povektin, Whyte propelled himself right back into contention for a world title shot.
The 32-year-old Brit previously lost his WBC mandatory position when he was KOd by the Russian last August, but now owns the WBC ‘interim’ belt once again.
As well as Povetkin, Whyte has wins over Joseph Parker, Oscar Rivas, Derek Chisora and Robert Helenius on his impressive record.
It is likely he will eventually be reinstated as mandatory or be ordered to have one more final eliminator to regain the position.
His title fight will seemingly not be called any time soon though, with the WBC not looking to get in the way of the undisputed fight.
Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs)
Despite his rematch defeat to Fury, Wilder remains one of the world’s best heavyweights.
He is yet to announce plans for his return amid rumours that he will soon be lined up for a showdown with Andy Ruiz Jr.
The 35-year-old American is still pursuing legal arbitration over his rematch clause for a third fight with Fury which never materialised.
However, Fury’s team are adamant this will not result in a trilogy and won’t impact their plans with AJ.
Wilder will no doubt be desperate to regain his crown and silence his critics.
Andy Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KOs)
Ruiz Jr has made changes following his disappointing rematch defeat to Anthony Joshua.
Having stunned the champion in their first fight, the 31-year-old Mexican-American came in overweight and was comfortably outboxed in the rematch.
As a result he has split with trainer Manny Robles and linked up with Canelo Alvarez’s coach Eddy Reynoso.
Ruiz Jr is now training alongside the pound-for-pound king and has already lost 40lbs.
His comeback fight has been announced and will see him face Chris Arreola on May 1. After that, Wilder or Luis Ortiz may await him,
Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs)
At cruiserweight, Usyk achieved exactly what Joshua and Fury are attempting to achieve this summer.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian unified all four belts to become undisputed champion in a glorious reign which saw him defeating all rival champions in their own home countries.
Now, he’s moved up to heavyweight, been awarded the WBO mandatory position and beaten Derek Chisora.
His title shot should be due, but the WBO have sanctioned AJ vs Fury with the belt set to be vacated after their first meeting.
In the meantime, Usyk has been ordered to face Joe Joyce for the WBO ‘interim’ belt – meaning that the winner will likely be upgraded to become full world champion.
Joe Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs)
Joyce shocked British boxing by handing top prospect Daniel Dubois his first defeat last year.
With this victory, he conquered the European, British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, as well as taking Dubois’ position in the WBO rankings.
At age 35, he won’t be looking to wait long for a title shot and will hope to agree terms with Usyk imminently.