Deontay Wilder or Andy Ruiz Jr. will fight for the WBC heavyweight title in 2023, with or without current champion Tyson Fury.
That’s been the plan from the beginning. That remains the plan despite Fury’s attempts to face Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury is aiming for a voluntary against Joshua this year. After which, the mandatory will come into play next April. That compulsory will either be Wilder or Ruiz – if Al Haymon’s long-term blueprint comes to fruition.
Haymon got permission from WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman to stage a mini-tournament for the vacant WBC title when Fury retired for the umpteenth time.
“The Gypsy King” then blew those plans out of the water by making yet another u-turn. Now, Fury could get pushed into facing Wilder or Ruiz before any chance to meet Usyk comes along.
If he gets past AJ [if that fight ever happens] and then looks towards Usyk, a step-aside deal may have to get worked out. The WBC could force Fury’s hand unless he steps as the WBO will look to do with Usyk.
Two mandatories will be overdue by the time Fury can battle Usyk. It means there’s a genuine possibility Fury will walk away again.
Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr
This scenario leaves the winner of Wilder vs Ruiz, which could be sanctioned for the interim title, potentially elevated to the full champion by next spring.
For his part, Wilder knows just how important a win over Robert Helenius is on October 15. It sets up a massive Pay Per View fight with Ruiz Jr.
Haymon won’t take kindly to Fury holding up the mandatory side of the division any longer.
Wilder spoke about his potential fight with Ruiz after the Mexican defeated his friend Luis Ortiz on Sunday night.
“It was a great fight. It was a hell of a fight. This is what all the fans came to see, a magnificent fight. That’s what these guys gave to you,” said Wilder to FOX Sports in the ring.
“That right there deserves all the respect. Andy came in with a game plan. It seemed like he executed the game plan.”
Asked if that’s the fight he wants next, Wilder added: “Deontay Wilder is back. We’re always looking for great exciting fights we can give the fans.
“If that’s what’s lined up next, I’ve got to handle business. After that, we can get it on.”
Shaking hands with Ruiz’s family, Wilder showed there is much respect between the two former champions.
“I always love the teams because we share the ring, and we are doing it for our [sons and] daughters. In the situation that we are in, I always have a love for them.
“Much love to him. I wish nothing but the best for him moving forward.”
Ruiz said: “God willing, he wins against Robert [Helenius] in October. Me and him are in the same organization.
“I want to thank Al Haymon. He can make this fight happen. Let’s do it. Let’s get it on.”
Usyk’s decision to delay his return until 2023 adds further doubt to the Fury fight with Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker getting sanctioned for the interim WBO belt.
The WBO and WBC situations make it increasingly unlikely that any Usyk vs Fury will be an undisputed unification.