IT seemed little more than a publicity stunt when first mentioned yet Tyson Fury’s planned foray into mixed martial arts has picked up some more momentum with the news that Dana White, the UFC President, has held talks with ‘The Gypsy King’ about making the transition.

Though at first White shot down the rumours, insisting the move would end badly for the former heavyweight champion, he has since come around to the idea and has at least allowed Fury to sound him out about the possibility.

“It’s interesting,” White told Washington’s 106.7 FM radio station. “He and I talked the other day. We talked. He really is interested in fighting. I respect that.

“We’ll see what happens. Let’s see what happens with his boxing career.

“He’s got this rematch coming up with Wilder, which is obviously huge and a fun fight for the heavyweight division. You’ve got (Andy) Ruiz and (Anthony) Joshua fighting this weekend… So we’ll see how that goes, and we’ll see what happens.”

I guess we’ll just see what happens.

Tyson Fury
Fury fancies an MMA fight (Action Images/REUTERS/Mike Segar)

It had appeared all but nailed on that Dereck Chisora, the unlikely darling of British pay-per-view shows, would find himself headlining another one in February against former cruiserweight king and fledgling heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine.

However, there could be other options for Usyk next year, one of whom, Joseph Parker, is rated at four by the WBO, behind only Usyk, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. This means that if the WBO heavyweight title, currently held by Andy Ruiz Jnr, was to suddenly become vacant, it would likely result in Usyk and Parker being ordered to square off for the belt. It could also mean Chisora ends up missing out on a payday.  

Asked about Parker’s next move, his manager, David Higgins, told Sky Sports: “Usyk has been acknowledged as the mandatory for the WBO and rightly so – he’s one of the pound-for-pound best in the world and unified at cruiserweight, so we don’t question that.

“But it’s possible that the WBO title could become vacant and, as I said at the conference, if that title vacates, then Joseph Parker is possibly the next available ranked fighter and could challenge Usyk to fight off for the vacant title.

“If you recall, that’s how Joseph won the heavyweight title, fighting off against Ruiz. History might repeat.

“If the cards fall the right way, we could potentially have Parker challenging again for a world title, as soon as next year perhaps.”

It’s an opportunity Higgins believes Parker deserves but is just as quick to point out that not all of the New Zealander’s eggs will be going in that particular basket.

“David Haye (Chisora’s manager) is quite Machiavellian and so I’m sure he will be scheming away on what the next steps are,” he said. “So Joseph Parker will just worry about his own journey and I think most people would agree that Parker would be more deserving of a shot against Usyk than Chisora.

“I can’t see how on merit they would give Chisora a shot anyway when Parker is at four?

“Usyk could fight Chisora not for the title. But that would be a bit risky for Usyk. He’s sitting on a mandatory.

“It’s about more than money. It’s about winning the title. Would Usyk want to risk that against Chisora in a fight that’s less meaningful than a title fight?

“I’m not sure we will see Chisora-Usyk next year. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

Here’s the thing: Chisora won’t get the Usyk fight on merit. He never would. But the reason for him getting the nod might in the end have more to do with the fact he is a famous face in British boxing, he guarantees a good scrap, and he speaks his mind. In 2019, with pay-per-view established as the driving force behind the sport, you don’t need much more than that.

Oleksandr Usyk
They all want Usyk