Fury vs Usyk 2, Joshua returns and undisputed blow – what happens next for heavyweight boxing?

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk provided a glorious moment for heavyweight boxing in Riyadh on Saturday, but the sport’s marquee weight class waits for no man.

Within seconds of Usyk’s hand being raised to confirm his status as the sport’s first undisputed heavyweight king in a quarter of a century, talk was already turning to the future.

Usyk’s wafer-thin split-decision victory over ‘The Gypsy King’ saw him achieve a lifetime’s ambition – unifying the titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight. An incredible achievement for the 37-year-old genius from Ukraine.

So, as the dust quite literally settles in the Saudi desert, what does happen next?

Fury vs Usyk 2?

The first thing to note here is that there is a contracted rematch. And a planned date (October 2024 per Saudi money man Turki Alalshikh). So all these two behemoths of the sport have to do, is rock up again in Saudi in five months’ time.

Both men came out of Saturday’s bout bloodied and bruised – it was a quite epic scrap where both men were taken out to deep waters. None deeper than Fury in that tumultuous ninth round as he careered around the ring bouncing off ropes as Usyk pounded away at his scrambled senses.

While the immediate message from Fury was that he would be back, both men deserve the time to regroup and decide if this is what they really want. Both earned incredible sums of money for this one, and neither probably needs to fight again.

So the smart money is that we will get to run this terrific fight back, but we’ll need to wait a little while for official confirmation from both sides.

Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk Final Press Conference Riyadh Season Saudi Arabia May 16 2024
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk pictured at the final press conference ahead of their May 18 heavywight title fight in Saudi Arabia (Photo – Round n Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

Undisputed, but for how long?

It is notoriously difficult for anybody to become undisputed in boxing’s heavyweight division. It is even harder to stay undisputed – try keeping four sanctioning bodies happy with all the required mandatory defences in the modern era.

So it sadly comes as no surprise that the likelihood is that Oleksandr Usyk will be the sport’s latest undisputed heavyweight king for less than two weeks.

Reports are that the Fury vs Usyk contract contains wording that means the winner must vacate the IBF title in the coming days.

The smart money is that the Filip Hrgovic vs Daniel Dubois showdown on that Hearn vs Warren 5 on 5 card on June 1 will be for the vacant title.

So by the morning of June 2, we’ll have a new IBF world heavyweight champion. And this all starts again.

Where does Joshua fit in?

Talk of that potential IBF title showdown on June 1 is the perfect segway into where Anthony Joshua fits in.

AJ’s stock is riding high after those brutal demolition jobs on Otto Wallin and Francis Ngannou, and he is expected to be the figurehead for Saudi Arabia’s first big promotion in the UK. That is expected to take place at Wembley Stadium in September.

The expectation is that Joshua’s opponent will be the winner of Hrgovic vs Dubois – with the IBF title again on the line.

Anthony Joshua Eddie Hearn Press Conference vs Francis Ngannou Heavyweight Boxing Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Anthony Joshua pictured with promoter Eddie Hearn at the press conference ahead of his heavyweight boxing fight vs Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024 (Photo – Round n Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

And Fury vs Joshua?

What happened Saturday night in Riyadh really doesn’t change the Fury vs Joshua timeline very much.

Fury and Usyk had a rematch clause in their contract – so barring a Fury landslide win they were always likely going to meet again in October.

We do know though that Turki Alalshikh desperately wants this long-awaited all-British superfight. And he wants it early next year – likely in March.

In reality, for the fight to have maximum value, we need the following to happen:

  • Joshua beats Hrgovic or Dubois to claim the IBF title in September
  • Fury beats Usyk in their rematch to claim the other titles

IF those two results become reality, expect Fury vs Joshua AT LAST in March 2025.