Just who will WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury fight next? We really have been all over the place in this regard just recently; what with reports coming out of Fury maybe to face Demsey McKean next, of Fury perhaps sitting out the summer, only to then fight Oleksandr Usyk in December. And now, added to the seemingly ever-growing list of options for Fury and his next move, comes talk of Fury facing none other than IBF cruiserweight champ Jai Opetaia next.
Fury, who has been out in Australia, supporting his friend Joseph Parker during his recent blow-out of a fight, is said to be seriously entertaining the idea of having a fight down under himself. And now, according to Opetaia’s manager, Mick Francis, there have been talks over a possible Fury-Opetaia fight.
“It’s a legitimate fight,” Francis said to The Sydney Morning Herald when attempting to hype up a fight that would see his guy going up against Fury. “Tyson Fury wouldn’t get knocked out and Jai Opetaia wouldn’t get knocked out. It’s a fight that will go the distance, it would be an absolute war. It’s all about bang for your buck and you couldn’t wish for a better domestic fight. Jai’s got nothing to prove at cruiserweight and he would take that fight in a heartbeat. He spars heavyweights every day of the week because cruiserweights are too small for him, they’re not strong enough.”
So, to repeat the question posed ahead of the possibility at the time of Fury fighting the unranked (in the WBC top 15) McKean, how will fans react if Fury fights Opetaia next? Are there really no ranked heavyweights out there willing to face Fury, no guys willing to get a shot at the WBC crown this summer? Is this what we are supposed to believe? How would Fury’s credibility suffer if he did opt to fight a man who is not even in his own weight division?
Opetaia, 22-0(17) is a good fighter, for sure, and the 27 year old southpaw showed immense courage in battling through a broken jaw in his IBF title-winning fight with Mairis Briedis back in July of last year. But at 6’2” and with most of his fights coming at cruiserweight, is Opetaia big enough to handle Fury? I know what Fury and his supporters will say: that Usyk is no big heavyweight, yet everyone wants to see Fury fight him. And Fury, if he does fight Opetaia, will likely say he is doing so to get ready for a smaller, faster fighter in Usyk, who is of course a lefty like Opetaia.
We will see in time. But there are so many stories going around right now when it comes to who, where and when Fury will next fight, it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen.
If Opetaia does move up to fight Fury, will it be for the WBC heavyweight title? Will the fight go out on PPV? Will the fight be seen as a mismatch? And then, the big (if unrealistic) question, what happens if Opetaia beats Fury!?