The word is WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury will fight at Wembley on either July 15 or July 22 (both dates have been reserved at the venue) – with two guys in the frame: Andy Ruiz and Zhilei Zhang. Mike Coppinger broke this news. So, although we are not getting the big Fury-Oleksandr Usyk fight we all so badly wanted and felt we would get (and we may now never get to see this fight), at least Fury is going to fight a credible foe in either former heavyweight champ Ruiz or current heavyweight of the moment Zhang.
But of these two potential challengers, who would you prefer to see Fury fight? Is either fight capable of selling out the huge Wembley Stadium? Is either fight pay-per-view worthy? Fury’s next fight WILL be PPV, no doubt, but this doesn’t mean we agree that it should be. Still, it’s fair to say that Ruiz or Zhang will be looked at as at least decent opponents for Fury.
In Ruiz, Fury would be facing a man who has arguably got the fastest hands in the division today. In Ruiz, Fury would be fighting the man who brought down Anthony Joshua four years ago. In Ruiz, Fury would be fighting a man who is coming off wins over Chris Arreola and Luis Ortiz.
But the knock on a Fury-Ruiz fight, aside from the fact that “The Destroyer” looked less than great in the Arreola fight and was also unable to get rid of the old as dirt Ortiz, is the sheer difference in size. Would Ruiz, all 5’11” of him (Ruiz is listed, charitably, at 6’2” in some places) be able to get near Fury and his chin? Ruiz has never been stopped and he is a creditable fighter to say the least. But against Fury, who is the biggest guy in the sport from a height, weight and reach perspective, Ruiz would really be up against it.
As for Zhang, he matches Fury well in height, reach and weight, but “Big Bang” is not as fast as Ruiz. Would Zhang, who looked so good in demolishing Joe Joyce a week ago, be able to live with Fury’s skills and all-round ability? Zhang called Fury out right after his win over Joyce, so we know he’s up for the fight (as is Ruiz; who has some legal issues he may well have to attend to before he can even think about fighting anyone, with Ruiz’ wife reportedly accusing Ruiz of rape and sexual abuse).
In truth, no fight this side of a showdown with Anthony Joshua would have been especially well received by Fury’s fans as a consolation prize for the it-would-have-been-historic Usyk unification clash. And maybe you, fellow fight fan, will not get any sort of a buzz over the idea of Fury against either Ruiz or Zhang.
But to answer the question: who would I rather see Fury fight, Ruiz or Zhang, I go Zhang. It’s so tough to get over that size difference between Fury and Ruiz. Indeed, if we do see Fury and Ruiz go face-to-face (as it were, more like face-to-chest) it’s possible the critics will have a field day, with them mocking the fight due to the disparity in height.
Zhang at least would be able to handle Fury’s height and reach, along with any rough physical stuff “The Gypsy King” might try during the fight. And Zhang is pretty hot right now due to his win over Joyce (who was being looked at as a huge challenge for Fury down the road). Would Zhang have any more than a puncher’s chance against Fury, though?
If it is either Ruiz or Zhang next for Fury, and if the fight is held at the cavernous Wembley Stadium, it will be interesting to see how many tickets the fight shifts. While it will also be interesting to see how many PPV buys Fury’s next fight gets. How is Tyson Fury’s fan popularity these days?