Tyson Fury had Tom Schwarz in front of him on Saturday night, and did about what the arguable top heavyweight in the world ought to do with an opponent BoxRec can’t find a spot for in the top 50: he busted Schwarz’s nose and finished him inside of two rounds.
So now we ask, of course, what’s next? What’s next for the man who calls himself the lineal champion of the heavyweights, the “Gypsy King”?
Fury (28-0-1, 20 KO) will return on either Sept. 21 or Oct. 5, aligning his next date close to that of WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO), who is likely set to return on Sept. 28 in a rematch with Luis Ortiz.
If Fury and Wilder win in the fall, they rematch in early 2020 on some type pay-per-view, Showtime or FOX or ESPN or some dual branding or whatever. Fuck Bob Arum’s call to marinate until it’s worth an absurd 2-3 million buys, strike while the iron’s hot. Former Arum client Andy Ruiz Jr speaks to the value in that for the big boys.
Anyway, what’s coming up next?
The 38-year-old Bulgarian Pulev (27-1, 14 KO) remains a credible contender, and is in fact the current IBF mandatory challenger. But since he’s not going to cash that in in 2019 — Ruiz and Joshua will rematch late in the year — Pulev kinda has nothing to do. He didn’t particularly help himself with the issues after his last fight, whatever you think of them. (Please don’t go on long politically-driven rants about the situation, I’ll probably just delete them.)
Pulev last fought on March 23, beating Bogdan Dinu in a lowly-watched ESPN main event. The truth is Pulev is as big a deal as he’ll ever be. He’s vastly more credible than Schwarz, yet similarly offers nothing that should be of great concern to Fury. If Schwarz was a 0.7/10 concern for Tyson, Pulev is, like, a 5. Yes, he’s much better than the German, but isn’t himself some big challenge for Tyson on paper.
There’s also the built-in storyline that Pulev defeated Tyson’s cousin Hughie Fury back in Oct. 2018 in the IBF eliminator, so Tyson has a revenge angle of sorts that Top Rank can sell.
And Pulev is a Top Rank fighter, so the fight is in theory easy to make. Look, maybe Pulev would like to sit on that IBF shot, but if the money is right, he can surely give that up to fight the LiNeAl ChAmP, the man who beat the man who beat No. 3-ranked Ruslan Chagaev — ah, the history! THE UNBROKEN CHAIN DATING BACK 600 YEARS!
But seriously, Fury-Pulev may be worth it for Pulev. The chance to beat Fury is as big as sitting on the chance to beat Ruiz or Joshua, surely. Chris Mannix says Pulev is definitely in the mix.
Other Fall Options
If not Pulev, then whom? I dunno. Look, Fury just fought Tom goddamn Schwarz. With due respect for Schwarz having the sand to climb in the ring, and the fact he seems like a very nice, likable guy, this was laughable.
So Fury could fight any goof who has an undefeated record. Why not Croatia’s Petar Milas (14-0, 11 KO)? Why not European champ Agit Kabayel (19-0, 13 KO)? Why not Cuban Frank Sanchez Faure (11-0, 9 KO)? Why not Zhiilei Zhang (20-0, 16 KO)?
If Tom Schwarz can land Tyson Fury in June, anyone can in September or October. Tom Schwarz was nobody. No one had heard of Tom Schwarz before this fight got signed — as it turned out, for quite good reason.