Why the biggest fight left in boxing might never happen

When Tyson Fury claimed Deontay Wilder's WBC heavyweight title, it set up the most mouth-watering prospect in boxing.

The Briton produced a stunning performance to beat Wilder, 14 months on from their controversial draw in which the majority of observers believed Fury should have won on points.

‘CAN’T FIGHT’: Pundit’s brutal takedown of Deontay Wilder

‘HE’S A WARRIOR’: Tyson Fury's classy tribute to beaten Deontay Wilder

Fury's win meant he regained one heavyweight belt, having given up the belts he won against Wladimir Klitschko when he became unified heavyweight champion in 2016.

The holder of the other heavyweight belts is of course Anthony Joshua, with Fury's latest victory setting up the chance at an all-British heavyweight unification bout.

It would undoubtedly be the biggest contest left in boxing - sure to pack out any of Britain's biggest stadiums.

Unfortunately for fight fans, it may never happen for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, Fury is “almost sure” Wilder will fight him for a third time despite destroying the champion inside seven rounds to claim the WBC heavyweight title.

A heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury would be a dream for boxing fans. Pic: Getty

The conclusive nature of the victory cast doubt over the value of Wilder’s rematch clause, with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn immediately suggesting a unification fight against Fury needs to happen.

Fury believes he will step into the ring with Wilder once again.

“The spoils of war are fresh,” he said.

“I need to enjoy this victory and Deontay needs time to recover. But I’m almost sure he’ll take the rematch because he’s a dynamite puncher and he can take someone out at any time.

“With that level of danger, you can always win a fight. I’m sure we’ll do it again if he wants to.

“If he doesn’t want to, I’m happy with whatever my promoters say. Whoever’s next gets the same treatment, that’s for sure.”

The American's head coach Jay Deas said it's almost inevitable Wilder will seek a third fight.

“My guess, knowing him like I do, [is] that he will absolutely want to rematch,” Deas said after the fight.

“These guys have put on two tremendous fights already, so I certainly think the public will want it, I think we’ll want it, and I think they’ll [Fury’s team] will want it ... so I think that's what you’ll see happen.”

Even if Wilder doesn't exercise his option for another rematch, Joshua still has two mandatory defences that make a showdown with Fury complicated, as reported by ESPN’s Dan Rafael.

“Wilder and Fury are bound to a third fight unless Wilder decides to pass on the option for an immediate rematch," Rafael said.

Anthony Joshua regained his belts after beating Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch. Pic: Getty

"Even if Wilder does pass, a fight with Joshua next is unlikely because Joshua has two mandatory defences on deck — one in June against Kubrat Pulev and then one later in the year against former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk.”

Then there is the distinct possibility that Fury will follow through on his shock recent revelation that he could retire after his next few fights.

"I've not got an age, but I've got three fights left on my contract with ESPN," Fury told ESPN's Ariel Helwani before the Wilder rematch.

Fury considering retiring from boxing

"And after that, I will seriously think about walking away."

Fury would surely love to bow out of boxing by beating Joshua in a heavyweight unification bout, but insisted that beating Wilder in Sunday's rematch was all he was interested in.

"When I beat Wilder on Saturday, I'll have completed the game. The game will be completed," Fury told reporters before the Las Vegas showdown.

"I'll have won every single belt there is to win in the game, from minor to major, and I'll have won The Ring magazine belt twice -- becoming only the second man in history to do that, me and Muhammad Ali.

"Even after this win on Saturday, there's nothing more to do. Nothing more to be gained."

Fury's comprehensive victory over Wilder was built on an aggressive mindset and set up by a big right hand that connected with Wilder's ear.

Tyson Fury could fight Deontay Wilder for a third time after claiming the WBC title in Las Vegas. Pic: Getty

The hit left the ear bloody and champion dazed, eventually seeing him go down heavily in the third and in the fifth.

A right to the head and left hook to the body had a tired Wilder down again.

He was up quickly but tired as Fury looked to bring about a conclusive finish. Wilder was in a sorry state by the start of the seventh.

Another left hook had him hurt and all he could offer was his trademark, lazy, looping right hand. Fury pinned him in the corner and Wilder’s corner pulled their man out of the contest.

Fury, a former unified champion who defeated the great Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 before being hit by depression and addiction, was quick to pay tribute to Wilder after the MGM Grand showdown.

Wilder was taken to hospital after the fight for precautionary checks and did not attend the post-fight press conference.

The American also required a couple of stitches for a cut in his ear.

Fury said in the ring: “Big shout-out to Deontay Wilder, he came here tonight, he manned up and really did show the heart of a champion.

“I hit him with a clean right hand and dropped him and he got back up and battled on into round seven. He is a warrior, he will be back, he will be a champion again.

“But I will say, the king has returned to the top.”

Wilder’s defeat was the first of his 44-fight professional career.

With agencies