Having vanquished the outclassed Tom Schwarz, Tyson Fury next fight could be against Jarrell Miller or Kubrat Pulev. Danny Flexen looks at the two men
Tyson Fury took care of business, as he was expected to, in rapid but entertaining fashion last week in his Las Vegas debut. Unbeaten but untested Tom Schwarz was ruthlessly put to the sword and fans now expect a step up in the quality of opposition. Designed as a US showcase in the first outing of Fury’s lucrative deal with ESPN, the Schwarz drubbing was broadly deemed acceptable but now we want to see “The Gypsy King” tested before he again meets Deontay Wilder, who must first get through another rematch, with Luis Ortiz, in early 2020. Before that can happen, Fury is likely to be out on September 21 or October 5, probably in New York. Two potential opponents have been mooted thus far and we look at both men.
“Big Baby” sees his ludicrously brief six-month ban for three different performance-enhancing substances, taken in the build-up to his schedule June shot at Anthony Joshua, expire in September. His recent mood appears to have changed from one of remorse to blame-avoiding indignance. Given Fury’s own history of failing a drug test, albeit far less severely than Miller, this is far from the most palatable contest. That said, if Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum is set on the fight being in New York, Brooklyn’s Miller is a local draw and an unbeaten, ambitious heavyweight who stands 6ft 4ins tall and will significantly outweigh the ‘lineal champion’. Miller is tough, deceptively slick and throws a volume of punches that belies his size. He will do his best to force an awkward, uber-skilful opponent to work, and allow Fury to invade the Barclays Center, Wilder’s adopted home where the WBC king has fought four of his last seven bouts.
While the physically strong, technically adept Bulgarian, aan excellent amateur, cannot boast the New York connection, he would be the more respected challenge. Now 38, he has fought and mostly won at a high level for the last seven years and holds victories over Alexander Ustinov (when he was unbeaten), Tony Thompson (when he was dangerous), Dereck Chisora and Sam Peter. Pulev’s only defeat has been to a near-peak and uncharacteristically aggressive Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014. In his last fight, an IBF final eliminator, Pulev clearly outpointed Hughie Fury, lending a natural backstory to a potential clash with his cousin Tyson. If only both Furys still trained together, and Tyson had been in Hughie’s corner in Sofia, this would sell itself. Pulev is arguably a tougher fight than Miller, though his style could suit Fury more. I do feel, however, that this showdown would sell markedly better in the UK than America and Miller remains the current favourite to get the gig.