Tyson Fury will be eased back towards championship contention by his promoter Frank Warren but must surely face sterner tests than his farcical four-round comeback win over Sefer Seferi.
Here, we look at five possibilities for future Fury fights in the months ahead.
The 33-year-old German is the current holder of the so-called ‘regular’ WBA heavyweight title, which he next defends against perennial contender Fres Oquendo in September. Charr – who was taken to 10 rounds by Seferi in 2016 – represents a low-key and relatively risk-free route for Fury to claim back some kind of heavyweight crown.
It is hard to say which was more predictable – Fury’s facile win over Seferi or the Liverpool fighter subsequently calling him out on Twitter. Bellew, a master of pre-fight hype, is looking for his next big challenge after two consecutive wins over David Haye, and a contest with Fury would be sure to capture the public imagination – albeit possibly for the wrong reasons.
A rare opponent who could match Fury for size, the likeable Liverpool heavyweight has been found wanting towards the top level and his future is in doubt after a recent crushing loss to Alexander Povetkin. But Price would surely fancy the chance to resurrect his career with a big win – and likewise few could argue if Fury dealt convincingly with such an imposing future.
A lively contender who gave Joshua something to think about in 2015, Whyte could find his stock raised again if he defeats Joseph Parker in an intriguing non-title bout in London in July. Either way, the winner will cement himself as one of the most prominent contenders in the division, making them an ideal foe for Fury as he nears his dream of reclaiming his heavyweight crowns.
THE WEALDSTONE RAIDER
The pint-sized internet sensation crashed Fury’s pre-fight press conference and frankly could be guaranteed to show more aggression than that offered by Seferi. As the sport lurches deeper into pantomime, such a contest can surely not be discounted.
Despite shedding more than eight stones to get himself back into fighting shape, Tyson Fury will carry a significant advantage into his comeback bout against Albanian Sefer Seferi in Manchester on Saturday.
Fury weighed in at 19st 10lbs at a good-natured weigh-in on Friday, making him a full four stones and nine pounds heavier than Seferi, whom he whisked off his feet and cradled in his arms as if to labour the point.
His weight makes Fury more than stones heavier that he was for his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, in which he won the world heavyweight title before his career threatened to spiral out of control.
Fury was stripped of his boxing licence as he fought a ban over a failed drugs test, while his much-publicised battle against depression contributed to a weight gain which led to doubts over his boxing future.
The 29-year-old is adamant his evident success in shaping up for a ring return will increase his popularity levels and, more importantly, serve as an inspiration for others who may be going through similar health issues.
Fury said: “I’ve had massive support throughout all my troubles, everybody’s really been helping me and spurring me on.
“This isn’t just me and my team, it’s me and the whole nation. I seem to have everyone behind me and I’m coming back and fighting for them.
“I’m fighting for people who need inspiration and help – people who suffer from mental health problems as well.
“It’s living proof if I can do it, then anyone can do it. To come from 27 and a half stone and to get to fighting level for Saturday night, then that is a statement, isn’t it.”
Every1 Wellcome to my weigh in!— DON TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) June 8, 2018
Going to be good.😜😂😎🥊✅💋🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/MIRmRHDyhW
Fury is clearly intent on reclaiming the world title belts he felt were wrongly stripped from him in the wake of his win over Klitschko, and in particular securing a major showdown with reigning champion Anthony Joshua.
But he has been careful to avoid focusing too much on his future prospects in the build-up to Saturday’s fight, in which the small but willing Seferi is unlikely to detain him for long.
There is no doubt Seferi can punch – 21 of his 23 wins have come inside the distance – but all his wins have come at cruiserweight, and his only loss was to heavyweight contender Manuel Charr in September 2016.
“I’m not here to dwell on the past, I’m here to move forward,” added Fury. “That is all in the past so let’s move on to the next chapter – the new Tyson Fury, the people’s champion. There’s no negativity here.”
The Ukrainian became the fastest fighter ever to claim titles in three different weight classes after recovering from a sixth-round flooring to suck the soul from the now-deposed WBA lightweight champ Linares with a vicious liver shot.
If ‘High-Tec’s’ status as the pound-for-pound king was ever in question before Saturday night’s bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden, there can be no doubt after this performance, a marriage of pure skill and raw will.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist is fast beginning to transcend boxing, no longer should the debate centre on his sovereignty atop the sweet science but instead the topic of discussion should be on his standing across all of sport.
He is that good. It is not promotional hyperbole, as Bob Arum can often be accused of, when the Top Rank head honcho ponders Lomachenko’s place among the all-time greats.
There is no other fighter on this planet right now with his silk-and-savage skillset, a beautiful combination of athleticism and technique with the mental gifts of heart and IQ.
It is absurd that in his 12th professional fight he adds a third belt in as many divisions. To put the feat into perspective, generational geniuses Oscar De La Hoya (22), Floyd Mayweather (34) and Manny Pacquiao (41) all took significantly longer to match the mark.
His resume can scarcely be believed. An amateur record of 396-1, a two-time World Amateur Champion, a two-time Olympic Champion, a first world title in his third pro fight, two-weight champ after seven and now three just five fights on.
And this latest victory was sensational. He faced a world-class champion, who was bigger, more experienced and who in the sixth-stanza had knocked him down for the first time as a pro and first time since 2007.
But he demonstrated a new thread to his bow in getting up, resetting and returning to his relentless output. In the 10th, he found the highlight-finish following a clean eight-punch flurry with a viciously placed hook to the body.
Linares bravely rose to his feet but the Venezuelan was unable to beat the count as referee Ricky Gonzalez waved him off at 2:08.
It’s difficult not to eulogise and celebrate Lomachenko because he is so talented. He is more complete than the self-proclaimed TBE, a fighter as comfortable on the inside as he is on the outside.
Yet, while he bossed an established bigger man, this may be the time for his ascent through the divisions to be halted, at least for now.
Lomachenko’s physique and stature is naturally suited to 126lbs but up at 135lbs, the knockdown proved a period of acclimation and unification should follow.
Not that there are no less exciting contests at lightweight. The vulnerability exposed by Linares, who make no mistake is a beast, should encourage the likes of WBC champ Mikey Garcia in particular who at 135lbs is a huge puncher with a very sharp grasp of the fundamentals.
“It was a great fight. That right hand [that knocked me down], it was a great punch. It happens,” Lomachenko said. “I prepared for the last few rounds, and my father [and trainer Anatoly Lomachenko] told me, ‘You need to go to the body.’
“Linares is a great champion, and the fight was good for the fans and everybody.”
“I thought the fight showed Linares is a helluva fighter, and Loma just stayed in there and knocked him out with a body shot,” Arum said. “He established himself as a great fighter. He has a fighting heart.”
Talk of course immediately turns to what is next for boxing’s most dynamic star but for now, boxing fans should just soak up this performance, one almost at odds with the violence of this sport it was so pretty at times.
Indeed, Loma’s displays belong in a gallery and we should rejoice his canvas is in a squared circle.