Nobody believed Tyson Fury when he said he was going to retire from boxing after knocking out Dillian Whyte in April.
At just 33 years old and with huge potential paydays still on the horizon, it was inevitable that the Gypsy King would announce his return to the ring.
It was just a case of where, when and who would entice the world heavyweight champion to step back into the ring.
Tyson Fury’s next opponent is up in the air as he looks to come out of his brief ‘retirement’
All fingers point towards the winner of Anthony Joshua’s highly anticipated rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, which takes place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on August 20.
That would give the boxing world what everyone has been clamouring for and that’s a unification bout to prove who is the true king of the heavyweight division.
The hope among British boxing fans is that that clash will be between Joshua and Fury – something which appeared to unravel when Usyk’s hand was raised in victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
It is something that could still happen if Joshua were to beat Usyk next week, and both AJ and the Gypsy King are available and looking for a fight in December.
Fury (right) claims to have sent a contract to Derek Chisora ahead of a potential trilogy bout
Chisora is coming off a revenge victory over Kubrat Pulev after losing three prior fights
So what wasn’t expected was the Gypsy King coming out on Instagram and telling Derek Chisora to sign a contract for a trilogy bout – with talks of the contest taking place at Old Trafford in December.
Fury has twice defeated Chisora, the last of which came nearly eight years ago when Del Boy’s corner forced him to withdraw from the fight in the tenth round of their November 2014 clash.
While a fight involving Fury will always do good numbers, there isn’t the same public demand, nor would it make anywhere near the amount that a unification bout with Usyk, or especially Joshua, would make.
So it raises the question of what game the Gypsy King is really playing ahead of his inevitable return to the ring.
To start with there are some, including potential opponent Chisora, who felt his plans to retire ahead of his last bout were simply to increase ticketing and pay-per-view sales for his fight with Whyte.
Chisora told talkSPORT: ‘Tyson says so many things, man. He’s a guy who has gone through a lot, he’s done well for himself and he says so many things.
‘Wembley is a big stadium to sell out, fellas. Only a few fighters can sell out Wembley, only a few promoters can do that. The last big show at Wembley was AJ and Klitschko and other fighters. If he sells out, this won’t be his last fight.’
It was expected Fury would come out of retirement for a unification bout with Anthony Joshua (pictured, left) or Oleksandr Usyk (right) to finally get one king of heavyweight division
Now Fury is talking about the fight with Chisora – with the pair having reconciled since their second meeting in 2014.
Chisora recently exacted a revenge victory over Kubrat Pulev after losing his three prior fights, including back-to-back defeats with Joseph Parker and to Ukrainian Usyk.
The 38-year-old doesn’t have too many more big fights left in the tank, and a fight with Fury could be seen as one way to give Chisora his last big payday in the ring -while it would be a safe fight for the Gypsy King to extend his 32-0-1 unbeaten record.
But again could it be just a marketing ploy to build-up a future match with Usyk or Joshua?
Come August 20, the knowledge of who Fury could face in a unification bout will be known.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn made it no secret as to what Joshua would like to do should he defeat Usyk, saying that the plan is to fight again in December regardless of the outcome.
Eddie Hearn (second right) says Joshua wants to face Fury regardless of beating Usyk or not
The Matchroom Boxing promoter told DAZN: ‘Obviously, we’re going for the win (against Usyk) and I believe he is going to be victorious and if so we’d look straight for the Tyson Fury fight for undisputed.
‘It’s the biggest fight out there in boxing, the biggest fight of all time. The key for AJ is activity, for sure.’
‘I believe actually that AJ-Fury will happen regardless of August 20th. Like I said, if and when AJ wins, that fight is the biggest fight in the history of the sport. Not just in our generation—the history of the sport.’
With both men free in December for what would be the biggest fight in British boxing history, it is the bout that makes most sense for Fury, should Joshua prevail next week.
With Joshua, a fresh and new challenger for Fury who is said to want the fight, there is the issue of fatigue so soon after his mammoth rematch with Usyk. It raises the question of why the Gypsy King wouldn’t want that match-up to go ahead.
Fury perhaps would like another fight before Joshua or Usyk to prepare himself for the biggest fight of his career, regardless of opponent.
The Gypsy King though is a man who likes to play games and have fun both with the media, and on social media.
Fury has been enjoying life in retirement but it was no secret that he would return to the ring
He has previously claimed in separate interviews it would cost someone £500million to get him out of retirement, and he has been linked with fights with a host of other names, even including Game of Thrones actor Hafthor Bjornsson.
Bob Arum has dismissed talks of a fight with Chisora as ‘fun’ and that the Gypsy King will wait for the winner of Joshua and Usyk.
Arum told Fight Freaks Unite: ‘What are we, crazy?. Everybody is waiting for the [Joshua vs Usyk] fight to happen a week from Saturday, and then we’ll explore whether it’s feasible to do a fight for the complete unification. [Fury] is having fun, for Christ’s sake! Don’t take it seriously.
‘He’s getting a little antsy, as we all are, because we’re waiting [for Joshua vs Usyk]. If Usyk wins then there’s one path to take, because then everybody is close and friendly; and if Joshua wins then we’ve got to deal with Eddie [Hearn, Joshua’s promoter] and all that stuff.
‘[If the Joshua vs Usyk] winner needs a lot more time off because of an injury and so forth, then there is a possibility we’d move ahead with a Chisora fight.’
So going by Arum’s comments, a bout with Chisora could well just be a contingency plan if the winner of Usyk v Joshua is not available in December.
But if the winner of next week’s bout is available, potentially for a fight at Old Trafford, then all logic would point to the possibility of a heavyweight unification bout – finally – becoming a reality for boxing fans.