Deontay Wilder is yet to shed light on his immediate future, but The Bronze Bomber faces a potential route back to world title glory should Tyson Fury follow through with plans to retire from professional boxing.
Fury reiterated his intention to hang up his gloves on Saturday night after defending his WBC heavyweight belt with an emphatic sixth-round knockout win over Dillian Whyte upon his UK homecoming.
Were the Gypsy King to walk away, it would leave Wilder with the opportunity to fight for the vacant belt as the No 1 contender in the WBC rankings.
The 36-year-old has been out of the ring since losing to Fury via 11th-round knockout in the third and final meeting of their trilogy last October, though WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman tells Sky Sports he expects Wilder to fight in 2022.
“He’s taking it easy, he’s weighing up his plans for the future, he had a very busy reign as a champion, two knockout losses to Fury, difficult but he’s matured and he’s doing very well,” Sulaiman said.
“He’s having a good time with his wife, he’s enjoying life but I’m sure he’ll be back.
“He’s one of those fighters that you rarely see in the ring that has the ability to knock somebody out with one punch and he has had many exciting fights. He’s a great fighter and great person.
“I’m sure he will fight this year.”
Joe Joyce currently sits at No 2 in the WBC rankings as he prepares to face No 3 ranked Joseph Parker later this summer.
One of the unsung takeaways from Fury’s dominant performance over Whyte and Wembley was perhaps the idea Wilder is deserving of more recognition for the weight his name carries in the heavyweight scene.
The threat of Whyte’s punching power had been compared to that of Wilder during the build-up to the fight, but rarely did The Body Snatcher look like dropping his rival, something Wilder achieved on four occasions across their three bouts.
Wilder (42-2-1) successfully defended his WBC title on 10 occasions during his five-year reign as champion, surpassing that of Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko and Joe Frazier, all of whom recorded nine winning defences.
“I’d like to see Deontay Wilder fight whoever for it again,” Fury said to Behind The Gloves after Saturday’s fight.
“I do believe he’s still the second-best heavyweight in the world. I believe he knocks everybody else out but me.”
Few of the 94,000 fans packed inside Wembley believed Fury as he suggested he was closing a curtain on his extraordinary career, a potential unification clash with the winner of Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk’s rematch beckoning as a perfect way to cap things off.
“I’ve said what I’ve said, I’m happy with my decisions, I’m going to go home with my wife and my kids, I’ve been away for a long time, I’ve fulfilled everything I ever wanted to fulfil,” he told reporters.
“I’m going to retire as only the second heavyweight in history to retire undefeated after Rocky Marciano. Two-time Ring Magazine heavyweight champion of the world, there’s never been a Ring Magazine holder in my era, there hasn’t been a lineal in my era either.”
Fury appeared more interested in an exhibition against UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, as well as teasing another WWE appearance later this year.