could it still happen? A look at boxing's heavyweight landscape

Last update on. From the section Boxing
Anthony Joshua (left), lost unanimously to Oleksandr Usyk, Ukraine's undisputed champion in cruiserweight.

That was not the script.

Anthony Joshua's defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, the world title holder in boxing, has reshaped the landscape of heavyweight boxing. It seems that it may have pushed Tyson Fury's all-British match with Tyson Fury farther away than ever.

It felt like we were just a step away from an announcement that confirmed a once in a generation super-fight between Joshua, who holds the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles, and Fury, the WBC champion. Britain finally had its undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era.

Joshua was instead ready to face Usyk, his mandatory WBO challenger, after Fury was ruled out at an arbitration hearing in May.

Both Brits needed to win their fights. Joshua was defeated by Ukrainian Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before Fury and Wilder could meet in October.

BBC Sport examines the implications of this for heavyweight division and whether Fury-Joshua could still be contested.

Is Joshua required to fight Usyk once more?

Joshua thought about invoking the clause for a rematch just minutes after Usyk had beaten him on points.

Eddie Hearn, his promoter, stated that "the first thing he said was in the changing area was 'I can beat him' and then he went on to say what he needed to do."

He reclaimed the WBO, WBA, and IBF belts six years later after Joshua lost to Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr.

However, Usyk presents a new and perhaps more difficult challenge.

Carl Froch, former world champion, doesn't think that Joshua should be rematched.

Froch stated that Joshua could come back from the fight - he can certainly - but that the immediate rematch is not the right thing for him.

Joshua's eye injury on Saturday will determine if and when the rematch takes place. However, Steve Bunce, BBC boxing pundit, believes that the two could face each other at London's Wembley Stadium next April or May.

After Saturday's win, Usyk stated that he would love to see a rematch at Olimpiyskiy Stadium Kiev. However, Hearn quickly dismissed the idea and spoke about London's "maximising income".

Joshua will need to - and may want to – reclaim the world title belts in order to fight Fury in 2022.

Wilder is defeated by Fury - what then?

Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Uzyk: I'll fight Tyson Fury with the belts off - Joshua

Although Usyk may not have been able to stop immediate plans for the all-British superfight, Fury from Morecambe has his own battle.

Fury will defend his title against Wilder in his third fight in Las Vegas on 9 October. After a draw, Fury won the first fight by a 7th round stoppage.

Fury will be the favourite to defend his crown after the one-sided encounter.

Joshua said that he would face Fury without the belts. It may not be so simple. It could be that Joshua is even farther away if Fury defeats Wilder.

The biggest problem has been who fighter is considered the "A side" and should be paid more.

Joshua does not have a global title despite his popularity and following. This makes it even more difficult to negate.

Frank Warren, Fury's copromoter, isn't optimistic that the fight will happen.

Warren stated, "I don’t see it happening right now." What would Tyson do to Warren if it happened? It wouldn't be 12 rounds. Tyson would have killed him."

Todd du Boef is president of Top Rank's Fury co-promoters. He believes that Joshua will fight, but is reluctant about when. He told 5 Live Boxing that he believes there is a chance they will see the fight. People are very patient. It happened when we asked Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis if they would ever see them again. It may not have been in their prime careers, but it did happen.

What if Wilder beat Fury?

Tyson Fury, who holds a record of 30 victories and one draw, has not fought since beating Deontay wilder in February 2020.

Wilder may not have Fury's ring skills or Joshua's punching repertoire, but he is one of the most dangerous knockout performers in division history.

He holds a record of 41 stops in 42 victories, with only one draw and one loss - both against Fury.

It's not impossible that Fury could suffer his first professional loss when they meet in less than two weeks.

This could bring us closer towards a Fury Joshua contest.

There are no world titles. Both fighters have blemishes on their records. There is no 'A side' or egos.

Two fighters would be the only ones to do it, vying for the title of best in Britain.

Joshua stated, "The road to undisputed champion" is a good title to chase. But would you still be able to watch it without your belts?

"The most important thing is that you have two British fighters in your ring that are willing to fight and just want to get toe-toe."

Dillian Whyte: Where do they fit in?

Dillian Whyte (left), who defeated Russian Alexander Povetkin on March after losing to him in August 2020, is now the victor

Dillian Whyte is another Briton who will likely be the mandatory opponent to the winner of Wilder or Fury.

Londoner is currently holding the WBC interim heavyweight belt, and could be able to finally claim his long-awaited title shot.

Fury and Whyte were involved in several social media spats over the years. While it might not have the same fame as Fury-Joshua's, it is a fight that will draw global attention.

It is possible that Joshua and Whyte will rematch.

They met in a bloody affair to win the British title in 2015. Joshua won by a 7th round stoppage, but Whyte's game has improved considerably since then.

The battle of words might have begun with Whyte calling Joshua "gun shy" during the loss to Usyk.

He said, "I don’t know, he lacks ambition in the ring that tonight," on BBC Radio 5 Live.

But Whyte needs to attend to his business before he can think about Wilder Fury, Joshua, or Fury.

The 33-year old has a record 28 wins and 2 losses. He will face Otto Wallin, a tricky Swedish southpaw, at the O2 Arena in London on October 30.

Joe Joyce?

Joe Joyce (left), beat Carlos Takam, Cameroon's native fighter, with a sixth round stoppage at Wembley Arena.

Britain has many top-tier heavyweight boxers. Joe Joyce, WBO number 2, is perhaps the most underrated.

The 2016 Olympic silver medallist has only 13 professional fights. He already has notable records, including wins over Bermane Stiverne (former world champion), Bryant Jennings (world-title challenger) and Carlos Takam (highly rated prospect).

Warren promotes Joyce through Queensbury and believes that his fighter should have a chance at Usyk.

Warren stated, "Number 1 is Joyce - We'll be pushing to get that,"

"The WBO stated before the fight that Usyk would have to fight him if he won. They are trying to push it back now, but we won't stand for that.

"A rematch agreement has nothing to do the organisation. If they don't say yes, it's a non."

Is there anyone else?

While most of the fighters mentioned above are well-known, there are still a few that could be calling the door in the coming year.

American Trevor Bryan holds WBA's regular title. Francophone Tony Yoka and Croat Filip Hrgovic are highly rated. They are all undefeated.

Ruiz Jr. is seeking to return to the world-title contention, under the tutelage and guidance of Eddy Reynoso who trains Mexican Saul Canelo Alvarez pound-for pound.

Dubois, a 24-year-old Londoner, has rebounded from Joyce's loss with two knockout victories and is now ranked number 1 with the WBA.

As Usyk demonstrated this weekend, you should never underestimate anyone in the heavyweight division.