Tyson Fury has conquered everyone he has faced in the boxing ring – so could he now return to the wrestling squared circle?
In his press conference following his devastating sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, Fury was quizzed about whether he will retire from boxing, something he had hinted at earlier in the evening, moments after flooring Whyte with a crunching uppercut.
The undefeated WBC heavyweight champion was also asked about a potential clash with the winner of this summer’s expected showdown between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.
But another combat sport was on Fury’s mind.
The 33-year-old first appeared in the WWE in 2019, defeating Braun Strowman at one of the company’s big shows in Saudi Arabia, via count-out after cracking Strowman with a right hand. A few weeks later he teamed with Strowman on an episode of SmackDown in Manchester.
A return to the Vince McMahon-helmed juggernaut now looks to be on Fury’s agenda, with the Brit saying: “I’ve got to speak to Vince and the boys, maybe make this happen.”
Fury – who was given messages of support by many WWE stars, including The Rock, last weekend – revealed he could appear at the flagship SummerSlam event in Tennessee on July 30.
He also said that he was interested in competing at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on September 3 when WWE stages a pay-per-view in the United Kingdom for the first time since SummerSlam in 1992 – the old Wembley Stadium the venue on that occasion 30 years ago.
Fury said: “Don’t rule me out of fighting there. You might see me at SummerSlam. We’re definitely going to make a bit of contact and see if we can make that SummerSlam thing a reality.
“I enjoyed it last time in Saudi Arabia, it was fantastic, so to come here and do it would be phenomenal. I’d love to be at Cardiff, I’d love to be in the centre stage in the UK.”
It’s obvious why WWE are interested in Fury.
He has the size, the charisma, the ability to sell a fight and the name value – the latter of which has only skyrocketed in the United States since the last time he set foot in a WWE ring, following two stoppage victories over fellow boxing heavyweight Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.
At a time when WWE is struggling for star names – The Undertaker and Triple H have retired, John Cena is now a part-time wrestler with acting his chief job – further Fury appearances could get bums on seats and boost PPV buys.
Fury’s interest in WWE is equally obvious.
The Daily Mail reported that he pocketed almost £12m for his bout with Strowman in Riyadh three years ago and the Brit is now in a position to demand an even more kingly fee what with his sustained success in the boxing ring.
He is arguably the best heavyweight of his generation and arguably one of the best of all time.
Many would argue that the staged nature of professional wrestling makes it a more routine payday than boxing – but Fury does not subscribe to that view.
“Anyone who says wrestling is easier than boxing is full of s**t. They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Fury said ahead of his clash with Strowman in 2019. “It’s very taxing on the body, very hard work.
“There’s a lot of impact to the human body which is different to boxing because you don’t really take any impact – well at least I don’t.
“In wrestling you take impact every day, getting power-slammed, suplexed, everything you can think of. It’s all just impact, impact, impact.
“I would say there is 100 times more impact than in boxing. I can honestly tell you that if I spar for 10 or 12 rounds, I might get hit five times. In this, you’re getting impacted every day. It is painful to say the least.”
There is unlikely to be a rematch with Strowman anytime soon, with the grappler monikered The Monster Among Men released from WWE in 2021.
But a potential opponent for Fury has emerged in the form of Scotland’s Drew McIntrye, a two-time WWE champion and the first male British world champion in the company’s history.
McIntryre told Sky Sports ahead of Fury-Whyte: “[Fury and I] go back and forth with each other and have done over the last couple of years, give each other stick.
“Whenever he shows up at one of our shows, he somehow manages to duck me, he is the world’s tallest ninja. He is obviously a little bit worried about something.
“I am a big fan of his. He is highly entertaining, such an attraction. That’s why I always tell him, ‘hey, with the WWE, the door is open, the ball’s in your court’. Perhaps himself and myself could do something in the ring.”
Fury responded after knocking out Whyte, saying: “I know Drew McIntyre has been saying a lot of things about me. I’ll knock him out, like I did his pal [Strowman]. I’d love to be at Cardiff.”
The lure of an Englishman fighting a Scotsman in Wales in a Battle of Britain showdown could tempt WWE to pay Fury the big bucks.
The path from the boxing ring to the wrestling ring is one well-trodden.
Mike Tyson has appeared for WWE numerous times, including at WrestleMania XIV in 1998 as the guest enforcer in the match between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.
Tyson laid out Michaels after the bell and the boxer-fells-wrestler narrative has since been revisited.
Evander Holyfield flooring MVP. Floyd Mayweather – with the aid of some brass knuckles – knocking out Big Show. Fury clocking Strowman.
It’s a narrative that may be revisited again over the coming months, with WWE one of many lucrative options for Fury.