British boxing legend turned trainer Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton has revealed the whispers whirling around boxing circles with regards to Tyson Fury’s future.
The former IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion finally ended his two-and-a-half-year absence in June, beating the ridiculously overmatched cruiserweight Sefer Seferi via a fourth round TKO.
The ‘Gypsy King’ will need to step up the level of opposition when he fights on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s August 18 show at Windsor Park, Belfast, in August, if he wishes to retain the interest of the viewing public.
Who is the pugilist supposedly being lined up to face Fury?
According to Hatton, that fighter will be Liverpool’s Tony Bellew, the man who sent David Haye crashing into retirement in May.
Bellew has only fought twice at heavyweight, but managed to impress on both occasions in beating the much heavier and bigger punching David Haye.
Bellew displayed ring IQ, power, tight defence and, perhaps most importantly, bucket-loads of determination in besting the former WBA heavyweight champion Haye, who was strongly touted to beat Bellew on both occasions.
What’s more, Bellew has the confidence and silver tongue capable of matching Fury’s often fearsome trash talk and will genuinely back himself to win both the mind games and physical battle against the ring-rusty Mancunian.
Hatton, who allowed Fury to train in his Hyde gym as he came back from suspension, told the Daily Star: “I keep hearing he’s going to fight Tony Bellew. I’ve not seen Fury - he has not been in the gym as I think he is in Marbella.
"But that’s what I keep getting told in little boxing circles - how true it is I don’t know.”
There is genuine beef between the two men and barbs have been traded almost constantly over the last few months.
The match-up would pique the interest of the British public and would likely wind up raking in money on PPV.
One thing that could scupper any negotiations between the two parties is purse split. Both bring fans and spotlight to the table and would expect to be compensated accordingly.
Addressing this issue, Hatton said: “If it is going to happen, Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn need to come together. That could the toughest part.
"No disrespect to Warren or Hearn, but sometimes with different TV stations and promoters everyone wants their edge.
"I think it’s one that could be done if it’s 50/50. But nine times out of 10, boxing promoters don’t think that way!”
A 50/50 split is arguably justified considering the context and it is difficult to envisage a compromise not being reached.
In discussing the potential fight, Hatton also revealed who he expects to win should the two men fight each other.
Suggesting Fury may have the edge, Hatton explained: “I don’t know if Haye was that little bit too far gone or I’m not giving Tony the credit he deserves. The way he won those fights against Haye was brilliant.
"But Fury is different. He’s so much heavier and Bellew won’t be able to out box him.
"People say: ‘well Haye was bigger than Bellew’ - but Fury dwarfs both of them."
With just over a month before Fury is due to re-enter the ring to resume his comeback, time is of the essence should he square up to a viable opponent. Tony Bellew may just be that man.