It seemed like the long-awaited showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua was closer than ever, but boxing fans are likely to be disappointed yet again.
After weeks of back-and-forth between both fighters and their respective teams, the planned December Battle of Britain clash now appears dead as talks between the two parties collapse.
Will we ever see Fury and Joshua face off in the ring? The chances are getting smaller, but now they are looking for alternative opponents.
Both men are aiming to return to action before the end of the year, so what’s next for the British couple?
sports mail takes a look at the possible options for Fury and Joshua as they prepare to go their separate ways.
Charr and Chisora on Fury’s radar
Even as negotiations with Joshua seemed to be progressing, other names were mentioned as potential opponents for Fury.
One fighter who wasn’t shy about calling out the Gypsy King was Mahmoud Charr.
The Lebanon-born heavyweight held the WBA (Regular) title between 2017 and 2021 but was beaten in promotion to the top flight by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and Mairis Briedis.
He too has only fought twice since November 2017, both times in his adopted country of Germany.
Whether he deserves a shot at Fury is up for debate, but the Brit accepted Charr’s challenge on social media last month, suggesting a fight between the two is a real possibility.
Meanwhile, a trilogy fight involving Derek Chisora has also been discussed. When Fury first announced his decision to end his short-lived retirement in August, he called out his former enemy despite having already beaten him twice in 2011 and 2014.
Talks about the planned fight didn’t last very long as Fury claimed his rival had asked for too much money, but Chisora’s promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed his fighter has received a new offer from Fury’s team, indicating that the Matchup could still take place year.
Fury’s father John has also thrown three other names into the mix, listing Andy Ruiz Jr, Luis Ortiz and Filip Hrgovic as potential opponents for his son.
The WBC champion is set to fight on December 3 and time seems to be running out to stage a clash with any of these trios as they have all been battling for the past few weeks.
Is Joshua Whyte II in sight?
Joshua has suffered back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk and Hearn hinted after his defeat in Saudi Arabia in August that the two-time world champion could have a slightly easier fight next to return to winning ways.
However, the opportunity to fight Fury then presented itself and that plan was quickly shelved.
Now that Fury is gone, Joshua may still want a meaningful fight to get his career back on track and that could see him taking on Dillian Whyte again.
They first met in 2015 in a fight that left both men injured at various stages before Joshua landed a vicious uppercut in the seventh round to bring the contest to a dramatic conclusion.
Whyte has made no secret of his desire to avenge that defeat and Joshua always seemed ready to step back into the ring with his old rival before they both hang up their gloves.
Whyte is also looking to bounce back from defeat after finishing second against Fury in April and this could be the perfect crossroads fight for him and Joshua.
Boxing fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for that rematch just yet, however, as Hearn previously stated it’s more likely to happen in 2023.
The 43-year-old promoter announced last month that Joshua would be targeting a “top 15 heavyweight” for December should the Fury fight fail, and reviewed Hrgovic, Zhilei Zhang and Otto Wallin as potential contenders to tie it with the Brit record.