2019 was all set to be a stellar year in the heavyweight division.
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder were expected to face-off again following their sensational draw back in December, and then the winner - if there is one this time - would go on to face Anthony Joshua before the year is out.
But, it’s now looking like the three rivals could go the whole calendar year without facing each other.
What a shame.
It that does prove to be the case it’s a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
Why the doom and gloom?
Well, Tyson Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum appears to have ruled out a 2019 rematch with Wilder, with a bout more likely to occur in February next year, following the Gypsy King’s decision to sign a deal with American promoter Top Rank.
“Assuming he [Fury] wins this fight, he’ll have another appearance in the United States. Then hopefully next year in February he’ll end up fighting Wilder,” Arum told World Boxing News.
“Their idea is to have Wilder fight twice on their platform and then to get together a do a PPV fight. ESPN is just a distributor.
“It may well be that Wilder also has a network involved. They may want to share the distribution in some way with ESPN and that is something we’ve done before.”
“This fight” that Arum is referring to is expected to pit the ‘lineal’ heavyweight champion against Germany’s undefeated heavyweight Tom Schwarz in an interim bout in June at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, as reported by talkSPORT.
It’s difficult to get excited about that one to be honest.
Meanwhile, Wilder is scheduled to face mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale at the Barclays Center in New York City on May 18, where he puts his undefeated record and WBC heavyweight belt on the line - he's priced at just 2/9 to propel his win count to 41 from 42 fights.
If, as expected, both Wilder and Fury win their respective fights it’s hoped that they will renew their rivalry before the year comes to a close, although Arum’s aforementioned comments indicate that there’s little chance of that coming to fruition.
What about Anthony Joshua?
The WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion will face Jarrell Miller at New Year’s Madison Square Garden on June 1. The fight will mark Joshua’s debut on US soil and while the initial reaction to the bout was muted, the duo made sure to spice things up in their explosive first press conference.
So what next?
Boxing’s unpredictable and thoroughly frustrating nature means that 2019 could be something of a missed opportunity when it comes to blockbuster bouts, which is a titanic shame given the electric drama witnessed at the back end of last year. However, let’s hope that the sport can positively surprise us for once...