Who next for Deontay Wilder? Andy Ruiz and four other possible fights

Wilder will be plotting a return to the ring next year and he could be set to face another British fighter...

Deontay Wilder may have lost consecutive fights against Tyson Fury but his performance in the third and final installment of their rivalry has seen his stock rise.

There were question marks behind what Wilder had left after being dominated in their 2020 rematch - a fight that saw him knocked down three times on his way to a seventh-round defeat.

While the American suffered yet another loss to Fury, the trilogy contest in October saw Wilder nearly recapture his WBC strap in a fight that included five knockdowns, two coming from the "Bronze Bomber" in round five.

At 36, Wilder is no spring chicken so there is a chance he may snub a traditional tune-up fight and go straight into another blockbuster.

Below, Planet Sport assesses the fighters in line to take on Wilder next.

Andy Ruiz Jr

Andy Ruiz Jr

The Mexican-American heavyweight is favourite to take on Wilder after admitting his interest in facing him. It also helps that both fighters are represented by Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions.

Ruiz has had just one fight since his one-sided defeat to Anthony Joshua, overcoming Chris Arreola via unanimous decision although he did taste the canvas during his victory.

Despite being inactive, Ruiz is still a big name in the division having previously knocked out Joshua in 2019 to win the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

Looking to resurrect his career, Ruiz is fighting under Eddy Reynoso - the same coach who trains Pound for Pound superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua

It is unlikely the two will meet next but this is a fight that whets the appetite for fans despite both being defeated this year.

Joshua lost his heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in September via unanimous decision in London.

"AJ" has triggered his rematch clause to face Usyk in March or April but promoter Bob Arum is hopeful Joshua will step aside to allow an undisputed showdown to take place.

According to Arum, Fury is only interested in colliding with Usyk. If Joshua decided to let Fury and Usyk slug it out for all four major world titles then the second-biggest fight is between himself and Wilder.

Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

An all-American clash with Michael Hunter could be an intriguing clash for Wilder. Hunter is undefeated since moving up to heavyweight and has a 20-1-1 record, the only loss coming to Usyk at cruiserweight.

Hunter has had nine fights at heavyweight, winning eight and one draw to Alexander Povetkin in Saudi Arabia on the Ruiz-Joshua 2 undercard although many felt he had done enough to win on the scorecards.

"The Bounty" classes himself as the boogeyman of the division and a fight against Wilder would encounter vintage trash talk.

Dillian Whyte

Dillian Whyte

Currently going through an arbitration court battle with the WBC, the verdict could scupper his chances of challenging Fury for the green-and-gold belt.

Whyte had been ranked No.1 with the governing body for more than 600 days but was not given the chance to fight for world honours before surrendering his position to Povetkin in 2020.

The "Bodysnatcher" is back as interim champion and in the number one position after avenging his defeat to Povetkin earlier this year in Gibraltar.

Every time there is a chance for him to fight for a world title, something seems to get in the way and should he miss out on his chance of fighting Fury then Wilder is the perfect opponent.

The heavyweight rivals have a genuine dislike for each other and inside the ring, it is guaranteed to produce not only fireworks but big numbers on pay-per-view.

Joe Joyce

Joe Joyce is the mandatory challenger for the WBO heavyweight title

At 13-0, Joyce is the mandatory challenger for Usyk's WBO crown and will be expected to challenge the champion by next September.

However, following a rematch between Usyk and Joshua next year, the winner will look to take on the WBC titlist to determine the first undisputed champion since 1999.

Joyce will want to return to the ring before fighting for heavyweight world titles and the biggest payday he could hope for outside of Usyk, Joshua and Fury is Wilder.

It is a big risk for the "Juggernaut" though and he may consider another tune-up fight to remain active rather than risk his world ranking.

Read more: Can Jake Paul beat Tommy Fury?

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