The heavyweight boxing merry-go-round is in full swing!
The heavyweight division is arguably the most exciting it has been since the days of Holyfield, Tyson and Lewis.
Currently, the championship belts all are in the hands of two undefeated fighters: Britain’s Anthony Joshua, aged 28 (21 fights, 21 wins, 20 KOs) holds the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles whilst America’s Deontay Wilder, aged 32 (40 fights, 40 wins, 39 KOs) has the WBC belt.
There has been lots of toing and froing between the two over a unification fight, but alas this has not yet come to fruition. Both fighters have blamed each other for the fight not happening but Wilder’s camp are the ones making all the noise saying that Joshua was not prepared to fight in America (preferring a fight on home soil at Wembley stadium) despite being offered $50 million!
Instead, Anthony Joshua will fight Russian Alexander Povetkin on September 22nd at Wembley Stadium.
Enter Tyson Fury, aged 30 (27 fights, 27 wins, 19 KOs) former heavyweight champion of the world and crucially still lineal champion. He remains undefeated in the ring but had to relinquish control of his belts after a two-year battle with addiction and mental health. Fury made his return in June after shedding 122 pounds in 8 months to stop Sefer Seferi after 4 rounds and won again last night (Saturday) in Belfast against Francesco Pianeta on points. Fury won every round convincingly.
Crucially, Wilder was ringside to watch. Both Fury and Wilder confirmed that they will now fighteach other either November or December in either Las Vegas or Brooklyn. This mouth-watering match-up has even more exciting ramifications for a future fight with Joshua, with the winner able to unify the division.
Many questions remain, however:
Why did the Wilder-Joshua fight not get made originally?
Has the Wilder fight arrived too soon for Fury (Wilder is a huge step-up in class from Seferi and Pianeta and a loss would make a future ‘Battle of Britain’ match-up against Joshua impossible)?
Has Wilder underestimated Fury (a defeat for Wilder would mean he loses his WBC crown as well as the lucrative Joshua fight afterwards)?
Who is the best heavyweight of the 3? Joshua has the athleticism, Wilder has the explosive punching power and Fury has the boxing agility. Three great fighters with three differing styles.
Watch this space and expect big things in the latter rounds of 2018 as well as 2019!
Wilder entered the ring after Fury’s bout and the two confirmed the fight ‘is on’.
Note the smiling Shelly Finkel (Wilder’s promoter) top left.