In this article, I will go through some of the big fights which are already scheduled or could happen this year. This is part 1 of 2 and the second part with feature other fights including GGG Canelo 2, Amir Khan’s return and Jorge Linares’ next fight! Stay tuned for that which will be coming out very soon!
Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker
Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker was officially announced a few weeks back and it’s building up to be a huge fight. In the first press conference, it was tense, Parker took digs at Joshua referencing his chin and questioning his ability. Parkers promoter, David Higgins, was questioned by Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, on what he had said on social media. Everything is on the line for this fight, whoever wins will be even closer to unifying the whole heavyweight division. Joseph Parker has said that Tyson Fury could walk to the ring with him if he wants to which would cause more chaos for sure. Deontay Wilder is apparently going to be ringside for the fight if he defeats his next opponent who is Luis Ortiz (more on that fight further down). And of course… Shannon Briggs has said he might turn up at the fight if Fury is there as he has been taunting the former undisputed champ on social media for a while.
This fight will be absolute fire for sure, is Joshua’s chin weak as Parker and his promoter suggest? I don’t think so, he took some heavy shots from the great Klitschko and managed to not be stopped. He also got wobbled by Dillian Whyte but didn’t hit the canvas for the entirety of the fight. Is Parker a deserved world champion? This isn’t clear as he hasn’t fought many, if any, world-class heavyweights who have proved they deserve to be at the top. He struggled against Hughie Fury, who possibly lost the fight due to a decision weighed down ‘boxing politics’, and if not is Fury really the same standard as the unified world champion AJ?
After this fight, the winner has one man in the front of their mind for sure: Deontay Wilder (or Luis Ortiz). The current WBC champ Wilder, or Luis Ortiz if he beats Wilder, has the missing puzzle piece of the heavyweight division and so the winner does need to fight the WBC champion at some point for sure. If Joshua defeats Parker then I think he will go on to fight Tyson Fury in the summer if he successfully gets his boxing license (more on this below). I think the winner of Fury Joshua would then go on to face the WBC champion at the end of 2018 in the USA. If Joseph Parker wins this fight I think he will go onto to face possibly the mandatory for one of the belts and then face the WBC champ at the end of 2018.
Errol Spence vs Peterson recap/possible next fight
Errol Spence defeated Lamont Peterson last weekend by stoppage. Spence dropped his fellow American in the fifth round and landed flurries of punches throughout the fight. Spence continued to dominate Peterson throughout the fight which ultimately led to his trainer throwing the towel in at the start of round 8. Spence, or ‘The Truth’ as he is otherwise known, has been linked to a possible fight with Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman recently and I think the fight should happen but not yet. Spence is set to fight on the 16th of June and Thurman has been out of action for around half a year due to him having elbow surgery. I would personally rather see a fighting fit Thurman fight Spence Jr later on in the year than just see them fight sooner when Thurman is unlikely to be 100%. Thurman is set to return on May 19th in Brooklyn against an unnamed opponent (possibly Jessie Vargas) and I hope we will get to see Thurman face Spence Jr near the end of 2018.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew 2
The David Haye vs Tony Bellew rematch is all good to go ahead on May 5th and they will hopefully both be fighting fit. Eddie Hearn has said David Haye will be 100% fit for the agreed date and it will be fire for sure. The first fight saw Bellew pull off a huge upset when he stopped David Haye in round 11. Haye tore his Achilles in the sixth round of the fight but continued to try and fight back until his corner threw in the towel in round 11 following a knockdown which knocked Haye out of the ring. The rematch was set to be on December 17th but was called off due to Haye tearing his bicep during training. Once again the rematch has been rescheduled to May 5th and if all is well this will be a great showdown.
Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz
Deontay Wilder is set to return to the ring to face Luis Ortiz on March 3rd. Wilder last fought back at the start of November against Bermane Stiverne. The Bronze Bomber put on an impressive display, he knocked down his fellow American after just over 2 minutes of the first round. He then went hunting when Stiverne got back to his feet and knocked him down once again. Stiverne returned to his feet but Wilder hit him once again with some dangerous shots and knocked Stiverne down with around 5 seconds remaining to clinch the victory. As for the challenger, Ortiz, he was scheduled to fight Wilder on November 4th of last year but after Ortiz failed a drugs test the fight cancelled. Wilder agreed to have a rematch with Ortiz as he had made a name for himself and was the best fighter on offer.
Tyson Fury Return
Tyson Fury’s boxing license suspension has been lifted which means that as long as he passes medical and drug tests. Fury hasn’t fought since he beat Wladimir Klitschko in a huge upset victory back in November of 2015. Fury had all sorts of problems since that loss, je was meant to fight Klitschko in a rematch but for various reasons, it was called off. He has been banned/suspended since then and so he hasn’t returned to the ring in over 2 years. Fury’s return has been highly anticipated and there are various options for him when he returns. I doubt he will go straight to world title level, but after he has had one or two filler fights I hope to see him return to the level he was once at. When he does return he has the options of world champions available to him after a few fight for sure as he didn’t lose his titles but was stripped of them. As for his return fight, there are lots of names being thrown around including Dillian Whyte, Tony Bellew, and Shannon Briggs. I can’t wait for Tyson to return to the ring, at the very least he will bring the comedy back to the heavyweight division which it has been missing since he left. I hope he can return to world class fighter he was once at.
Lee Selby vs Josh Warrington
Lee Selby vs Josh Warrington was announced recently which is a huge fight for British boxing and the featherweight division as a whole. This fight has been coming for a while now. Selby won the IBF title back in May of 2015 and has successfully defended this title 5 times. Selby is a solid fighter and a worthy champion but can Josh Warrington dethrone his fellow Brit. Warrington has won 26 fights which is exactly the same as Selby but Selby has lost one of total 27 fights back in 2009. Warrington is an up and coming prospect who has shown real promise but it is as of yet unclear whether he is the same standard as world champions like Selby. In Warrington’s last fight we saw him defeat Dennis Ceylan by TKO. Will Warrington come into this fight and dominate Selby to get a stoppage win, or will Selby maintain his power as champion? I can’t personally wait for this one, it will be fire for sure.
Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain
Right, this is going to be a personal favourite of mine. Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain will collide this weekend, February 3rd, in a big British clash. Lawrence Okolie has been put on lots of big cards after he came out of the Olympics and joined the Matchroom stable. He has been featured on cards of world champions like Jorge Linares, Errol Spence Jr, and Anthony Joshua. Fresh out of the Olympics he has been fighting in the pro ranks and is currently undefeated in his 7 professional bouts to date. In his 8th bout, he is set to headline at the O2 Arena against a fellow up and coming prospect in Isaac Chamberlain. Chamberlain is also undefeated and he has a slight experience advantage as he has fought 9 times so far. Chamberlain is also promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. He has shown real promise in his fights to date and for sure will put up a fight against Okolie and could emerge victorious. The build-up to this fight will be guaranteed fireworks as there is real BRITISH BEEF between these two. The tensions heated up last week when Isaac put an article in Okolies local newspaper (Hackney Gazette) with a dummy CV for Okolie for when ‘Okolie loses’. Okolie also met Chamberlain’s trainer in the street and the coach said that if Chamberlain doesn’t stop Okolie he will leave boxing. This is a wild claim and Okolie said he will follow up on it after the fight! I can’t wait for the press conference and weigh-in this week as it will definitely see fireworks
Dillian Whyte vs Lucas Browne
Dillian Whyte has been controversial over recent years, ever since ‘that’ Joshua fight he has been talked about a lot more in the boxing sphere. He is going to face Lucas Browne on the 24th of March at the O2 Arena, London. Browne has been chasing a bigger name for a while now, the Australian is undefeated in his 25 fights to date and has knocked out 22 of his opponents. Whyte’s last fight saw him score a unanimous decision victory over Robert Helenius back in October last year. Browne last fought back in June of last year after serving a drugs ban after testing positive for a banned substance which aids muscle recovery. He has been trying to secure a grudge match with Whyte for a while and the bout has finally been made. Both fighters will really want to win this fight as it could boost the winner to a possible world title fight and if not it will give the victor fights with bigger names for certain.
Alexander Povetkin vs David Price
David Price has been in and out of the spotlight over recent years and now he will feature on the Joshua Parker undercard. There had been some rumors recently that David Price might face Alexander Povetkin on the heavyweight unification undercard. It is now official, they will fight for sure! Price most recently fought Kamil Sokolowski to headline an IFL TV promoted card where he won on a points decision. Povetkin most recently fought Christian Hammer in Russia where he won by unanimous decision. Similarly, Price has also fought Hammer but he lost by TKO. Povetkin is the more experience of the two and has only taken one loss compared to Price’s four. This fight will be interesting as Price is highly rated by a lot of English fans but is he up to Povetkin’s standard.
I hope you enjoyed that round-up of some of the fights which will be happening this year. Stay tuned for part 2 of this article which will feature other fights including GGG Canelo 2, Amir Khan’s return and Jorge Linares’ next fight.