Robert Harding 23 Sept 2019
After a disappointing 2019 when all the elite heavyweights have successfully plotted to avoid each other and sign to major promoters and streaming platforms, notwithstanding making millions of pounds in the process, 2020 looks like becoming the year when the big fights are made and the heavyweights take centre stage once again. The old adage ‘when the heavyweight division is hot, so goes boxing’ could never be more apt. True, we have many standout elite fighters in the lighter divisions, some who will enter the Boxing Hall of Fame in years to come (Lomachenko, ‘Canelo’ Alavarez, Pacman , GGG and Terence Crawford spring to mind) but the heavyweight division is where it’s at.
Yes, we had a great fight in 2019 with the Joshua – Ruiz Jnr upset and several outings of Tyson Fury, first as Apollo Creed and then in homage to Mexican independence but; after a stellar end to 2018 the casual boxing fan and indeed the committed follower is waiting for the big fights to happen. Their abundant patience and attention can only be held for so long.
First up this Friday (27th) at the Royal Albert Hall it’s the time for the prospects and contenders. In a Frank Warren Queensberry promotion, young Londoner Daniel Dubois will take on Ghanaian Ebenezer Tetteh in a potentially explosive confrontation. Both fighters undefeated with high knockout ratios and both hungry for titles. The destiny of the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship will be up for grabs and provide a platform for the winner to push on into 2020.
Similarly, we will see Ukrainian unified cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk continue with his small steps into the heavyweight waters, New Zealander Joseph Parker fight Derek Chisora on October 26th and we also await the Dillian Whyte alleged positive drug test decision/appeal to shake out before year end.
The earliest mega heavyweight fight in the new year looks likely to be Wilder – Fury II, initially penned in for Feb 22 but now likely to be in the early spring due to Fury’s horrific cut of last week and Wilder’s rematch with Cuban monolith Luis Ortiz on Sept 28th. Assuming Wilder comes through unscathed it’s looking like around Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas. This is a fight that most fans are looking forward to after the drama of December 2018.
The events in Saudi Arabia on December 7th in the Ruiz Jnr – Joshua rematch will determine the destiny of the majority of the alphabet titles. Most likely leading to the winner of this coming into 2020 with the momentum to take on the Wilder-Fury victor in the second half of the year, avoiding any interim hiccups. The brawl for it all will take some pulling together by promoters, tv networks and the eventual host venue but this is how the sun looks like setting on the heavyweight division in 2020. A mouth watering prospect lays ahead.