It may be wishful thinking, but let’s hope we are sitting here next weekend with a better picture of the heavyweight scene. Here’s what might go down this week.
Joshua vs Miller announced for June 1, Madison Square Garden
First, it was Wilder, then it was Whyte, now it’s Big Baby Miller. With the previously announced April 13 date at Wembley now looking all but scrapped, Joshua will take his three world titles over the Atlantic to fight in what Eddie Hearn has described as an “iconic moment.”
It’s been on the cards for a while now, just not yet: Joshua needs to make a splash in the USA if he is to reap the monetary rewards of this sport at his peak. He is reported to be making $32 million from this voluntary defence at Madison Square Garden, with Big Baby unlikely to have the schooling to cause AJ too many problems in the Big Apple; his size is his biggest asset but is a bigger target for the champion to unleash upon.
It’s time the Is were dotted and the Ts crossed on this one. With Fury and Wilder tied up, we can’t be too critical of this choice. Let’s get this fight out of the way and try to move on.
Fury and Wilder arrive at a deal for their rematch
Purse bids have been pushed back a week to enable Team Fury and Team Wilder to reach an agreement on the terms of their rematch. We are expecting it to land in May, with New York and Las Vegas the two front-runners to host the 13th round.
With that in mind, both fighters will be eager to start planning their training camps. I saw Tyson Fury in East London on Tuesday promoting a betting platform, with videos also appearing during his tour “An Evening With Tyson Fury”. This tour ends on March 30; camp should follow, or start during the tail end.
Something tells me Frank Warren and BT Sport are awaiting the confirmation of Joshua’s next fight before committing to a date. A clash in UK pay-per-views at 3 am within the same month could prove damning to either.
Dillian Whyte moves closer to April 20 opponent
After turning down the Joshua fight, the “fourth piece” to the heavyweight jigsaw should confirm an opponent for his April 20 fight at London’s O2. This will be the third time in a row Whyte has headlined at the O2 with it fully expected to land on UK pay-per-view. Dominic Breazeale, Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz seem to be the only three names in the mix, with Breazeale the preferred opponent in an attempt to guarantee the mandatory position with the WBC.
It’s a big gamble from Whyte. Reports suggesting that talks broke down with AJ regarding the details of a rematch clause, as well as only being offered 10% for the fight. The best he was offered was reported to be £5 million, with Whyte happy to roll the dice and wait for his mandatory to be called.
I like all three of these potential fights. Ortiz is the most interesting, but for that reason, is the most likely to be avoided. Ortiz is fighting Christian Hammer on March 2 so is unlikely next for Whyte, however, it’s a fight to revisit along the line.
Whyte’s choice leaves leftovers for Usyk
Hearn has claimed that the trio of options for Whyte are the same for Usyk. I find this hard to believe. We know that Ortiz is tied up with Hammer for now, and with Breazeale the likely opponent, can we envisage Usyk diving into Povetkin waters in his first fight at heavyweight?
I’m sure we’ll hear the political issues surrounding these fights falling through, with Usyk having to settle for a top 20 heavy. This isn’t a huge concern. Usyk has earned his stripes over the past few years and deserves to be eased into the most dangerous division.
Parker and Chisora finalise details for a slot on Whyte undercard
With Whyte’s card coming together, the usual suspects will be rolled out to beef up the pay-per-view card. Since teaming up with David Haye, Chisora looks intent on having one last swing in the heavyweight division. He performed well up until the stoppage against Whyte on December 22 and will be confident in landing a bomb against Matchroom’s new best friend, Joseph Parker.
Parker came off the back of back-to-back British losses to beat Alexander Flores in a December homecoming. There will be good money on offer for Parker to return to the UK in a real 50/50 against ‘War’ Chisora. This fight makes a lot of sense; a boxer against a puncher, both looking to rebuild.
Of course, a week in boxing can either be the shortest or longest amount of time known to man. These loose ends can’t all be tied up this week, but it’s about time at least some are set in stone.