Tonight, Saturday the 1st of June in Madison Square Gardens the heavyweight division gets its next instalment in the alphabet soup madness that is beyond out of control.
There is a real need for the best to fight the best. We all have our favourite out of THE 3 – Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua. We all believe that the people below them have a chance against them but don’t believe it is a realistic chance. We want them all to fight each other.
Wilder says it’s Ortiz in 2019 and Fury in 2020. I expect Fury to confirm this. We all do. Both have led us in a merry dance over the last few months.
Tonight, the third leg of that stool, no pigeon, Anthony Joshua will face his next opponent. America expects. The UK expects. We all expect.
In support of that fight, there is a marvellous undercard THAT may sway the crowds to believe that in 2020, Fury/Wilder is an eliminator for a shot at the unified one man on the planet title of Heavyweight Champion of the world because boxing needs to survive the politics. Someone needs to deliver and if Matchroom can muster this kind of supporting cast, it might tip the balance in their favour. After all who fought on the Fury/Wilder undercard? Who supported Wilder/Breazeale?
It may be time to package the sport and not just headline it.
Over here and overpaid according to the Americans are a bunch of British boxers that include the explosive Joshua Buatsi, who faces Marco Antonio Periban for the WBA international title. Buatsi should win.
We have the welterweight battle between Josh Kelly and Ray Robinson for another WBA international title. Again, Kelly will be expected to win though he may struggle a little more than Buatsi.
There is then the WBO international action at super lightweight between Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle. Not many expect Coyle to win and he may be the sacrifice to the American market – just don’t tell him that. Coyle could light up the Gardens…
We also have the WBA super and WBC diamond super middleweight fight between World Boxing Super Series winner Callum Smith and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. This is Smith’s first defence of the titles he picked up in that competition and N’Dam is no mug. He will come to fight, and Smith could do with a massive performance… The stage is set beautifully.
The lightweight super fight between Delfine Persoon and Katie Taylor for the IBF, WBA, WBO, WBC titles is the aperitif. We all think Taylor shall beat the part time boxer, full time Belgian police officer and it’s the event that is so enticing. If there was irony in the undercard it is here – they are fighting for ALL the belts at their weight… Taylor early for me…
Finally, the main event that Deontay Wilder has attempted to hijack though announcing fights like Ortiz and then Fury – wonder what Ortiz thinks about that then…
“He needs to match Wilder.” “He needs to get him out early.” It needs to be in the first 3 rounds.” “He needs to knock him out before the 6th.”
There is little doubt that the WBO, WBA, IBF, IBO Heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr has people talking about when Ruiz Jr loses. This could be very dangerous talk and we are wondering if this is the Rahman moment for Joshua.
Joshua losing is not good for him or Matchroom.
I cannot see him losing but I can see things going wrong if he is not focussed. Thing is, focus is what Joshua excels at. I don’t care if he matches anyone, I just hope he does it. Next up will be fights to defend mandatories and there are plenty of decent options. Wilder and Fury could become a side show, or Joshua could be. It is all great news for boxing that things rumble BUT it needs substance. It needs 2020 to be Wilder v Fury, the winner v Joshua. Christmas 2020, one man, one champion, one planet… anything less is not going to keep the rise of boxing going into 2021 in my humble opinion.
There are some other fights going on and in Cardiff we have11 fights including the WBO European lightweight contest between Craig Evans and Stephen Ormond, the super lightweight Welsh title fight between Kieran Gething and Craig Woodruff and the EBU flyweight fight between Jay Harris and Angel Moreno. We shall expect wins for Evans, Gething and Harris but I quite fancy Ormond and Woodruff to make things worth the entrance fee.
We also have in Southampton 5 fights and in Peterhead BIBA bring lightweight Nathan Beattie, super lightweight Scott Murray, welterweight David Hastie, flyweight Kenny Allen and the super lightweight Adelle Steinbeck to town. Opponents were not named on their website at time of writing. Murray, Hastie, Allen and Steinbeck are making their debuts.
Saturday 8th June
York Hall – 14 fights
Darlington – 2 fights
Liverpool – 13 fights