Having had the arrival last night, of a new British world champion, shall we announce the arrival of three new others tonight? It may seem fanciful, given that the record in the last few months of British fighters stepping up to the plate has been a bit rocky but when you have a bill with three world title fights and none of them headline, this is a pretty special evening to be a boxing fan.
And so, tonight Saturday the 1st of May in the Manchester Arena, we have the return of super welterweight Scott Fitzgerald who is looking to sweep past Gregory Trenel and super featherweight Campbell Hatton has his second pro fight, this time against the professional novice Levi Dunn. Also taking his next steps in the pro ranks is the heavyweight Johnny Fisher who has the task of dismantling Phil Williams. Fitzgerald, Hatton and Fisher should get a good run out and start the proceedings well with wins.
Somewhere in the billing is the return of Chris Eubank Jr, at middleweight hoping to get his name back in that world title mix as he takes on Marcus Morrison. This is a decent fight, but Eubank Jr should be well above Morrison and a tune up fight is a good idea as he cements his relationship with new trainer and mentor Roy Jones Jr. Morrison though, is promising a real fight and may well shock and prove his trainer Joe Gallagher right: the Eubank people are overlooking a very serious threat. Such a claim makes headlines but I don’t think it shall make the Eubank camp worry too much; a less than convincing performance from their fighter would make the Eubanks much more nervous.
And then on the card comes the three world title fights.
We have the IBO lightweight title fight between James Tennyson and Jovanni Straffon. Tennyson is a great fighter, and this is a tremendous opportunity that many believe he is going to take and take early. Straffon, a Mexican who has only fought outside his country three times – all of them defeats – suggests that this is likely to be an early night for our man on a mission and on a roll.
The WBA light heavyweight title fight between Craig Richards and Dmitry Bivol is a much different prospect for the Brit. Richards is taking a massive leap to get in the ring and all credit to him for doing this but Bivol is some fighter. Most people predict an early bath for Richards and there is little to argue with that which sets up a beautiful shock in the making…
Then there is the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight title scrap between Natasha Jonas and Katie Taylor. Much has been made of their fight at the 2012 Olympics in the build up and both boxers have dismissed it as simply context and nothing more. Both have shown tremendous respect towards each other and the build up has only been marred by Jonas’ trainer, Joe Gallagher questioning the judges before the fight. Plenty has been said, but the time is now for the fists shall take over the talking and unfortunately for Jonas most of the keyboards favour Taylor’s superior ability and experience.
And then the headline acts.
It is heavyweight Derrick Chisora facing Joseph Parker at last. Long in the making and certainly fascinating in the build-up, the mercurial Chisora kicked off after the weigh in as he demanded to come second to the ring, or he is going home. As it stands there is a fight. Why would someone who lost last time out get the premium walk on part? Possibly because he can.
Parker has come off a very unconvincing win against Junior Fa whilst Chisora showed he was still handy at the top in a loss to Oleksandr Usyk. Both have new coaches, and both have points to prove. Right now, the momentum weirdly seems to be with Chisora so there is an expectation that he will come through it.
On the same night in Carson, California, the WBA are doing themselves little favours by sanctioning mismatches with, firstly the middleweight title on the line for Erislandy Lara and Thomas Lamanna and then the WBA interim title is being fought over at featherweight between Eduardo Ramirez and Isaac Avelar. If Lara and Ramirez don’t come through these then there shall be big questions asked; they should be asked anyway.
It is part of the same bill as Andy Ruiz Jr.’s comeback against a man who has been out the ring for 2 years – Chris Arreola. This is Ruiz Jr.’s long awaited return, and he has shed – a la Tyson Fury – a load of weight to get himself fit for it. Arreola is nobody’s punch bag but his lay off is likely to show Ruiz Jr. an opportunity to showcase and promote himself.
Finally, later on in the week on Friday of 7th the May in Ekaterinberg, Russia, Liam Smith returns at super welterweight to take on Magomed Kurbanov for the WBO international title. I suppose you do now have to go where the opportunities are and this shall be no walk in the park for Smith… Let’s hope he comes through it and is next up in world title contention.
Saturday 8th May 2021
The WBC, WBA and WBO super middleweight title are on the line between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders.
The WBF female featherweight title fight between Elena Tissen and Eveline Odero
Friday 14th May
Flyweight Jay Garris returns to take on Ricardo Rafael Sandoval.