Plenty of boxing news on the British front right now, and it seems that the Heavweight division is certainly bustling with action following last week’s Bellew-Haye clash:
The end for Bellew?
Tony Bellew is certainly riding the crest of a wave after scoring a shock 11th round knockout of David Haye, last Saturday. In the post-fight interview, whilst the adrenaline was still pumping, Bellew called out WBC Heavyweight Champion, Deontay Wilder for a bout later this year but it appears that now the "Bomber" may be considering hanging the gloves up for good. Bellew was quoted as saying "I can’t continue to put my body through this. I can’t continue to put my family through it"
On the flip side he did appear on Sky Sports yesterday to discuss a potential world title tilt with Wilder or WBO Champion, Joseph Parker, whilst keeping alive the flame of a Haye re-match. Bellew is in the driver’s seat now and he will only climb in the ring again for a lucrative contract, the likes of which can only be found in the Heavyweight division.
Sure Bellew, still WBC Cruiserweight Champion, could drop down and defend against the winner of Marco Huck/Mairis Breidis (April 1st) but the risk/reward is much less appealing than what can be offered from the land of the giants.
Eddie Hearn claims Parker and Wilder’s representatives have "reached out" but I think it’ll be a little while yet until Bellew’s next move is revealed.
Haye on the mend
David Haye went under the knife, to repair his Achilles, hours after his defeat to Tony Bellew. The gruesome pictures that have been released documented just how badly the Bermondsey fighter was injured during the final five rounds of the heavyweight grudge match at the O2. Many speculated it would be the final time we see the "Hayemaker" in action but it would appear he has very different ideas. Haye said "I have never been more sure I will fight again, one hundred percent. I’ve got no other aches and pains apart from the leg" and he is targeting the beginning of next year for his comeback.
Haye has been vocal about re-matching Bellew but right now that bout would seem unlikely. If Haye is serious about rebuilding himself and getting back into title contention then he will need to make some pretty big statements upon his return, one would assume.
Fury for World Champion?
May 6th is a date for the diary as Hughie Fury gets his world championship shot against Joseph Parker. The WBO bauble will be on the line at Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand after Duco Events (who promote Parker) won the purse bids over Frank Warren, who had hoped to stage the fight here in the UK.
22 year old Fury is bidding to become one of the youngest world champions in history whilst following in the footsteps of his cousin, Tyson, who shocked the world back in November 2015. Fury is relatively untested at this kind of level but the unbeaten Parker has his limitations so this one could be very interesting. Parker will start out as favourite due to experience and the fact Fury has been out of action 12 months due to illness but the New Zealander was pushed very close by Andy Ruiz Jnr last December so I’d call it a pick ’em.
Return of the King?
Tyson Fury caused a storm earlier this week when he announced on Twitter that he was set for a return on May 13th. Those claims may have been a little premature as the Boxing Board of Control quickly moved to state that Fury was "still suspended" following a failed drugs test last year.
The undefeated former world champion is adamant he will be back even if he has to go down the route of being sanctioned by a foreign governing body, a precedent set by David Haye and Dereck Chisora in 2012.
Fury returning would certainly set the cat among the pigeons and it will be interesting to see him lay claim to the titles he never lossed. There were teasers of a fight between himself and Bellew, really is a man in demand, but in all likelihood Fury will be gunning for the belts that he feels should never have been taken from him.
Personally, I’d like to see Fury come back to the fold. I think fights with Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder and the rest of the elite will continue the rise in mainstream prominence that can only serve the sport well.
Pulev next for Joshua?
The IBF have placed Bulgarian, Kubrat Pulev in at #2 in their rankings, making him mandatory challenger to the winner of Anthony Joshua/Wladimir Klitschko on April 29th. Unification bouts with Deontay Wilder or Joseph Parker have been mooted for Joshua, should he win, and they would take the lead on any voluntary or mandatory defense but should they fail to materialise then Pulev is next in line. Pulev’s lone defeat was a 5th round KO defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 whilst challenging for the IBF strap.
Best of the rest
It would appear the much-desired re-match between Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte won’t be happening anytime soon. Chisora has been very vocal about repeating the 2016 Fight of the Year contender but Whyte feels he is better served seeking a path to a world title. Whyte is ranked #4 by the WBC and wants to take on Luis Ortiz (ranked #2) in an eliminator for Deontay Wilder’s strap. The fight shouldn’t be so difficult to make given that both fighters are promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom.
Chisora will target a re-match with Robert Helenius, whom he lost a very controversial split-decision to in December 2011. The fight with Whyte may still be on the table but the desire to see it again may wane if either fighter is to suffer another defeat in the meantime.
Gary Cornish and Sam Sexton are still waiting on a date for their British Heavyweight Title scrap. The vacant clash was announced back in early February but as of yet there is no official word on when it will take place, purse bids were scheduled yesterday. David Allen is waiting in the wings to challenge the victor after two wins in a week for the "White Rhino"
Highly rated amateur turned pro, Daniel Dubois will make his professional debut on April 8th. Dubois, a medal hope for 2020 in Tokyo, has signed a long term promotional contract with Frank Warren and will see action on the undercard of Terry Flanagan’s WBO Lightweight Title defense against Petr Petrov at the Manchester Arena. Warren has very high hopes for Dubois, who won his first senior domestic title last December, and his path will be watched very closely by many.