Pretty much all year, we’ve missed out on seeing anything approaching great heavyweight action. With world champ Tyson Fury battling his demons and unable to fight at all in 2016, it was left to belt-holders Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua to keep the fans entertained. But even Wilder was forced to take the second half of the year off due to injury, while Joshua, who became IBF champ in April (in a woefully forgettable fight with Charles Martin; remember him?) retained just once – with a second defence, against Eric Molina, set for December.
So, a pretty dull year for the heavyweight division so far. But over the coming six months or so, starting with this December, fight fans have some potentially thrilling heavyweight match-ups to look forward to. With Fury’s belts vacated, rival heavyweights got busy trying to get themselves a piece of the action. As a result, we have some interesting title fights coming up.
It’s not just title fights that fill the upcoming heavyweight schedule though, as there are some potential wars set to take place that will not contest a belt.
Here are the best and most exciting heavyweight fights to look ahead to over the coming months.
Andy Ruiz Jnr-Joseph Parker.
The vacant WBO belt on the line, two young and unbeaten heavyweights going at it in New Zealand in a fight many see as 50-50. How good is Parker? Has Ruiz really got the fastest heavyweight hands since Muhammad Ali, as Bob Arum claims? This fight, set for December 10, promises to be engrossing. Will the winner prove to be a dominant force in the division?
Dereck Chisora-Dillian Whyte.
The British heavyweight title on the line, as well as this fight being a WBC eliminator, Whyte-Chisora could be the fight of the night on December 10 when Joshua meets Molina and Ruiz meets Parker. These two Londoners DO NOT like each other. The two have already been involved in an altercation and security precautions have been called for to prevent any further unlicensed violence. Hopefully this one lives up to the pre-fight hype.
Alexander Povetkin-Bermane Stiverne.
The interim WBC belt will be at stake in Russia on December 17, as well as a shot at full champ Wilder next year. Povetkin is fresher, Stiverne is proven to be durable. Yet another pretty tough fight to pick a winner from. That said, Povetkin has looked far better in his recent performances than Stiverne has (neither has been too active as of late) and he is fighting at home. Will there be a KO or will this one go down to the wire?
Wladimir Klitschko-Anthony Joshua.
This one is not finalised, and Molina might put a huge spanner in the works with an upset win over AJ next month, but promoter Eddie Hearn says that all being well, this huge fight will go ahead in the UK next March or April. Who wins: the old champ or the new kid on the block? This one is truly fascinating.
David Haye-Tony Bellew.
Another all-British grudge-match, this one simply cannot fail to be exiting – for however long it lasts. Most fans seem to be picking Haye, a number of them by quick demolition, but anything can happen between two bangers who, at 6’3” each, are similar in size and may not be all that far apart in weight on the night. Is this upcoming collision set for March 4 a classic case of, whoever lands first wins?