Right now, Britain has more high-quality heavyweights than at any time in recent memory. Aside from current IBF Champion Anthony Joshua, all the other leading British heavyweights have shadows hanging over them. Just how much can they achieve in the future?
2017 could be a massive year for British boxing if Anthony Joshua can beat Wladimir Klitschko. That would be a massive step forward in unifying the division with bouts against Wilder and Parker later in the year. Would he actually have to fight those opponents to unify the division? Hughie Fury has a title shot with Parker set for May 2017 and there are others in this country targeting the current champions.
Anyone up for Joshua v the likes of Bellew, Haye, Tyson Fury and Dillian White? For Joshua, the hardest part is getting past Klitschko, who surely won’t be as bad as he was against Tyson Fury. Can he beat the former champion? Paddy Power boxing odds have him 2/5 to do so but could that lead to an all-British world title fight in the future?
March began with the much-anticipated showdown between Tony Bellew and David Haye. Bellew came out the winner and made fools of a fair few critics including myself. But what can he do now in the heavyweight division? Eddie Hearn is already talking about a title shot for the Liverpudlian who is still a World Cruiserweight Champion. One fight in the division against a boxer past his prime and mostly on one leg, doesn’t convince me at all. I certainly wouldn’t fancy his chances against Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
David Haye also has decisions to make about his career. That Achilles injury will mean more time out of the ring but he does intend returning to the ring. We’ll never know how the Bellew fight would have ended if Haye hadn’t sustained that injury. What we do know is this hard puncher couldn’t dispatch a blown-up cruiserweight when fully mobile. There are fights out there for Haye but he can’t afford any more defeats if he ever wants to get back into the world title picture.
Also on the comeback trail appears to be Tyson Fury. He hasn’t fought since that 2015 title win over Wladimir Klitschko and has made more than his fair share of headlines outside of the ring. Hopefully his mental health problems are behind him and he can rightly say his world titles were never lost in the ring. A slow but steady comeback is needed for Fury and the out of the ring antics must be put under control. There’s already talk of a match with Tony Bellew and you can imagine the pre-fight antics those two could come up with. It just remains to see what the former champ has left in him after all those problems.
Tyson Fury might not win the world title again but how about Hughie Fury? I’m not totally certain how he’s managed it, but the cousin of Tyson is due in May to be the first challenger for the WBO title that Tyson once held and is now in the hands of Joseph Parker. A title win would change everything for Fury but he hasn’t fought since last April and hasn’t beaten anyone who’s remotely considered a title challenger.
British Heavyweight Champion Dillian Whyte hasn’t been seen in the ring since his narrow points win over another British contender Dereck Chisora. He has potential and pushed Joshua hard in his only loss but needs to be more active. As for Chisora, he’s lost two of his last three fights and although always capable of putting on a decent display, he’s on the way down in this division.
I better not forget David Price but it’s going to take a miracle for him to ever get himself into world title contention. Even in an age when a lot of title challengers don’t deserve their shot, Price has been stopped four times and wouldn’t last long in a match against the likes of Joshua or Wilder.
Just being able to list so many capable and world class British heavyweights cheers me up no end but aside from Joshua, can the others scale the heights and win world titles? If they can there are some big paydays just waiting for them.