If all goes to plan, 2021 could be a huge year for British boxing.
Could the fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua be finalised within the next fortnight? Will Billy Joe Saunders finally get a shot at pound-for-pound star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez? And is Scotland’s Josh Taylor closing in on an opportunity to become the undisputed light welterweight king?
This week’s Fight Talk tackles these three big boxing questions.
‘Fury-Joshua could be finalised in next two weeks’
The two best heavyweights on the planet. Both British. Fighting for all of the belts.
Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua – can we finally start getting excited about this blockbuster bout?
History dictates that boxing politics can often deny fans the chance to see the biggest fights.
But it looks increasing likely that Fury-Joshua (or Joshua-Fury, whichever you prefer) will take place this summer.
“I hope that we can finalise contracts in the next two weeks,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told IFL TV this week.
Hearn, promotion company Matchroom’s managing director, said it will most likely take place in June and – with the ongoing limitations around Covid-19 and fans not being able to attend sporting events – will probably be hosted overseas.
Doing what he does best, Hearn managed to get us even more hyped for it, adding: “It’s bigger than boxing… it’s a 1966 moment – England-Germany”.
Meanwhile, both boxers have been in a somewhat reflective mood this past week.
Fury, the WBC champion, took a moment to look back at his achievements so far…
Joshua, the WBA, WBO and IBF belt holder, was on a similar theme as he expressed the importance of his positive mindset in overcoming challenges…
While both ‘AJ’ and the ‘Gypsy King’ have achieved great things in and out of the ring, they realise the magnitude of their potential fight in cementing their legacy.
And as such, both stars are already putting in the hard yards…
‘Canelo’ & Saunders ‘agree’ to May fight
WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders will fight Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May, according to reports this week.
The Athletic reported that Britain’s Saunders will take on the WBC and WBA champion, considered by many as the best active pound-for-pound fighter, in Las Vegas on 1 or 8 May.
Alvarez will first have to get past Turkey’s Avni Yildirim on 27 February.
Although there are no guarantees in boxing, a Yildrim win would go down as one of the biggest shocks of all time.
Saunders was close to securing a fight with Alvarez in May 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak forced a rethink.
When boxing returned, Alvarez instead took on – and convincingly beat – Liverpool’s Callum Smith in December.
For some time, boxing fans had considered Saunders slick and technically astute style to be one to pose problems for Alvarez.
But the two-weight world champion, unbeaten in 30 fights, has only fought four times in the past three years, his most recent win coming against fellow Briton Martin Murray in December.
Smith does not rate Saunders’ chances, telling Sky Sports: “I don’t think anyone beats him [Alvarez].”
That sentiment is shared among most fans, with the general feeling being that four-weight world champion ‘Canelo’, whose only defeat was against Floyd Mayweather in 2013, will be too experienced for the inactive Saunders…
Taylor-Ramirez could clash with Alvarez-Saunders
It may not hold the same global appeal as Fury-Joshua or Alvarez-Saunders, but a potential undisputed fight between Scotland’s light welterweight champion Josh Taylor and American Jose Ramirez is another huge clash to look forward to in 2021.
Undefeated Taylor, after just 17 fights, is the WBA ‘Super’ and IBF champion while Ramirez – who has won all 26 bouts – holds the WBC and WBO belts.
The winner will be able to boast that they are the best light welterweight fighter around.
But American promoter Bob Arum has told ESPN that the contest will take placae at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 8 May – a date which could clash with ‘Canelo’ v Saunders.
As expected, it’s a move that hasn’t gone down well with fans…