Photo [Flickr]

A Series of Blockbuster Fights Set to See Out 2020

Read Angus’ preview of the big fights lined up for the final months of the year.

Like all other major sports, the boxing world faced major disruption at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and many fighters had their fights scrapped as the world went into lockdown. While American promoter Top Rank began putting on shows behind closed doors in June and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing soon followed, these cards mainly featured prospects or smaller fighters. The sport’s top stars hoped that by waiting a few months fans would be able to return, and they would be able to avoid smaller purses from being unable to sell tickets. However, as it became apparent that in most parts of the world fans will not be allowed back anytime soon, fighters had to the face the harsh reality that they too would be subject to pay cuts during these difficult times. This left a multitude of world class fighters looking to fit in fights before the year’s end and has resulted in promoters producing a tantalising schedule of shows to end 2020. This article will outline the must-watch shows in the coming months which are sure to entertain both casual and die-hard fans…

Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora- Saturday 31 October

Location: Wembley Arena, London

How to Watch: Sky Sports Box Office (UK); DAZN (USA)

Betting Odds: Usyk: 1/8 ; Chisora: 5/1

Info: Originally scheduled for May, this fight has been eagerly awaited by boxing fans. Usyk, previously the undisputed cruiserweight world champion, is facing his first real test as a heavyweight against a fan favourite in Dereck Chisora. While the Ukrainian has incredible boxing ability, there are questions over whether he has the size to compete among those at the top of the heavyweight division. His last fight on British shores saw him knock out Liverpool’s beloved Tony Bellew, however the bigger, battle-hardened Chisora will likely be more difficult to put away.

Oleksandr Usyk – Photo [Flickr]
Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz- Saturday 31 October

Location: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

How to Watch: Channel 5 (UK);  Showtime PPV (USA)

Betting Odds: Davis: 1/6; Santa Cruz: 4/1

Info: This is a fascinating contest in the super-featherweight division (130 lbs) which sees the WBA lightweight and the WBA Super super-featherweight world titles at stake. 25-year-old prospect Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis puts his WBA lightweight belt and his 23-0, undefeated record on the line against the experienced Mexican Santa Cruz who holds the WBA super super-featherweight title. Davis, who is signed to Mayweather Promotions and sometimes trained by Floyd himself, has been lauded by many in the sport and has the potential to be the next Pay-Per-View (PPV) star. However, Santa Cruz is set to be the toughest test of his career and will reveal whether Tank is the real deal. This fight will take place in the early hours of Sunday 1 November in the UK and is an exception among the others in this list in that fans will be allowed into the arena.

Gervonta Davis – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Terence Crawford vs Kell Brook- Saturday 14 November

Location: The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

How to Watch: Premier Sports 1 (UK); ESPN (USA)

Betting Odds: Crawford: 1/12; Brook: 6/1

Info: Omaha’s Terence Crawford is set to return for his first fight of the year against the much-respected Briton Kell Brook. Crawford, who features near the top of many pound-for-pound lists, will be defending his WBO welterweight (147 lbs) world title in this bout. Many in the sport feel Brook should not present much of a challenge to Crawford as he is getting on in age and has been in a number of gruelling contests throughout his career against the likes of Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. However, Brook, a former IBF welterweight world champion, is very experienced and will definitely pose problems if Crawford has overlooked him.

Terence Crawford – Photo [BoxRec]
Alexander Povetkin vs Dillian Whyte- Saturday 21 November

Location: Wembley Arena, London

How to Watch: Sky Sports Box Office (UK); DAZN (USA)

Betting Odds: Povetkin: 2/1; Whyte: 4/11

Info: This is a rematch of the pair’s thrilling first fight which took place during Matchroom’s Fight Camp back in August. During this contest Povetkin scored a devastating fifth round knockout after Whyte had dominated the fight prior to this point, even knocking down Povetkin twice during the fourth round. The rematch is likely to be another entertaining affair as both fighters have come-forward styles and do not shy away from going toe-to-toe with one another. Povetkin will be defending his WBC Interim heavyweight world title which he claimed from Whyte in the first fight. The winner of this fight will likely be given a title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury sometime during 2021.

Alexander Povetkin – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce- Saturday 28 November

Location: The O2 Arena, London

How to Watch: BT Sport 1 (UK); ESPN+ (USA)

Betting Odds: Dubois: 1/4; Joyce: 3/1

Info: Fights like this are a rarity in the sport of boxing, it is not often two undefeated, highly touted prospects face off against each other so early into their professional careers. This contest sees the young, 23-year-old Dubois (14-0) take on 2016 Olympic silver medallist Joyce (10-0). The British heavyweight clash is highly anticipated among those in the boxing circle and is taking place behind closed doors despite promoter Frank Warren sternly stating for months on end that the fight would not go ahead without fans. The contest is set to be entertaining and what’s more it will not be on PPV, meaning those with a subscription to BT Sport can watch it at no extra cost.

Joe Joyce – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr- Saturday 28 November

Location: Dignity Health Sports Park, California

How to Watch: This event will be shown on PPV hosted by the social media site Triller or can be purchased through FITE TV.

Betting Odds: Tyson: 1/2; Jones Jr: 9/4

Info: While this is actually an exhibition as opposed to a professional bout, it is likely to be the most watched of all the fights on this list. Boxing legend and pop culture icon Mike Tyson is set to face off another great of the sport in Roy Jones Jr. The fight will consist of eight two-minute rounds and the pair are not expected to wear headgear. While both men are now in their 50s and Tyson has not fought since 2005, the bout is set to be watched by millions. Tyson has emerged as the favourite heading into the contest, however with such a long time out the ring compared to Jones (who last fought in 2018) it is hard to see why. Tyson and Jones are not the only major draws with on the card with YouTuber Jake Paul facing off against former NBA player Nate Robinson in a professional bout which will take place over six rounds. The night will also consist of more than just boxing with major artists such as Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Wayne, The Weeknd and Pitbull expected to give live performances during the event.

Mike Tyson – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell- Saturday 5 December

Location: Yet to be announced, but likely Las Vegas or somewhere in California.

How to Watch: Sky Sports Action (UK); DAZN (USA)

Betting Odds: Garcia: 8/13; Campbell: 6/5

Info: This contest sees a young prospect facing the first real test of his career against a hardened professional who has been competing at the top end of the lightweight division (135 lbs) for years. Despite the 22-year-old Garcia not having faced any truly elite opposition on his way to a 20-0 record, he has built a huge profile thanks his social media presence on Instagram and Tik Tok. In particular, his good looks have made him popular among a young female demographic who do not typically watch the sport. However, despite all the glamour outside the ring, Garcia has undeniable talent which he displayed with a highlight-reel knockout of Francisco Fonseca back in February. While Garcia is the betting favourite, Campbell has the pedigree to make this a highly competitive affair. He won gold at the 2012 Olympics in the bantamweight division and has gone onto have a stellar professional career facing top opponents such as Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko. Campbell will be unphased by the hype around Garcia and will be ready to make a statement come 5 December.

Ryan Garcia – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Tyson Fury vs TBA- Saturday 5 December

Location: London

How to Watch: BT Sports Box Office (UK); ESPN+ (USA)

Betting Odds: TBA

Info: While an opponent is yet to be named, it has been announced that ‘The Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury will fight for the second time this year in early December. After defeating Deontay Wilder in their rematch in February and claiming the WBC heavyweight world title, the two were set to have a third fight late this year. However, there were difficulties in making this trilogy fight and Fury has reportedly “moved on” from wanting to face the American again. The fight will take place in London and will be the first time in over two years Fury has fought in the UK, with his last four fights taking place stateside. Fury’s promoter Bob Arum has said the possible opponents include the German Agit Kabel or Frenchman Carlos Takam, while the American Michael Hunter has also stated he is interested in facing Fury. Whoever the opponent, this will be a ‘stay busy’ fight for Fury and most fans will hope he comes through it unscathed so a unification fight can be made with fellow Briton Anthony Joshua during 2021.

Tyson Fury – Photo [Wikimedia Commons]
Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev- Saturday 12 December

Location: The O2 Arena, London

How to Watch: Sky Sports Box Office (UK); DAZN (USA)

Betting Odds: Joshua: 1/10; Pulev: 11/2

Info: Another fight pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic; this bout was originally set to take place at Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium in June. The fight will now take place mid-December at the 02 Arena with promoter Eddie Hearn hopeful some fans will be able to attend the event. Kubrat Pulev is Joshua’s IBF mandatory challenger and Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles will be at stake on the night. The two were actually set to fight back in October of 2017 but Pulev pulled out 12 days prior with a shoulder injury and Carlos Takam stepped in to face Joshua on late notice. This time round Joshua once again is a heavy favourite but the now 39-year-old Pulev will see this as his last shot at a world title and will determined as ever. Once again it is hoped this will be nothing but a routine title defence for Joshua on the way to a mega fight with Fury. However, as the world saw back in June 2019 when Andy Ruiz Jr dethroned Joshua in one of boxing’s biggest upsets, nothing is in this sport is guaranteed.

Anthony Joshua – Photo [Flickr]

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