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Buncey’s BOXXER Bulletin: Heavyweight Heyday

In this week’s column, presented by RDX Sports, veteran columnist Steve Bunce takes a closer look at the stacked UK heavyweight scene, as a number of huge clashes move ever-closer in boxing’s always-intriguing blue-ribbon division.

The domestic division is stacked with genuine champions, leading contenders, quality veterans, the most promising prospects and the most dangerous novices in the world. No other country has the depth.

In the last sixty years it is possible that Henry Cooper and Frank Bruno were held closer to the nation’s heart, and that Lennox Lewis was better than anybody fighting right now, but the heavyweight business at the moment is booming – and there is no end in sight.

With a date in the searing heat of the Saudi Arabian summer now looking increasingly likely for the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua fight (both Fury and Joshua won the British title, by the way), there remains another ten or more British heavyweights with an agenda for action. 

The British Boxing Board of Control has called for English champion Fabio Wardley to defend his title against Nick Webb, the winner of the Ultimate Boxxer 6 tournament, before September. 

It would be ideal for both: Wardley has the impressive dimensions and momentum but Webb, coming off a good win, has the pedigree. Nice fight. On my personal scale of 1-5, I give this a 4.

Nick Webb emerged victorious at the UB6 Heavyweight tournament in December 2019

On May 1st the veteran’s veteran, Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora, fights former world champion Joseph Parker. It’s like a heavyweight fight from the golden days of the Seventies – has Parker, under new trainer Andy Lee, still got enough for the top stage and has Del Boy got a grandstand fight left? What more do you want? It’s another 4/5 rating from me.

Having broken Daniel Dubois in their classic last November, Joe Joyce is the current British champion. He is meant to fight Oleksandr Usyk for a version or part of the WBO title. The situation is a bit confusing and insulting, but it might still happen. Dates in May and June and July are being discussed. This is a pure 5/5 for me.

Dubois, meanwhile, fights for the vacant Interim WBA title against Bogdan Dinu in June. It is a great and short way back for Dubois after the eye injury he suffered in the loss to Joyce. A rematch with Joyce would, at some point in 2022, be a super fight, and again a genuine 5/5.

Top contenders Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce went head-to-head last November / Credit: Getty Images

And that leaves fights that it would be nice to see – not fantasy fights, just fights that have not yet been made.

David Price is still a man to be avoided. He has lost to the best and exposed a lot of British fighters over the years. At 37 he is still a danger: Price against Nathan Gorman would be interesting. Or Price against Wardley. Unbeaten David Adeleye would fight all three, but he needs a few more rounds. Any combination here would be a strong 4/5 fight. 

Dillian Whyte waited 1,000 days for a world title fight and then it vanished when he lost to Alexander Povetkin last summer; that loss has been avenged and he is still waiting. Whyte will be in fights with British heavies make no mistake, but he still has to wait for the winner of Fury against Joshua. It’s an easy five, if and when it happens.

And that leaves the enigma that is Hughie Fury, a loser on points over 12 rounds to three very good men: Parker, Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev. Fury is still only 26 and nobody really wants to fight him. Fury against Price might work – Price beat Hughie’s cousin Tyson when they were amateurs. Fury against Price is intriguing to me and I would give it a four.

There is a lot to look forward to and a lot to hope for in Britain’s heavyweight division.

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