In this week’s Fight Talk we look at whether Anthony Joshua could fight Dillian Whyte if Tyson Fury vacates his WBC belt – or could Russian Alexander Povetkin upset the odds by beating Whyte this Saturday?
Meanwhile, Rachel Ball returns to her day job as a social worker after beating Shannon Courtenay, and boxing fans get giddy as John Fury joins Instagram.
Could Joshua-Whyte II happen next year?
With two champions, several belts and multiple mandatory challengers, the world heavyweight division is in a bit of a muddle.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent halt in boxing have added to the confusion. Which boxer most deserves a world-title shot? Which fight should be the priority?
It’s fair to say that most fans want to see the all-British, undisputed clash between WBC champion Fury and IBF, WBA and WBO belt-holder Joshua.
But could we instead see a rematch between Joshua and Londoner Whyte in 2021? It’s possible, according to their promoter Eddie Hearn.
Whyte, the number one WBC challenger, fights Povetkin this Saturday. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has told Sky Sports that if Whyte wins he will get to face the winner of the fight between Fury and American Deontay Wilder.
But with that trilogy bout unlikely to take place until December, it is also possible that if Fury beats Wilder, he will vacate his title in search of a more lucrative bout rather than face Whyte.
“If Fury does not want to fight Whyte, then Whyte will be elevated to champion from ‘interim’ champion,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Then what will happen? Joshua will fight Whyte straight away for the undisputed championship.”
Boxing fans are left frustrated with multiple world champions and number one challengers, while also pointing out that Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO belt, could scupper any Joshua-Fury or Joshua-Whyte undisputed clash…
Whether it’s for all of the belts or not, a Joshua and Whyte rematch should capture the imagination of the British public.
In what was one of the most fierce rivalries and bitter build-ups in recent years, the two clashed in a grudge fight back in 2015, with Joshua coming out on top via a seventh-round stoppage.
Since then, Joshua has gone on to become unified heavyweight champion and Whyte has notched up 11 straight wins against world-level fighters.
Olympic gold medallist Joshua’s stock has been high since the day he turned professional, whereas Whyte has increased his profile both in and out of the ring, despite an undercooked meringue costing him in last year’s MasterChef series.
But both fighters have also shown their vulnerabilities: Joshua had to avenge his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr and Whyte was troubled at times in fights against Dereck Chisora, Joseph Parker and Oscar Rivas.
A rematch more than five years later would be intriguing.
Whyte’s motorhome and Povetkin’s ‘rascal clobber’
Whyte acknowledges the difficult task ahead of him in beating Povetkin at Hearn’s Fight Camp. Writing in his first BBC Sport column, he said: “Once again, I’m having to risk my mandatory position, something I’ve worked so hard for, against Povetkin, a former world champion and Olympic gold medallist.
“But I know I can win and I know I can go on to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, otherwise why would I be doing all of this?”
Some fans are also predicting a tough night’s work for Whyte…
Both fighters are already at the bio-secure venue in Basildon and while Povetkin is being put up in a hotel, Whyte has opted for his very own motorhomes…
Also, let’s just take a moment to appreciate this outrageous Team Povetkin attire from when they landed in London this week…
There is an uncanny resemblance to characters from the Guy Ritchie film, The Gentleman…
Back to the day job for Ball after outstanding win
On Friday night, bantamweight boxer Rachel Ball put on the performance of her life to beat Shannon Courtenay at Fight Camp.
On Monday morning, Ball says she was hiding her battle scars with concealer as she logged on for a work Zoom call.
“I’m a social worker for over-65s with dementia and mental health difficulties. I do a lot of care assessment planning, advice and information and things like that,” Ball told the Daily Mirror.
“It’s hard but I have to do it, I haven’t got a choice. I’ve got bills to pay and at the same time I love boxing, and it’s my dream to be doing things like this.”
There was a lot of love for the part-time boxer…
It was a close bout which could have gone either way. And fellow boxers were quick to pay tribute to both fighters and offer their support to Courtenay…
Regardless of the outcome, Courtenay and Ball demonstrated the strength in British women’s boxing, just like WBC super-featherweight champion Terri Harper and challenger Natasha Jonas did in their world-title draw earlier this month.
John Fury’s Instagram debut
Tyson Fury couldn’t ask for a better hype man than his dad.
And fans of the always passionate John Fury, whose outspoken interviews often go down well with the boxing public, were pleased to hear that the 56-year-old joined Instagram last week.
And it didn’t take Fury Sr long to start entertaining his followers…