All eyes will be on the boxing world on February 22 when Deontay Wilder puts his WBC belt on the line against Tyson Fury in Las Vegas. No matter who wins this fight, the future of heavyweight boxing looks very good indeed. Here, we go through the five main heavyweight fights that need to happen in 2020.
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Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua
The winner of Wilder vs Fury II needs to face Anthony Joshua with all the belts on the line. Fury has unified the WBC, WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles in the past, but he has never held the WBC version. If he beats Wilder then he will hold the WBC belt and will be in prime position to challenge Joshua for his titles in what would be the biggest fight of the year.
Deontay Wilder v Anthony Joshua
This fight needs to happen whether or not Wilder is still the WBC champion or not. If Wilder is dethroned, he will not take it lying down. He will scream it from the rooftop that he deserves another shot at the titles. If he suffers a heavy defeat at the hands of Fury, he might not want to go down that route again. So, Joshua will be his only real option. It is believed that Wilder has been ducking Joshua for some time, if he manages to beat Fury in their rematch then there is no place to hide. This fight will have to take place as Wilder is running out of credible opponents.
Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk
Oleksandr Usyk is the new kid on the block in terms of heavyweight boxing. The 33-year-old Ukrainian has only had one fight at heavyweight – a seventh round stoppage win over Chazz Witherspoon. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion is now the mandatory challenger to face Joshua, so in reality this fight does have to happen soon. Joshua is not the kind of fighter who will duck challengers, his approach to fights might have changed but this one would be one of the most exciting fights of the year. The title opportunity might be a bit too soon for Usyk in terms of his heavyweight pedigree, but he will not back down from a challenge and as Tony Bellew will testify – he can pack a punch.
Dillian Whyte v Andy Ruiz Jr
This fight would be make or break for both fighters. Whyte has been trying to get an another title shot ever since he suffered his first professional loss to Joshua in 2015. Since then he has beaten everyone that has stepped inside the ropes against him. He has seen off the likes of David Allen, Dereck Chisora, Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker and Mauriusz Wach. Whyte is the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s WBC belt, but the chance of that fight happening before 2021 is very slim. He needs to keep fighting and by beating Ruiz, that should move him to the front of the queue. This is a risky fight for Ruiz. Yes, he shocked the world by beating Joshua last June, but he immediately lost the titles in a rematch. If he loses against Whyte, this could put him right down the pecking order again. It could be years before he gets a main event bout again.
Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce
There might not be any major titles on the line in this one, but this fight could set the platform for the future of heavyweight boxing. Both fighters are tipped for very successful careers. The unbeaten Dubois currently holds the WBO international heavyweight and WBC Silver heavyweight titles and has won 12 of his 13 fights by knockout. Joyce has won all his 10 fights, with nine of them being stoppages and just one going the distance. Defeat for either fighter would not be the end of the world, but the winner would send a massive statement out to the likes of Joshua, Wilder and Fury warning them not to get too comfy.