Boxing Schedule: Upcoming heavyweight fights

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The COVID-19 pandemic may have wrecked 2020 so far from a boxing perspective, but we still have the possibility of a stacked schedule at heavyweight in the final quarter of the year.

Assuming crowds are eventually allowed into arenas over the next two to three months, we should be looking at a blockbuster close to the year.

Most of the big names in the heavyweight division have fought just once this year, or not at all, and are desperate to stay active.

If all goes well, they are all expected to be in action before the end of the year.

Upcoming boxing fights: Heavyweights

Here is how the top end of the heavyweight division currently looks from a scheduling perspective:

Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) vs Dereck Chisora (32-9)

Date: Saturday October 31
Venue: SSE Arena, Wembley
TV: Sky Sports Box Office (UK), DAZN (United States)
Current odds: 1/8 Usyk, 9/2 Chisora

Oleksandr Usyk has had just one fight at heavyweight after moving up from dominating at cruiser – a victory over Chazz Witherspoon last year. That told us little about his prospects in the marquee weight class. But a showdown with the tough and durable Chisora should be much more illuminating. ‘War’ will provide Usyk with a proper examination, with his size and savvy expected to show us if Oleksandr can really hang physically with the bigger guys in the division.

Filip Hrgovic (11-0) vs Rydell Booker (26-3)

Date: Saturday November 7
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida, United States
TV: DAZN (United States), RTL (Croatia)
Current odds: –

El Animal is seen as one of the brightest prospects in a booming heavyweight division right now. He recently returned from a COVID-enforced hiatus to stop Alexandre Kartozia inside three rounds in Denmark. The experienced Rydell Booker should provide a much sterner test and Hrgovic will be out to make a real statement in the United States.  Booker’s last outing was a points defeat by IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, who meets Anthony Joshua in December.

Dillian Whyte (27-2) vs Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1) 2

Date: Saturday November 21
Planned venue: SSE Arena, Wembley
TV: Sky Sports Box Office (UK), DAZN (United States)
Current odds: 2/5 Whyte, 2/1 Povetkin

The picture-perfect left uppercut that poleaxed Dillian Whyte in round five of their first meeting didn’t just end the fight. It wrecked that world-title dream for ‘The Body Snatcher’ – for now. It is a long road back for Dillian now, and first up he has to avenge that defeat by Alexander Povetkin. Gone is the immediate right to a challenge against Tyson Fury.  This time it is his career at the very top level on the line.

Daniel Dubois (15-0) vs Joe Joyce (11-0)

Planned date: Saturday November 28
Planned venue: tbc
TV: BT Sport 1
Current odds: 1/4 Dubois, 10/3 Joyce

A fascinating domestic dust-up will now definitely take place behind closed doors on Saturday November 28 after the planned October 24 date at London’s O2 Arena was cancelled due to a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the UK. But the really big news is that it WILL NOT be a pay-per-view fight after all and will air instead on BT Sport 1. The exciting Dubois is seen by many as the future of the heavyweight division – a worthy successor to the likes of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. He has looked seriously good in building a 15-0 record (14 inside) but Joyce will provide the sternest test yet of his credentials.

Andy Ruiz Jr (33-2) vs Chris Arreola (38-6-1)

Planned date: “late 2020”
Planned venue: tbc
Current odds: –

Fun scrap this one. Former world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr has his first fight since that disappointing rematch defeat at the hands of Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia in December 2019. Former contender Chris Arreola, despite his advancing years, is still very serviceable. He throws a ton of punches. When you add in Andy’s fast hands and apparent renewed dedication to getting in shape to the equation, we could be in for a beauty while it lasts.

Tyson Fury vs tbc

Planned date: Saturday December 5
Planned venue: London, tbc
Current odds: –

Fury’s trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder will now not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scrapping of the planned December 19 date in Las Vegas left promoters running out of time to get it on. Fury says he has “moved on” from Wilder and will now fight a WBC top 15-ranked opponent in the UK on December 5. The list of possibles is small, with most of the top 15 already otherwise engaged in the final quarter of the year. The men who are still available include Fury’s Top Rank stablemates Oscar Rivas, Efe Ajagba and Agit Kabayel. Other possibles are former world champion Charles Martin and the tricky Michael Hunter.

Joseph Parker (27-2) vs Junior Fa (19-0)

Date: Friday December 11
Venue: Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand
TV: Spark Sport (New Zealand), DAZN (United States)
Current odds: –

Already tagged ‘The Fight Of The Century’ in New Zealand, this one has been long in the making. Parker and Fa met four times as amateurs, claiming two victories each. Now – after lengthy negotiations – they will finally meet in the pros. Both men are ranked in the top 10 by the WBO (former belt holder Parker is 3, Fa is 6). It promises to be a fascinating showdown. Organisers claim it will be a truly global event with Matchroom Boxing distributing the TV rights around the world.

Anthony Joshua (23-1) vs Kubrat Pulev (28-1)

Date: Saturday December 12
Venue: O2 Arena, London
Current odds: 1/8 Joshua, 11/2 Pulev

Anthony Joshua puts his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles on the line against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev and is confidently expected to prevail and move on to a potential blockbuster against Tyson Fury next summer. Pulev – now 39 – was knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko in his only previous world title challenge some six years ago. His CV does not suggest he will be able to really threaten Joshua (despite what his co-promoter Bob Arum might tell you). That defeat by Ruiz Jr in June 2019 also seems to have removed any hint of complacency for Joshua. He knows what is at stake here and moving forward.