The heavyweight boxing schedule now has a jewel in its crown after it was announced that Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua is signed.
The British world champions will meet twice this year to unify the titles – the first time in June or July with an immediate rematch in November or December. It’s expected they will earn around $100million each for the first fight alone.
There are plenty of other great upcoming fights to look forward on a Friday or Saturday night – here is the heavyweight schedule as it stands.
Upcoming boxing fights: Heavyweights
Here is how the heavyweight division currently looks from a scheduling perspective – including every major heavyweight fight:
Efe Ajagba (14-0) vs Brian Howard (15-4)
Date: Saturday April 10, 2021
Planned venue: Tulsa, Oklahoma
TV: ESPN (United States)
Current odds: –
Result: Ajagba won KO R3
The promising Ajagba improved to 15-0 with a highligh-reel knockout of the overmatched Howard in Tulsa. The 26-year-old Nigerian – now based in Texas – stepped up notably on his first appearance for Top Rank, a laboured decision over Jonathan Rice last September. He sustained a hand injury in that victory, but looked back to his best on Saturday night. The end came via a beautiful overhand right which connected beautifully to send Howard to the deck in Round 3.
Date: Saturday May 1, 2021
Planned venue: Carson, California
TV: Fox PPV $49.95 (United States)
Current odds: –
Former world heavyweight king Ruiz Jr finally returns from an absence of what will be some 16 months when he locks horns with Arreola in a pay-per-view affair on Fox in April. The Californian has not been out since appearing to blow his chances of retaining his world titles against Anthony Joshua in their rematch by coming in badly out of condition. Arreola meanwhile hasn’t been out since dropping a decision to Adam Kownacki in August 2019. It’s a decent tune-up fight for Ruiz Jr but PPV material? That’s another matter. Now under the tutelage of Canelo and Ryan Garcia handler Eddy Reynoso, Ruiz Jr appears to have at least found real focus and looks in much better shape. We look forward to seeing what the new Ruiz can achieve.
Dereck Chisora (32-10) vs Joseph Parker (28-2)
Date: Saturday May 1, 2021
Planned venue: tbc
TV: Sky Sports Box Office (UK), DAZN (United States)
Current odds: 8/13 Parker, 5/4 Chisora
A decent scrap this to top a bill that includes the cracking fight between Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas. Parker was unimpressive in defeating Junior Fa in late February and subsequently split with trainer Kevin Barry after a long and successful association. Now Andy Lee (who helped ‘SugarHill’ Steward mastermind Tyson Fury’s demolition of Deontay Wilder) will head up the corner. Chisora – as ever – will provide a stiff test. He yet again gave a good account of himself in that defeat by Oleksandr Usyk last October.
Frank Sanchez (17-0) vs TBA
Date: Saturday May 8, 2021
Planned venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV: DAZN (United States)
Current odds: –
‘The Cuban Flash’ remains unbeaten and another top prospect hailing from the all-conquering Eddy Reynoso stable. The 28-year-old is bidding to become the first Cuban to become a professional world heavyweight champion. The next step of his education is slated for the undercard of the huge ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders showdown in Arlington, Texas on May 8. An opponent is yet to be named for the planned 10-rounder, but it will give us another chance to assess the potential of Sanchez.
Tyson Fury (30-0-1) vs Anthony Joshua (24-1)
Date: June/July 2021
Planned venue: tbc
Current odds: Fury 4/7, Joshua 11/8
The biggest fight in British boxing history is finally reality after Eddie Hearn announced on March 15 that contracts are signed for a two-fight deal. WBC, Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight king Fury will meet IBF, WBA and WBO ruler Joshua to unify the belts for the first time since Lennox Lewis reigned back in November 1999. The exact date and venue are yet to be confirmed, though June or July is the likely landing spot, probably in the Middle East. Sky Sports Box Office and BT Sport Box Office are likely to share broadcast rights in the UK, with ESPN and DAZN doing likewise in the United States.
NB: You can get the latest boxing TV schedules for the major broadcasters by checking out our guides for:
Boxing Schedule: Heavyweight fighters without a confirmed next fight date
Deontay Wilder (42-1-1): Has not been out since former co-trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to end his WBC heavyweight championship reign on 22 February, 2020. That devastating defat by Fury was his first as a professional, and it was followed by a string of wild allegations and excuses from the Wilder camp. Expected to return soon – Charles Martin has been mentioned as a possible opponent.
Oleksandr Usyk (18-0): Mandatory contender for Joshua’s WBO heavyweight title. Likely though to face Joyce next for the interim title – possibly in April. Should he come out victorious, a shot at the Fury vs Joshua winner should be next.
Joe Joyce (12-0): On a high after bursting the Daniel Dubois bubble to maintain his unbeaten record as a pro. Now ranked #2 by the WBO and likely to face Usyk – possibly in April – for the interim belt. Winner to then face Fury or Joshua.
Luis Ortiz (32-2): His 46-second defeat of Alexander Flores told us little about his remaining elite credentials. 2021 should tell us much more.
Michael Hunter (18-1-1): Returned in December with an easy defeat of Shawn Laughery, and now all the talk is of a likely IBF final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic.
Kubrat Pulev (28-2): At the age of 39, appears to be done at world-title level after a crushing ninth-round knockout at the hands of Joshua in London in December. The road back to those rarified levels may be too long for the tough Bulgarian.
Filip Hrgovic (12-0): Posted another impressive win in early November against the seasoned Rydell Booker. A potential showdown with Hunter for the IBF interim title is intriguing, and a clash with Martin Bakole has also been mooted.
Agit Kabayel (20-0): Unbeaten German who had been slated to challenge for Tyson Fury’s WBC belt on December 5, before that date was cancelled.
Tony Yoka (10-0): Put in a decent effort in systematically breaking down Joel Tambwe Djeko en route to a 12th-round stoppage in Nantes. Gradually going through the gears, and gives the impression there is plenty more to come.
Junior Fa (19-1): Lost his unbeaten record but enhanced his reputation in a points defeat by Joseph Parker in Auckland in February. Showed really savvy and ringcraft in that defeat, and frustrated the heavy favourite Parker for long periods. Future appears to be bright after proving his ability to mix it at a higher level.
Oscar Rivas (27-1): Returned from a long absence to dispose of the overmatched Sylvera Louis. Appears to be out of the heavyweight picture for now though with a challenge for the new WBC Bridgerweight title against Bryant Jennings slated for June 19.
Carlos Takam (39-5-1): Was mentioned as a possible December 5 opponent for Fury. Another seasoned veteran who should be out again in 2021.
Otto Wallin (21-1): Improved his record with a unanimous decision win over former two-time world title challenger Dominic Breazeale in Uncasville in February. Charting a way to the top he hopes after giving Fury all he could handle back in 2019.
Dominic Breazeale (20-3): Recent defeat by Wallin was his first that did not come in a world-title fight. Exposed at the highest level previously by Joshua and Wilder. Difficult to see him again reaching those heights.