10 Biggest Boxing Matches To Look Forward To In 2020
Here we look ahead to the best boxing matches 2020 and angles which will provide the most action. It’s looking likely of being another great year with the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Canelo Alvarez set to be involved in the best upcoming boxing fights in the coming months.
Table of Content:
- Best Betting Sites We Recommend for Boxing
- The biggest and best boxing matches 2020
- Kal Yafai v Roman Gonzalez (Confirmed for February 29th in Texas)
- Jose Ramirez v Viktor Postol (Confirmed for May 9th in California)
- Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II (Confirmed for February 23rd in Las Vegas)
- Kell Brook v Mark De Luca (Confirmed for February 8th in Sheffield)
- Oleksandr Usyk v Dereck Chisora (Confirmed for May 23rd)
- Vasyl Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez (Targeted for April in New York)
- Canelo Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders (Targeted for May 2nd in Las Vegas)
- Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev (Targeted for May in London)
- Josh Warrington v Shakur Stevenson (Targeted for May 16th in Leeds)
- Jamel Herring v Carl Frampton (Targeted for May in Belfast)
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
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The biggest and best boxing matches 2020
Following on from what was a great year for boxing, 2020 looks set to be another exciting time for the sport with many big matches already confirmed and many more on the horizon.
Just a few years ago many questioned if fans would ever actually see the big name match-ups like in the older, golden years of prize-fighting; when the best of each division would have no fear in squaring off with each other.
But there have been plenty of unification bouts between the numerous world title holders in each weight class, an abundance of action in the ring and new superstars of the squared-circle emerging.
After a superb end to last year, the momentum has carried on into 2020 and there are a host of anticipated clashes set to take place across the coming months.
There are throughout the year, so here are 10 that stand out from the rest and which could produce even more fireworks including the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Kal Yafai v Roman Gonzalez (Confirmed for February 29th in Texas)
Odds for Kal Yafai v Roman Gonzalez
As Roman Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KOs) attempts to become a world champion once again, he will enter the ring on American soil at a promising 6/5 with bet365 to overcome Khalid Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs) in their Texas battle.
‘Chocolatito’ may be nearing the end of his illustrious career but he should still have enough left in the tank to push the reigning WBA super-flyweight champion all the way.
Although, with Gonzalez returning from a 15-month layoff last December and having endured a knee injury setback, many believe Yafai is getting the legendary Nicaraguan at the perfect time in his career.
Nicaraguan Gonzalez is a legendary fighter from the smaller divisions and one who has accom-plished an incredible amount of success throughout his sublime career.
While he has evidently faded slightly as he ages, ‘Chocolatito’ still has his eyes on another world title and that could come when he challenges Yafai on the undercard of Mikey Garcia versus Jessie Vargas.
Britain’s Yafai holds the WBA super-flyweight belt but has been matched somewhat carefully in his career so far. This is an interesting clash between a legend and a champion looking to prove his worth.
For ‘Chocolatito’, he is out to show he still has what it takes to compete at the pinnacle of the sport and a win here for the former pound-for-pound number one will prove any doubters wrong.
Although, if age and a long gruelling career has genuinely caught up to the Nicaraguan, it will be sad to witness him going out on his shield in front of an audience that may not have ever seen him at his absolute best beforehand.
Estrada unification for victor
There are high stakes already on the line for both these combatants, as they battle to end the re-spective detractors in their careers.
But the bout is made all the more high-profile by the fact the eventual winner will likely be in line for a huge unification meeting with Mexican star Juan Francisco Estrada.
Followers of the lower weight classes will know all about the epic past clash between Gonzalez and Estrada back in November 2012.
The pair collided over 12 exciting rounds, with a then prime ‘Chocolatito’ prevailing brilliantly with a unanimous decision success. A rematch between the long-standing rivals could therefore be one of the biggest boxing matches 2020 if the Nicaraguan can first dethrone Yafai.
The Briton was previously tipped to contest Estrada at the end of last year but that never material-ised because of injuries. It would be a prosperous showdown with the Mexican later in 2020 and a shot at overcoming another massive name if he can prevail on February 29th.
Yafai expecting tough assignment
Gonzalez suffered his maiden defeat back in March 2017, when he was narrowly outpointed by huge punching Thai fighter Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in New York City, on the undercard of his friend Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight meeting with Daniel Jacobs.
The rematch proved to be his ultimate undoing though, as he was brutally knocked out inside four rounds just six months later California.
After a subsequent year away he then returned to stop Mexican Moises Fuentes in five rounds then Diomel Diocos endured the same fate in two, following another 15-month ring absence.
Despite many claiming Gonzalez is “washed”, the defending champion isn’t looking past the ring veteran.
“I’d be a fool to think he’s shot, and is past his best,” stated Yafai on his imminent opponent. “The way I’m taking it he’s at his best still. He’s had a good break, and he’s come back with two knock-out wins, even though they’re not against great opponents.
“He needed to refresh himself and he’s going to be hungry to win a world title again. But I’ve been asking for a big fight for a long time, and I’ve been starving for it.”
It will be a case of not only sharing the ring with a legend of the sport for Yafai come fight night, but also an idol of his who he has looked up to throughout his own career. But it’s an idol he must topple to progress to even more prosperous bouts.
“He’s a guy that I’ve looked up to, and he’s an idol,” Yafai added. “I’ve even been out to LA to watch him fight before, but I’ve got to do a job on him to prove that I’m one of the best.”
Why it matters
Gonzalez is a key reason why the lighter weight classes are more prominent today and he is aiming to go out on a high in his prestigious career.
He should still have enough in the tank to cause Yafai problems. Both men have a lot to prove at these respective points in their careers and this is an intriguing battle.
This clash is timed well for Yafai, with Gonzalez evidently on the slide and this may end up being his last year in the sport before hanging his gloves up if results don’t go accordingly.
Some will put an asterisk beside a win if Yafai is able to beat his legendary foe though, due to the past defeats and current point in his career. But it would still be his most significant triumph in the professional ranks; which perhaps says a lot about his credentials to date.
Everything you need to know for Kal Yafai v Roman Gonzalez
Birmingham’s Yafai has enjoyed a dominant title reign, albeit against lesser names in the division, and he will face stiff competition here.
The unbeaten West Midlands fighter will be making the sixth defence of his WBA super-flyweight belt, since winning the vacant strap back in December 2016 when he outpointed Panamanian Luis Concepcion over 12 rounds.
It’s at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas that this bout will take place on the undercard of Garcia versus Vargas, though it could well steal the entire show.
British and Irish fans will be able to view the action unfold live on Sky Sports in the early hours of the morning, with the card set to begin at around 2am. It will be broadcast on DAZN in the United States.
Welshman Jay Harris (17-0, 9 KOs) will also feature on this card, with the Swansea-native making his American debut as he battles Mexican Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs) for the WBC fly-weight crown.
Former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs) will return to action and hopes to maintain his winning run when he faces Shawndell Terell Winters (13-2, 12 KOs) after past losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
Meanwhile, former cruiserweight titlist Murat Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) finally makes his long-awaited heavyweight debut.
ThePuntersPage Final Say & Prediction
The bookies have clearly sided with the more fresher champion here, making the more battle-worn legend Gonzalez the underdog here.
But the Nicaraguan’s decline may be getting too much focus, with the former four-weight titlist hav-ing seemingly got his clinical edge back in recent ring outings.
While he is evidently past his best years, ‘Chocolatito’ should still have more than enough remaining in his petite frame for one final hurray in his prestigious career.
The ring veteran has momentum back on his side after those back-to-back KO successes and, while Yafai is in to the fourth year of his championship reign, an ageing Gonzalez will still likely prove to be the title holder’s sternest test to date.
Yafai and his team will be hoping that his upcoming esteemed opponent has suffered a drastic fall from grace since his most recent recovery victories, but the legendary ‘Chocolatito’ may surprise both the Briton and those at ringside in this intriguing super-flyweight showdown.
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez by decision
Jose Ramirez v Viktor Postol (Confirmed for May 9th in California)
Odds For Jose Ramirez v Viktor Postol
Ramirez is regarded as the odds-on 1/7 favourite with Ladbrokes to defend his belts and set up a potential showdown with Taylor as another one of the big best boxing matches 2020. Postol can be backed at 11/2 with Betfred to cause an upset.
Ramirez has eyes on Taylor ahead of Postol defence
Unified light-welterweight king Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17 KO’s) is set to defend his titles against former champion Viktor Postol (31-2, 12 KO’s). The Mexican-American has a very exciting, come-forward style which makes him somewhat of a fan favourite after brilliant recent scraps during his reign.
The 27-year-old beat Jose Zepeda to retain his WBC crown before stopping Maurice Hooker in six dramatic rounds to also add the WBO belt. Veteran Ukrainian Postol is his next challenger after back-to-back victories since losing to Josh Taylor.
Ramirez’s last impressive victory came back in July last year when he brilliantly halted Hooker inside six rounds at the College Park Center in Texas.
This clash with Postol was initially proposed for late in 2019 but the reigning champion was forced to undergo surgery on his left hand following the meeting against Hooker, in which his hand looked a mess in the aftermath of battle.
It meant that Ukrainian foe Postol was made to wait as well, remaining in line for his latest world title shot while waiting on the champion to heal up and fully recover.
The pair were then ready to lock horns on Chinese territory on February 2nd but the match-up was once again cancelled, this time due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the host nation. More details on the rescheduling of the event are pending.
It may have seemed a random location for a world title bout between a Mexican-American and a Ukrainian in the first place and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum recently opened up about the situation with China.
“We hope the situation is brought under control soon,” he stated. “The health and safety of our fighters and everyone working on the event is the most important thing.”
Ramirez will be out to put on a show in what will be his fourth defence as a world title holder when a new date is agreed. He knows exactly what to expect against his former sparring partner Postol, a former holder of world honours himself.
Postol became the mandatory challenger for Ramirez’s current crown when he outpointed Mohamed Mimoune in Las Vegas last April, showing some signs of his former strong self.
The ageing veteran won the vacant WBC belt back in 2015 when he upset then champion Lucas Matthysse, knocking out the Argentine ‘Machine’ in the 10th round of proceedings at the StubHub Center in California.
It proved to be a short-lived success though, as the title swapped hands in his next outing when he was dominantly beaten by American star Terence Crawford in a unification scrap in Las Vegas.
Whether or not Postol can turn back the clock and produce another big performance to stun Ramirez remains to be seen.
He has racked up back-to-back triumphs over lesser opposition since being comprehensively outworked by Taylor in his second career defeat and this will likely be his final opportunity to ever regain a world title.
“It's a big opportunity for me and a big honour to share the ring with one of the best fighters in my division,” Postol stated ahead of this high-profile match-up.
“I know Ramirez, as we sparred together in the past. I'm looking forward to a great fight.”
A huge showdown for all the marbles against Scotland’s leading light ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor is now seemingly edging closer after the latter penned a new promotional deal with Ramirez’s stable Top Rank in America.
That would be a mammoth pairing and one of the best boxing matches 2020 if eventually agreed, which looks positive if Ramirez can avoid any potential slip-ups against Postol first.
“I am excited to defend my belts against Viktor Postol to kick off my 2020 schedule,” declared the defending champion.
“As a unified champion, I am hungrier than ever.”
Why It Matters
Scotland’s Taylor has recently signed with Ramirez’s fellow promoters Top Rank and a mouth-watering undisputed showdown looks increasingly likely now in the near future. But Ramirez must first overcome Postol if rescheduled.
Everything You Need To Know About Jose Ramirez v Viktor Postol
The fight was initially scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 2nd at around 3pm UK and Irish time and broadcast live from the Mission Hills Haikou in China on ESPN in the US.
Ramirez was to defend his WBC and WBO light-welterweight titles in a scheduled 12 rounds, while Chinese fighters Yongqiang Yang, Ainiwaer Yilixiati, Zulipikaer Maimaitiali, Jianhao Diao and Ju Wu will were also ready to feature on the undercard.
ThePuntersPage Final Say & Prediction
Ramirez’s hopeful encounter with Postol is just the start of may big clashes on the horizon throughout this year and it should kick things off in style in a promising mix of styles.
While Postol is nearing the end of his career and is past his best, he should still provide a stern enough test to keep Ramirez busy. Therefore, this could well turn out to be a surprisingly entertaining fight if it can be sorted out again.
Jose Ramirez to win by decision
At this stage of his career and, after a couple of heavy defeats to both pound-for-pound Crawford and Scottish star Taylor, it’s clear that Postol is far from his best years in the sport.
But the Ukrainian is a tough opponent, proven by the fact both those losses came over the 12-round distance against two vicious punchers. Therefore backing Ramirez to prevail here by decision could prove prosperous for this interesting clash.
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II (Confirmed for February 23rd in Las Vegas)
Odds for Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II
It ended in a stalemate the first time out but surely it can’t happen again? A second successive draw is available at 25/1 with BetVictor to occur in Sin City as Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury re-new their rivalry.
If punters fancy Fury to live up to his recent prediction in the build-up to this highly-awaited second clash by stopping Wilder, then odds of 9/2 are available from bet365.
The majority that watched the pair’s maiden encounter believed it was the travelling challenger Fury that prevailed after 12 rounds, despite being sent crashing to the canvas twice during proceedings.
But the reigning WBC heavyweight champion will take to the ring at 12/1 with Paddy Power to earn a points triumph the second time around on American soil.
Wilder and Fury fought to a controversial draw back in December 2018. The pair were in-volved in an intriguing initial match-up that Fury looked set to win on his return to the top of the sport.
But, following a stunning revival to get off the canvas from a nasty knockdown in the 12th and final round, Fury was on the end of a somewhat dubious decision.
Now they run it back for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight crown, as well as the Ring and lineal titles in Las Vegas.
It’s at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on American territory that Wilder will look to defend his title for what would be the 11th since becoming champion back in January 2015, when he outpointed Bermane Stiverne at the same upcoming rematch venue.
While the Oklahoma-native has been busy retaining his crown through vicious knockouts of the majority of his opponents, British challenger Fury has endured a contrasting path to this point.
Before their first fight over 12 months ago, the Mancunian had to battle back from personal problems outside of the ring, when he suffered from severe mental illness and other setbacks. The now 31-year-old had been away from the sport for almost three years after dethroning long-standing dominant division kingpin Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Fury did the unthinkable by going to Germany and relieving ‘Dr Steelhammer’ of his unified heavy-weight belts, comfortably outpointing the Ukrainian legend in a dull but intriguing affair at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.
Returning wins over little known names and far inferior foes Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta respectively followed, once he finally got back into the squared-circle.
In spite of that lack of threatening opponents on his comeback, Fury still jumped straight into the first battle with the formidable Wilder.
Controversial first fight
Under the guidance of his former trainer Ben Davidson, Fury may have surprised a lot on viewers and fans, as he boxed strongly throughout 12 rounds to seemingly do enough to prevail in the biggest bout in his career to that point.
But, the knockdown in the 12th round proved to be key, along with the earlier dropping too, as Fury was on the receiving end of a split draw decision from the judges at ringside.
Such a result was met with disbelief from team Fury and his passionate supporters, along with the Americans on hand to witness a dramatic heavyweight match-up in Las Vegas.
The most prominent moment of that first meeting between Wilder and Fury was the the incredible 12th round knockdown. Fury looked to be edging closer to a historic victory until he was caught by a huge trademark right hand and left hook from the hard-hitting champion.
He looked to be out cold on the ring floor as the referee carried on the count but remarkably Fury was able to not only get to his feet, but also box impressively throughout the remainder of the final round.
Whenever a rematch comes around, it’s typically the boxer and more technically sound fighter that has the advantage. Therefore, Fury should know exactly what to expect from the champion and potentially avoid the crazy power that Wilder possesses.
It will also be interesting to see how he’s developed and progressed under new coach Javan Sugar Hill, who is the son of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward. High-profile former Irish world champion Andy Lee is also an interesting involvement on his new team.
That being said, it only takes one half-connected shot from ‘The Bronze Bomber’ to end a fight in a split second.
This was proven once again when Wilder completely bulldozed Cuban puncher Luis Ortiz in his most-recent title defence last November, when he knocked the southpaw out in seven rounds after being outworked for the majority of the action.
That makes this rematch hugely intriguing. Can Fury avoid the devastating power and box his way to a decision in Las Vegas? Will Wilder add his rival to his ever-growing list of KO victims this time around? Or could there incredibly be a second successive stalemate over the distance?
All will be revealed when the two heavyweight giants pick up where they left off in Las Vegas for what is one of the best boxing matches 2020.
Why it matters
The coveted lineal heavyweight championship will be on the line for this meeting, meaning the winner is regarded as the main man of the division.
With Britain’s Anthony Joshua also staking his claim for that honour, the victor of this rematch will put themselves in prime position as the leading heavyweight in the world.
Fury has long been in possession of the lineal crown, which continues to divide opinions among fans and pundits over its legitimacy in the modern climate.
But the winner of this awaited second clash will be a worthy holder of such a title and a high-profile showdown with Britain’s ‘AJ’ later in the year (or whenever it finally gets agreed) would undoubtedly be the king of the division.
Everything you need to know for Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II
After a longer delay than expected, Wilder and Fury will finally trade leather once again on February 23rd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The highly-anticipated rematch will be broadcast live on BT Sport Box Office and will likely cost UK and Irish fans £19.95 once again.
With the bout taking place across the pond again, the main event is expected to begin at approximately 4am after the undercard fights have concluded.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, this pay-per-view event will also feature rising Mexican star Emanuel Navarette, as he prepares to defend his WBO super-bantamweight title once again.
Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua followers will remember a certain Charles Martin, who will meet compatriot Gerald Washington in a supposed IBF heavyweight title eliminator.
Sebastian Fundora is another fighter to watch out for on the card, as he continues his career against Daniel Lewis in a clash not expected to last too long.
ThePuntersPage Final Say & Prediction
This rematch has been a long time in the making, a cause for such frustration for boxing fans, with there going to have been 14 months between the last round of their first fight and the opening bell of the second.
It will be interesting to see who the wait has benefited most once the opening bell does sound in Sin City. Fury had only two inferior ring opponents to deal with before the first bout with Wilder and was not necessarily fully back to the best he could be when it occurred in 2018.
So, having got back into the swing of things and earned a further two victories over both Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin since having to settle for a draw against Wilder the first time around, Fury might be a revitalised threat.
The former unified heavyweight ruler looks back in great shape and, with a renewed confidence from further ring success, he could well prove to be the first man capable of toppling Wilder.
Although, on the other hand, the reigning champion is brimming with confidence himself after sparking Dominic Breazeale in the first round of their bout last May then also brutally disposing of Ortiz in seven rounds in their rematch.
Having already sent Fury to the floor in their initial meeting and on the back of two more Knockout of the Year contenders for 2019, Wilder may well showcase his ridiculous punching power in this long-awaited rematch and add Fury to his list of stoppage victims with another highlight reel finish.
Deontay Wilder to win by knockout
Kell Brook v Mark De Luca (Confirmed for February 8th in Sheffield)
Odds For Kell Brook v Mark De Luca
Returning Brook seeks successful comeback over DeLuca
Former welterweight world champion Kell Brook is finally back in the ring in his home city of Sheffield as he faces off with Mark DeLuca.
The Yorkshireman has set his sights on winning a world title at light-middleweight but it will be a tough ask with the division currently boasting a wealth of talent and many surprising results have made it into a truly unpredictable stomping ground.
But after more than a year away from the sport, his immediate attention is on DeLuca at the Sheffield Arena.
It may not be a high-profile opponent or the biggest of cards on UK soil but there are still huge stakes on the line for the returning home favourite Brook.
The now 33-year-old is looking to secure some late success in his long-standing professional career after previous setbacks both in the ring and outside of it, with injuries being sustained and threatening to derail his ambitions.
Brook first tasted defeat back in September 2016 when he was brutally beaten into submission by then middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin, having bizarrely jumped up two weight classes for the London liaison.
The Kazakh puncher crushed him in five rounds, despite some brief moments that got the capital crowd excited early on, and suffered a damaged eye socket which later required surgery.
Defeat means retirement
He didn’t shy away from another challenge when tackling Errol Spence Jr the following year, but it ended similarly, as he was pounded in 11 rounds and endured another broken eye socket.
Wins over Sergey Rabchenko and Michael Zerafa have subsequently followed but another layoff from the sport has seen him lose momentum yet again.
A loss here would be the final straw in his career, which Brook has confirmed himself ahead of the DeLuca dust-up.
“This last chapter of my career, I'm giving it my all,” Brook admitted in the lead-up. “If I get beaten I can walk away with my head high, knowing I have given everything.
“If I get beaten by DeLuca, I will announce my retirement in that ring. If I can't beat him, what am I doing?”
Brook has therefore piled more pressure on his own shoulders and a loss here will obviously signal the end of him in a boxing ring.
DeLuca has lost just once so far in his own career, when he was outpointed by little known Walter Wright, so a win over Brook would be a mammoth shock.
Though it all depends on how much Brook has left in the tank, as he prepares to lace up his gloves for what could ultimately be the last time if he surpassingly falls short in front of his home supporters.
Why It Matters
Whether fans like it or not, a British battle between Brook and long-standing rival Amir Khan is still of big interest.
They are both years past their best and the fight itself would have nothing but bragging rights on offer, with neither man being at the world title level anymore in their respective divisions.
So a win here is a must for Brook, if he wants that last sizeable payday and the bout he has been chasing for far too long.
Everything You Need To Know About Kell Brook v Mark De Luca
‘Special K’s’ return bout will be held at The FlyDSA Arena in his home city of Sheffield, with the event taking place on Saturday, February 8th.
There are no titles on the line here but Brook is aiming to avoid a potential banana skin, with victory edging him back in the mix for bigger name fights and a defeat likely to end his career at the top level.
The main event ring walks are expected to happen at around 10pm UK and Irish time in the Yorkshire city, but the coverage of the entire card will be broadcast live on Sky Sports from 7pm.
The earlier bouts will also be shown live on the Sky Sports Facebook page, while US fans hoping to catch the event will be able to watch the entirety of proceedings on DAZN.
Brook’s fellow Yorkshireman and stablemate Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) will feature on the undercard too, as he looks to bounce back from that close decision loss at the hands of Josh Warrington last year.
The 29-year-old fell narrowly short in a dull affair against Leeds favourite Warrington back in June last year, failing in his maiden attempt at world honours.
But he is looking to get back to winnings ways and return to that level in the featherweight division with a solid win over Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) here.
This will be a final eliminator for the IBF belt too, meaning he could set up a rematch with his maiden conquerer Warrington for later in the year.
ThePuntersPage Final Say & Prediction
It’s set to be a massive night for Brook as he returns to Sheffield for his first ring outing in over a year, with the home favourite not able to afford a disastrous slip up here.
DeLuca on paper is a far from formidable foe and one that is evidently been hand-picked for ‘Special K’ to return to success within the squared-circle.
But Brook has been on a clear slide and looks unable of ever returning to the highest level of the sport again, showcased in those underwhelming showings before his layoff.
His best option would seemingly be a financially rewarding showdown with long-standing rival Khan. But in order to potentially sort that out, a victory here is crucial.
Kell Brook to win by decision
With the home favourite having deteriorated in recent years, DeLuca may actually enjoy some unexpected success at stages throughout this bout.
Brook may have to dig deeper than initially thought, considering his lengthy layoff, past injuries and previous drop in form, so a points win is worth considering here.
Oleksandr Usyk v Dereck Chisora (Confirmed for May 23rd)
Usyk Chisora betting odds for fight night
Former cruiserweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk is the rightful odds-on 1/6 favourite with William Hill to continue his successful start to life as a heavyweight in the professional ranks when he collides with Britain’s Dereck Chisora.
Although, if the home fans fancy Chisora to stun the Ukrainian maestro at the O2 Arena in London, then Paddy Power offer 9/2 for that scenario to happen when they meet on May 23rd.
After clearing out the cruiserweight division with his undisputed success in the World Boxing Super Series, Ukrainian ace Oleksandr Usyk is on a heavyweight mission.
The unbeaten former 2012 Olympic Gold medallist made his division debut last year and is set to face off with a familiar British face in Dereck Chisora before targeting a world title shot later in 2020.
Usyk looked to be headed for a massive showdown with one of England’s two world heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua this year, after putting himself in position as the Watford fighter’s mandatory challenger.
But ‘AJ’ is set to meet Bulgarian puncher Kubrat Pulev instead this summer, ruling out any mouth-watering Usyk bout in the coming months. That is another one of Joshua’s mandatory positions and it looks likely he won’t be facing Usyk at all this year anyway.
Manchester’s Tyson Fury recently shook up the division with an incredible performance to dethrone American knockout artist Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas, making him the WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal title holder in boxing’s biggest glamour weight class.
Assault on heavyweight division
While Usyk has outlined intentions of battling for a title as soon as possible, he may have to wait for some time now, with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn reportedly pushing for that huge undisputed clash with Fury later in 2020 instead.
But the Ukrainian will not be deterred nevertheless, as he aims to put on a strong showing in his latest heavyweight ring outing as a professional.
He may be regarded as a massive favourite to overcome the experienced veteran Chisora, but only an eye-catching display will catapult him into the same picture as champions Joshua and Fury in the near future.
The undefeated 33-year-old had been hoping to enjoy a more high-profile success in his debut at heavyweight last year but as proceedings unfolded it ended up Chazz Witherspoon being his maiden opponent up in weight.
It only took the former Olympic Gold medallist seven rounds to end Witherspoon’s night at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois last October. Usyk forced his foe to retire on his stool after the seventh, in what was a one-sided affair until then.
The immediate talk for the ambitious Ukrainian was who would be next and it’s now Chisora he’s busy preparing for as he returns to the English capital this May.
Boxing fans will remember his last appearance in the UK as a pro, when he brilliantly dispatched Liverpudlian Tony Bellew inside eight rounds at the Manchester Arena in November 2018.
That saw Usyk round off his remarkable achievements as a cruiserweight before embarking on a heavyweight venture. He already sealed his legacy in the World Boxing Super Series when he cleared out the talent at 200 pounds and reigned supreme with the Muhammad Ali Trophy triumph.
He stopped Marco Huck in Germany to retain his former WBO cruiserweight title, outpointed Mairis Briedis in Latvia to unify the division then dished out a masterclass to outwork Murat Gassiev in Russia and claim a tournament victory.
Before that he had beaten all of Krzysztof Glowacki, Thabiso Mchunu and Michael Hunter as well, with his run at cruiserweight seeing him become one of the division’s greatest ever fighters in history.
Chisora poses a different type of threat this May though, being a fully fledged heavyweight puncher. But the mercurial talents of this once in a generation fighter should see him showcase why exactly he is widely regarded as a top five pound-for-pound pugilist in the sport.
Why it matters
Usyk is gunning for a world title and is already the mandatory for Anthony Joshua’s WBO belt.
That is a huge heavyweight clash that could be made at a later date in the UK but Usyk will have to first deal with the threat posed by a veteran challenger here.
Plus, as previously mentioned, all parties involved may push for the Fury vs Joshua bout instead as there’s a more financial incentive with it.
But the Ukrainian talent is still very much on the hunt for a heavyweight crown to add to his cruiserweight belts from past glories.
All eyes will be on this Chisora meeting, with many still doubting whether Usyk will be able to deal with the proper heavyweight hitters since moving up.
Although, the unbeaten southpaw was a highly decorated amateur and the majority of his success back then came as a heavyweight. That includes his Olympic Gold medal in London back in 2012 and double World Championship coups across 2009 and 2011.
Everything you need to know for Oleksandr Usyk v Dereck Chisora
Usyk’s heavyweight journey will continue on May 23rd as he faces off with the highly experienced former world title challenger Chisora at the O2 Arena in London, England.
The sublime southpaw talent has his sights set firmly on a world title shot, with the WBA ‘Super’, IBF and WBO titlist Joshua being the most likely shot for that desire in the near future.
Ukraine’s elite fan favourite will be risking his WBO mandatory challenger position in this long-awaited clash on English territory, but even in victory he’ll likely be forced to wait until at least 2021 before finally getting that potential shot at world honours.
Chisora may not be the elite level of opposition that will see Usyk hailed as a great heavyweight if he’s to prevail as widely expected, but it’s a more promising step up from his last match-up.
The British hope is on an impressive run of three consecutive victories over all of Senad Gashi, Artur Szpilka and compatriot David Price and a monumental upset over Usyk would see him set up a shock meeting with ‘AJ’.
This intriguing heavyweight encounter is set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office for both UK and Irish fight fans, while DAZN will likely hold the rights across the pond in the United States. Any undercard news will be released a lot closer to the fight date.
ThePuntersPage Final Say & Prediction
Chisora’s current manager and former bitter rival David Haye recently admitted that his man has long welcomed a showdown with Usyk and it’s one he’s relishing.
“Usyk needs that big test at heavyweight to see if he can do it in this division and the fact he wants that to be against Chisora is music to Dereck's ears and music to my ears,” stated Haye, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion.
“I believe Dereck beats him and beats him by knockout.”
That’s an outcome that is always a possibility in the heavyweight division and many are writing Usyk off simply because of his lack of professional experience in the ring at this weight class.
But the supremely talented technician has been in there and produced incredible performances against huge punchers plenty of times before, proving himself to be a worthy pound-for-pound star.
With the London crowd on his side, Chisora may get the atmosphere going with some early exchanges on May 23rd, but ultimately he should prove to be levels below Usyk.
The former cruiserweight king will cause all of the main men in the division plenty of problems with his technical abilities, if he avoids injury setbacks and they actually agree to face him.
But Usyk must first deal with what’s in front of him. Chisora may be a tough fighter who’s been around the block in his long-standing career, previously haven lost to Wladimir Klitschko, but Usyk should get the job done in some style when the pair trade leather.
Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk to win by late TKO
Vasyl Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez (Targeted for April in New York)
The fight: Widely regarded as the leading pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, Vasyl Lomachenko is undoubtedly a special talent and is aiming to seal his legacy as a truly great pugilist.
With little competition at his usual weight he jumped up to lightweight and has still dominated but there are younger, fresher foes .
That includes next challenger Teofimo Lopez, who has recently gained a title himself and is prepared to test ‘Loma’ in a fascinating match-up.
Why it matters: Lomachenko wants to become undisputed at 135 pounds and this will be another piece of the puzzle if he is to overcome Lopez as many expect.
But it could be a tougher assignment than anticipated, against a naturally, bigger and more youthful star.
The odds: ‘Loma’ is a to overcome Lopez here, while the latter American is 11/4 with the same bookmaker to earn a famous triumph in this unification clash.
Canelo Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders (Targeted for May 2nd in Las Vegas)
The fight: Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is now unquestionably the biggest draw and star attraction in boxing today.
After another glittering year in which he thwarted Daniel Jacobs then moved up to knock out Russian light-heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, the Mexican is really flying high.
Next up should be Billy Joe Saunders, in what may be a tricky task if the British fighter shows up on form and in his best shape possible.
Why it matters: Saunders has supposedly been tracking the big names for some time now and has never really shown he can do it against elite level opponents.
This would be his grand opportunity at last against the biggest name in the sport. But Canelo is on a roll and looks on course for a Hall of Fame career already before reaching 30.
The odds: No odds available yet.
Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev (Targeted for May in London)
The fight: Anthony Joshua got his career back on track with rematch victory over shock maiden conquerer Andy Ruiz Jr at the end of last year.
He now has possession of three of the major honours and will likely defend them against long-mooted opponent Kubrat Pulev on home territory.
Why it matters: With Wilder and Fury locking horns again and Usyk busy chasing a heavyweight crown, Joshua can’t afford any more slip-ups.
Bulgarian native Pulev is a danger but ‘AJ’ will set himself up for a prosperous rest of 2020 if he can close the show in style here, diverting from his more tactical approach in the Ruiz Jr rematch triumph.
The odds: No odds available yet.
Josh Warrington v Shakur Stevenson (Targeted for May 16th in Leeds)
The fight: Leeds favourite Josh Warrington has shot to prominence on home soil in recent years, becoming one of the best and leading UK fighters around with his explosive and surprise ring outings.
He is now arguably the main man at featherweight but will need to produce another superb performance to tame rising star and fellow title holder Shakur Stevenson.
Why it matters: Warrington has become a big name in the division after impressive wins over Lee Selby, Carl Frampton and Kid Galahad.
Meanwhile, Stevenson is tipped to become a potentially massive American star in the sport after clinching a world title at just 22 years of age and after only 13 bouts.
The odds: No odds available yet.
Jamel Herring v Carl Frampton (Targeted for May in Belfast)
The fight: Belfast hero Carl Frampton is back in the hunt for a world title and that looks set to come against American Jamel Herring.
This interesting meeting is being pushed for ‘The Jackal’s’ home city, in what would no doubt be another incredible night in Ireland, most likely at Windsor Park.
Why it matters: Frampton is recovering from injury and wants to become Ireland’s first ever three-weight world champion.
Winning the crown from Herring would see him do exactly that with a triumph at super-featherweight. It would be made all the more special if he did so on home turf too.
The odds: No odds available yet.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
The schedule for boxing matches 2020 and the rest that is soon to be confirmed make for exciting times for fight fans.
There are plenty of top names preparing for bouts in the coming months and the rest of the year will surely be filled with even further entertaining match-ups across the divisions.
From minimum weight up to heavyweight, this should prove to be yet another enthralling 12 months for the sport of boxing as the most intriguing bouts continue to be agreed.