While the date and location of the heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua has yet to be defined, there are plenty of other major fights already scheduled to mark on the calendar.
In the coming months, boxing will look a lot more like what it used to be with the return of crowds at the biggest venues and fights to expect than we are used to from last year due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are our picks for the best fights based on their entertainment value. For the purposes of this list, we only include upcoming matches that were reported as closed or already announced through the end of July. Fury-Joshua was unconfirmed at the time of this writing, but when announced, he will rank at No. 1, the biggest fight of not just the next few months, but all of 2021.
1. Josh Taylor vs. José Ramírez for Ramirez’s WBC / WBO Junior Welterweight Titles and Taylor’s WBA / IBF Titles
May 22: Las Vegas (ESPN, ESPN +)
In the first round! Josh Taylor knocked down Apinun Khongsong
Josh Taylor knocked out Apinun Khongsong in the first round with a shot to the body, to retain his WBA-IBF Super Lightweight world titles in London, England.
This is an unmissable showdown between two skilled pressure boxers bringing two world title belts to the table. He has the potential to be a fight of the year candidate and the winner will establish himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Both have shown ruthless stopping power in recent fights and it’s a tough fight to pick, making it a must see. Taylor has beaten better opponents than Ramirez and this only gives him the advantage. But Taylor, from Scotland, will have to dispense with the support of his fans who will not be able to travel to Las Vegas due to coronavirus restrictions.
2. Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders, for Alvarez’s WBC / WBA super middleweight titles and Saunders’ WBO title
8 de mayo: Arlington, Texas (DAZN)
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This event will be a fantastic time for boxing, with at least 60,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Everyone will be there to see Alvarez, boxing’s biggest star and possibly the best pound for pound in the world. Whatever your take on Alvarez’s abilities, and if his global appeal is greater than Joshua or Fury’s, what’s beyond question is his recent brilliant form. England’s Saunders has enough experience to give Alvarez trouble and cause some drama, but it is a pleasure to see Alvarez right now.
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3. Teófimo López vs. George Kambosos Jr., for Lopez’s WBO / WBA / IBF lightweight titles
June 5: Miami (Triller PPV)
The coronavirus pandemic has been tough on many boxers who have been knocked out, but for Lopez it will be remembered for the moment when the 23-year-old New Yorker struck a major blow and defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision to become king. of light weight. When Lopez makes a first defense against George Kambosos Jr., more will be expected of him. Kambosos looked sharp in a split decision win over Lee Selby in October, but Lopez should still be a notch above.
4. Katie Taylor vs. Natasha Jonas, for Taylor’s WBC / WBO / IBF / WBA Women’s Lightweight Titles
May 1: Manchester, England (DAZN)
It’s been nine years since Taylor and Jonas last met, but that doesn’t mean this fight has passed its expiration date. In fact, it is far from it. Both Taylor and Jonas have been in excellent shape recently and this showdown promises to be an entertaining world title fight. Ireland’s Taylor beat England’s Jonas on her way to winning Olympic gold in 2012 and has won world titles in two weight classes as a professional. Jonas boxed excellently during a draw with Terri Harper in her first bid for the junior lightweight world title in August, while Taylor, No. 2 in ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings, beat Delfine Persoon in a rematch to become the undisputed lightweight champion. Taylor is likely to be too slick, too fast and too big for Jonas, who will move up a division for the fight.
5. Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios, for Barrios WBA “regular” junior welterweight title
June 26: TBA (Showtime PPV)
The division Davis is best suited to remains unanswered at the moment. But against Mario Barrios we will have an idea if his power can make a dent at junior welterweight. Davis, lightweight and junior lightweight champion, knocked out Leo Santa Cruz to retain his “regular” WBA lightweight title and win the WBA junior lightweight world title in October, but is Davis big enough? for 140 pounds? Barrios is 5 inches taller, has dangerous power and is undefeated. It’s a risky fight for Davis, who will be trying to become a three-division champion.
6. Devin Haney vs. Jorge Linares, for Haney’s WBC lightweight title
May 29: Las Vegas (DAZN)
Former world champion Linares is the kind of proof Haney needs at this point in his career. How hot is the 22-year-old living in Las Vegas? We’ll find out when he faces Linares, 35, of Venezuela, who has been stopped in his last two world title fights. This is a great opportunity for the talented Haney to shine against a respected former champion. There are big fights in the pipeline for Haney against fighters like Lopez, Davis and Garcia and he can make a statement with an impressive win against Linares.
7. Dereck Chisora vs. Joseph Parker, heavyweights
May 1: Manchester, England (DAZN)
Parker, who held the WBO world heavyweight title from 2016 to 2018, has been training alongside Fury in England heading into a decisive fight against Chisora, and it will be intriguing to see the results of Parker’s work with his new trainer Andy Lee. , the former world middleweight champion. New Zealand’s Parker looked a bit flat last time in a decision win against Junior Fa in February, and he has a lot to prove against veteran Chisora, who rarely finds himself in a boring fight. The winner will put himself in contention for a title shot in 2021.
8. Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Chris Arreola, heavyweights
1 de mayo: Carson, California (Fox PPV)
On the same night as Chisora-Parker, there is another must-see non-heavyweight title fight involving a former champion. How serious is Ruiz about getting the title back? Well, according to Ruiz, he’s lost 40 pounds and needs to look pretty good against Arreola if he wants to regain some momentum and relevance in the heavyweight division. Ruiz, remember, stopped Joshua to win the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight world titles in June 2019, but then gained weight and lost the rematch by decision in December 2019. He hasn’t fought since. . Arreola is 40 years old and has not fought since August 2019, but perhaps he is motivated by the opportunity to fight the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a world heavyweight title. Arreola wanted to accomplish that feat, but failed in three attempts for the world title. This is one last chance for him to get some glory against a former champion.
9. Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremiah Nakathila, for vacant interim WBO junior lightweight title
June 12: New York (ESPN / ESPN +)
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If Shakur Stevenson, 23, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is to be taken seriously, then he must top Jeremiah Nakathila in style. Nakathila is not one of the world leaders at 130 pounds, he does not appear in the top 10 of the other three world governing bodies, and this will be only his second fight outside of his native Namibia. Stevenson will be looking for an eye-catching stoppage win to get him closer to a chance against fellow American Jamel Herring, the WBO champion.