The glamour division is booming again. The dethroning of the effective yet uninspiring reign of the Klitschko’s is over and there are a number of young pretenders ready, willing and eager to wear the crown.
Lot’s has been wrote about the current heavyweight rankings but how will this year play out? Who will be standing tall (literally and figuratively) by the start of 2017? Here’s my take on things…
1. Tyson Fury – To be the man you have to beat the man and Tyson did exactly that. In a fight that was won in the gym, Tyson followed out a game plan that stifled all of Klitschko’s work leaving the long reigning champ looking bereft of ideas. The protracted negotiations for a rematch mean this could be Tyson’s only fight of 2016 and if he again suppresses his showman instincts and fight to Uncle Peter’s plan, he could remain ‘The Man’ going into 2017.
2. Anthony Joshua – A Huge year for AJ with Eddie Hearn saying that he will be fighting 4 times. Considering the first of those 4 is for a world title, I’m expecting AJ to ascend to stratosphere of mega stardom. First up is Charles Martin who despite being world champ, nobody knows a great deal about. We can talk about the ludicrous nature of the multiple governing bodies, belts and ranking another time but for now we can enjoy what will surely be an electric atmosphere in the O2 on April 9th. After this maybe AJ will defend his British against Towers/Allen (yippee) before a MEGA summer showdown with David Haye and ending the year with a very exciting fight with Joseph Parker. Two young fighter putting it all on the line, fighting in their prime. Imagine that?
3. Deontay Wilder – I have no idea how Wilder vs Povetkin will turn out. Povetkin is clearly the better technician but could you bet against that one hitter quitter Wilder possess? America vs Russia, in Russia. I expect to be hearing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ a LOT before this one.
4. Ortiz – I’m a fan of the big Cuban. Patient and explosive, a deadly combo. I see him taking Big Daddy Browne’s world tittle, version of a world title, meddle he found at the bottom of a cereal box. That will be a tasty fight. Expect gallons of blood, knock downs and a whole lot of heart on display.
5. Alexander Povetkin – His only defeat came to Klitschko. Feel free to swap him with the Bronze Bomber depending on how that fight goes.
6. Kubrat Pulev – His only defeat came to, you guessed it, Klitschko and a win over Del Boy Chisora for the European could fire him into relevance in the world title hunt. Can’t see him beating any above him or many below him though so expect him to fade away in 2017.
7. Joseph Parker – The amazing hand speed make the heavy hitting Kiwi a major threat. No real big names on his record but he has an eliminator against Charles Takam which sets up an IBF showdown between the Joshua/Martin winner. Joshua then. I see Parker putting in a good performance against Joshua, propelling him into the public consciousness and with time on his side, he can continue to challenge despite a set back against AJ.
8. Luca Browne – Look up ‘heart’ in the dictionary and see a picture of Lucas Browne. The big Aussie endeared himself to a wider audience with a knockout against Chagaev despite not entirely looking too sure where he was. When the punchers get through a poor defence and the blood starts pouring down his face, the survival instinct kicks in like no other and it is great to watch.
9. Dominic Breazeale – 17 – 0, 15 KO’s, 6’7”. The stats are there, now he needs the fights. A KO against Amir Mansour was a great way to start the year but at times he looked in big trouble against the 43-year-old.
10. Jarrell Miller – Similar stats to Breazeale. In 2016 we should find out if these guys are contenders or hype jobs. Would be great to see them matched together like Joshua vs Whyte. Someone’s 0 has to go!