The Heavyweight Crown is Up for Grabs
By: Matthew N. Becher
A little over a week ago, the reigning (yet non-defending) Lineal Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, was forced to relinquish his titles. He had not fought it close to a year, was/is battling with an undisclosed “medical” or “mental” condition and has tested positive for cocaine usage. So with this event taking place, three major belts are currently sitting in a vacant state (four if you count the IBO title).
The WBC belt is currently held by American Deontay Wilder. Wilder has yet to fight a real formidable opponent, one of the Top of the heavyweight food chain. With that aside, he is a heavyweight champion and owns at least 1/5th of the ultimate piece of the pie. Wilder won his belt in 2015 and has defended it 4 times so far. Against the likes of Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola. Wilder was injured in his last fight and will look to defend his title again next year. Getting to the point of unifying the division.
The IBF belt is currently held across the pond by the 27 year old British heavyweight Anthony Joshua. Joshua is a former Olympic Gold Medalist, who won his title earlier this year, blasting away at then champion Charles Martin in only 2 rounds. Joshua has a date set to defend his title in England on December 10th. Talk of him taking on former unified heavyweight champion Wladamir Klitschko were making the rounds for a bit, but seem to have stalled. Joshua will most likely fight against a lesser than opponent and wait until next year to possibly try and add another belt around his waist.
So where do the other belts end up?
The WBO has ordered a fight between New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (21-0 18KO) and Mexican American Andy Ruiz Jr. (29-0 19KO) to take place in Auckland on December 10th. Both men have stellar records, against little known opponents. Parker at 24 and Ruiz at 27 would make either a very young champion and would also surely set them up against one of the upper echelon of the heavyweight division next year.
The WBA is a bit trickier, in that they have a “Regular” champion and a “Super” Champion. The “Regular” champion is undefeated Cuban Luis Ortiz (25-0 22KO). Ortiz will defend that title November 12th against veteran Malik Scott. If Ortiz can pull through, he should be set up with a chance to fight for the “Super” title, sometime next year.
All the belts are right now up for grabs and if you noticed, all of the names that have been brought up, sans Klitschko, are of fighters with undefeated records.
Most have yet to test themselves against one another, and the top men in the most glamorous division in all of sport will be put on the spot to finally validate themselves. By this time next year, we should see at least two unified champions, if not one lineal, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. If this doesn’t happen, then who knows where the belts will be, most likely around peoples waist that hardly deserve them.