How the confusing heavyweight division comes together in 2017
A lot has been said about boxing’s lucrative top division of late as the fallout puzzle from Tyson Fury’s personal problems begins to finally piece together.
The WBA’s decision to announce two world title fights for the coming months, along with the WBO’s recent straightening out of their vacant belt, has finally shed some light on how everything will come together in 2017.
Hopefully, and by the middle to end of 2017, the 200 pound plus weight class will have just two or three worthy figurehead champions who could move towards unifying the whole division by 2018.
Beginning with the complex WBA, WBN attempts to clear up some of the confusion:
WORLD BOXING ASSOCIATION
Current champion: VACANT
Title bouts: Wladimir Klitschko has been granted his wish to fight for the vacant ‘Super’ title. This will come against Anthony Joshua, provided the IBF belt holder comes through Eric Molina on December 10 and then goes on to agree terms with the Ukrainian.
Should Joshua and Klitschko fail to sign a contract, the winner of Lucas Browne v Shannon Briggs could then be bumped up to facing ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ before the overall champion defends against Fres Oquendo in the summer of 2017.
Mandatory: If Klitschko v Joshua does go ahead as planned, the winner will then make a mandatory defense against the ‘Regular’ belt holder from Brown/Briggs/Oquendo after a voluntary period.
As it stands, there is no ‘Interim’ championship, although Alexander Ustinov does have claims to fighting for that version should the organisation continue to include the belt in their roster.
WORLD BOXING COUNCIL
Current champion: DEONTAY WILDER
Title bouts: Wilder is currently injured until the spring but is expected to fight someone in the Top 15 upon his return.
Mandatory: ‘The Bronze Bomber’ must then defend his green and gold strap against the winner of the interim championship bout between Alexander Povetkin v Bermane Stiverne due to take place on December 17.
The December 10 clash between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora has been sanctioned by the WBC as an eliminator, with the winner likely to be pitted against WBC Silver champion Johann Duhaupas in what would then be a final eliminator for the top spot.
WORLD BOXING ORGANISATION
Current champion: VACANT
Title bouts: The highest two contenders, New Zealander Joseph Parker and American Andy Ruiz Jr. have accepted an invitation to contest the vacant title and have pencilled in a date of December 10 to do so.
Mandatory: The winner must then defend the belt against the new mandatory challenger David Haye.
INTERNATIONAL BOXING FEDERATION
Current champion: ANTHONY JOSHUA
Title bouts: Joshua will defend against Eric Molina on December 10.
Mandatory: Kubrat Pulev should be given the green light to fight in a final eliminator against another top contender soon.
INTERNATIONAL BOXING ORGANISATION
Current champion: Vacant
Title bouts: Wladimir Klitschko’s next bout will feature the IBO title
Mandatory: Klitschko is the mandatory challenger
Here’s how the division could eventually have just three champions
JOSHUA v MOLINA/KLITSCHKO v winner of BROWNE/BRIGGS/OQUENDO – IBF, WBA, IBO
WILDER v POVETKIN/STIVERNE – WBC
PARKER v RUIZ v HAYE – WBO