Will 2020 be the year when the heavyweight titles are unified?
With Anthony Joshua reclaiming the straps lost in June, 2019, and a date being set for Wilder vs Fury 2, the stars could be aligning for 2020 to be the year of the heavyweight showdowns.
Excluding the Ring Championship, there are five main heavyweight belts that are globally-recognized: WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO.
As it stands heading into the new decade, Deontay Wilder currently holds the World Boxing Council (WBC) title. While Joshua is in possession of the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), the International Boxing Organization (IBO) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) titles.
Things are due to kick off on February 22nd, with the highly-anticipated rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. The first bout went down as an instant classic. Fury returning to the ring in only his second fight following his well-publicised mental health issues, boxed beautifully throughout.
However, Wilder knocked him down in the 9th and then again famously in the 12th. Fury, spread eagle on the canvas, looked out for the count only to rise up like a spirit and finish the fight as the aggressor. Regardless of the knockdowns, many sports betting tipsters and boxing pundits thought Fury did enough to win; the judges scored the bout a draw although Wilder has accused both referee and commentators of showing favouritism to Fury.
If Wilder wins the rematch, he will have his sights firmly set on the UK’s golden boy Joshua. The two have sat around the table previously but never managed to get the contracts signed to fight. A couple of potential hurdles still stand in the way, however. Firstly, AJ has been ordered by the WBO that he must face mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk within 180 days (from 07-12-2019). Of course, if this were to take place around May, it still leaves enough time for an end-of-year heavyweight showdown.
With that said, discount Tyson Fury at your peril. This man is on a mission to reclaim the belts he never lost in the ring. If he is the victor against Wilder, it’s predicted that a rematch clause is in the contract.
There’s a little shuffling and some negotiating to be done, but every boxing fan, the world over, wants to see a winner-takes-all fight for the four top belts in boxing’s premier division. We hope and pray that the stars do align and let’s all get ready to rumble in 2020!