Boxing Wishlist 2020 by division
By Gav Duthie: As always we hope the next year in boxing is better than the last. There are several top P4P fighters in similar divisions and huge bouts that can be made. Here is my Wishlist for every division in the sport and a couple of big fights in the women’s game.
Anthony Joshua v Deontay Wilder/Tyson Fury
Joshua’s loss to Andy Ruiz has surely shown promoters that they need to make the big fights happen sooner rather than later. Kubrat Pulev deserves his shot at Joshua he missed out in 2017 and hasn’t lost since Klitschko 5 years ago. Usyk on the other hand has fought only once at heavyweight so I hope he will step aside to make Joshua v Wilder or Fury possible. Usyk could do with facing the likes of Chisora, Takam and Parker in 2020 and wait to fight the winner for all the belts like he had at cruiserweight.
Dillian Whyte title shot
He is the best fighter to not have had a shot in any division. On his resume since his loss to AJ he has beaten Dereck Chisora x2, Robert Helenius Lucas Browne, Oscar Rivas and Joseph Parker. He has never fought for a world title. Many might criticise his recent brush with Anti-doping agencies but he has now been cleared and deserves a shot. Even if it is against Manuel Charr for the WBA regular strap Whyte should be given a chance somewhere.
Murat Gassiev return
I really enjoy watching Gassiev fight. He has incredible patience in the ring and solid accurate punches. He was great in the WBSS and it was no disgrace being outpointed by Usyk. He was due to come back at heavyweight fighting Joey Dawejko in the summer but pulled out with injury. Whether he comes back at cruiser or heavy he would be a welcome addition to either.
Titles sorted out
When Terence Crawford moved up to 147lbs they were very quick to redistribute his vacant titles. It was the same when Andre Ward retired leaving 3/4 titles vacant at light heavyweight. For some reason the WBC and WBO titles are still vacant at cruiserweight after Usyk left. It looks like Ilunga Makubu will face veteran Krsysztof Wlodarczyk for the WBC belt and Krzysztof Glowacki will take on Lawrence Okolie for the WBO. Their is still a second WBSS final with previous semi finalists Meires Briedes and Yuniel Dorticos to take place for the IBF also.
Dimitry Bivol v Artur Beterbiev
This should be a huge fight between the Russian compatriots. They have completely different styles which should gel for a fantastic fight. Bivol sometimes coasts through contests with his skills but Beterbiev will not let him away with that. The winner of this fight would have 3 world titles. For what its worth I would pick Bivol to win.
Gilberto Ramirez to fight for WBO title
This man doesn’t get talked about enough especially for someone who is 40-0. He is mandatory challenger for the WBO title which is now vacant after Canelo gave it up. The one problem here is a high ranking of #3 for Jesse Hart. Him and Ramirez have already fought twice so we don’t need a 3rd. Umar Salamov is in at 2 but I eould like to see Ramirez v Kovalev.
A debut for Gennady Golovkin
GGG will be 38 in April and I feel it is pointless him continuing to fight at 160lbs. He holds the joint record of 20 successive middleweight defences with Bernard Hopkins and there is absolutely no chance he can beat that now at his age. It was a good achievement to win back one of his belts all be it controversially against Derevyanchenko. It looks like he will face Kamil Szeremata next. If he keeps fighting people like this waiting for Canelo he will just end up losing to someone average when he’s 40 or so. I want to see him face Calum Smith next.
Canelo v 168lb Champion
Canelo is officially known as a 4 weight champion but his WBA regular belt win over Rocky Fielding at 168lbs doesn’t hold water with many fans. I don’t care of its Calum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders or David Benavidez but he needs a legitimate belt. Caleb Plant the IBF champion is probably too inexperienced. Canelo may go right down to 160lbs to face Charlo but I wouldn’t advise moving down two weights. My favourite option would be Smith as it was for Golovkin.
Serhiy Derevyanchenko in another big fight
This man really deserves another title fight whether its a rematch against Golovkin or a shot at Charlo or Andrade. He is 34 and being late into the pro game has only fought 15 times. I would even like to see him in a potential war with Ryota Murata.
Chris Eubank Jnr v Demetrius Andrade
Nobody seems to want any part of Andrade. Eubank will likely feel he is a big enough name to fight Golovkin or Canelo even though he hasn’t won a world title (IBO excluded). I think Andrade outboxes him and it would help build his reputation. Hearn is likely also angling for a unification bout between Andrade and Charlo.
Kell Brook to fight for a title
This division is ripe for the taking but Brook has been to lazy to do it. He is back in February. In the last couple of years standout boxer Lara has started to fade, Jermell Charlo won, lost and won his titles again, Hurd surprisingly lost to Julian Williams, Manguia moved up and Patrick Texeira has won a belt. I feel a fully fit and focused Brook can beat any of these guys. He seems to have tunnel vision for Amir Khan but he should really focus on becoming a two weight world champion.
Lara last throw of the dice
It is absolutely ridiculous that Lara has fought in 6 contests that he hasn’t won with 3 defeats and 3 draws. One could argue he has never been convincingly beaten by anyone. I would like to see him get a big fight because his talent deserves it. As always Cubans aren’t the most fan friendly but I would like to see his skills against Jermell Charlo but I doubt it will happen. His fight against Hurd showed he can really fight as well as box so maybe a rematch with him if Hurd gets his belts back.
Spence v Crawford
The number 1 and 2 in the division and both pound for pound top 10 fighters. They have to fight. It all depends how fit Spence is. He said he doesn’t want a tune up for the summer but he should take one and face Crawford later in the year. I think the winner of this fight becomes #1 P4P fighter in the sport.
Not to see Manny Pacquaio v Floyd Mayweather Jnr 2
There are plenty of other fights I could pick to watch but I really just don’t want to see this. Floyd isn’t an actual boxer anymore. His last real fight was Andre Berto in 2015 not counting (McGregor or Nasukawa). On the other hand Pacquaio has fought lots of top level competition and beating Thurman was career defining for me. If Floyd keeps coming back eventually he will lose. He will be 43 soon. I always wanted to know who was better between Floyd and Pacquaio and we found out in 2015. I don’t need to see Floyd lose at some point and need a zimmer frame to get out of the ring it proves nothing.
Josh Taylor v Jose Ramirez
The fight for all the belts. Both fighters will have mandatory obligations but they let Crawford and Julius Indongo fight for all the belts in 2017 so these guys should also get the chance to become undisputed. For what its worth I feel Josh Taylor would win but Ramirez has to get past Victor Postol first and that won’t be easy.
Adrien Broner to campaign at 140lbs
Broner talks about being a 4-weight champion by the age of 26. That is amazing but he has done pretty much nothing since then. I feel he gets bullied at 147lbs and 140 is his natural weight. He has never given it a proper go most likely because he is too lazy to train and get the weight off. I feel he has a good chance to make an impact here. He has only lost to Mikey Garcia at 140lbs and has the talent to beat the top guys but probably not the application. Someone like Pablo Cesar Cano or Kiryl Relikh would be a good comeback opponent.
Vasyl Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez
I’m so glad that Lomachenko has a great supporting cast to prove his greatness. What I mean by that is you are only as good as your competition. Some of the greatest ever boxers don’t get the chance to prove it because the competition in their prime wasn’t the best. Ali need Liston, Frazier and Foreman, Leonard needed Hearns, Hagler and Duran. Loma has Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia (weight class dependant) and Teofimo Lopez. These are all good fighters and Loma needs pushed to show his true greatness. I like the Lopez fight because he is young flash and powerful. It will be a great fight but ai think Lomachenko wins.
Devin Haney v Gervonta Davis
The winner of this should face the winner of the above. I really feel the career defining fight will be Loma versus Davis but these are huge tests to get the big one.
Miguel Berchelt v Leo Santa Cruz
Leo is one of the few 4 weight world champions but the form of Berchelt is incredible. He deserves a big fight against his popular compatriot. This would be an absolute war and if it comes off a potential fight of the year contender.
Carl Frampton v Oscar Valdez
It seems Frampton will get a crack at Jamel Herring’s WBO title very soon but I would love to see him scrap Oscar Valdez. Amazingly only 3 British fighters are 3 weight world champions, Bob Fitszimmons back in the early 1900s, Duke Mckenzie and Ricky Burns. If Carl could win the IBF a great end to his career would be a fight against Valdez.
Josh Warrington v Shakur Stevenson
I mention this fight because it looks likely to happen. I feel this could be a real announcement at world level for Shakur. Warrington will try to rough him up like Robeisy Ramirez did in the Olympic final. I think Stevenson has learned a lot in his short career though and should be able to fight like Kid Galahad did but with a bit more offensive skills. The winner of this will be a top fighter in boxing.
Russell Jnr to fight twice in 2020
Gary is one of the most talented fighters in boxing. One loss only to Lomachenko in what was a close fight. Despite being so good we rarely ever see him. He is only fighting once a year just now and has a defence due in January. I hope this is not the only chance we have to see him in 2020. It would be great to see him unify the division. I would like to see him fight Leo Santa Cruz if he can still make the weight.
Rey Vargas v Emanuel Navarrete
This would be a fantastic scrap between 2 champions. Navarette has only lost once but is in great form recently. I would like Vargas to unify and then move up because he is a great boxer/puncher and the 122lb division is lacking in strength and depth at the moment.
Brandon Figueroa v Julio Ceja 2
This two fought to a fantastic draw last year. It was credit to Figueroa for taking the fight as Ceja came in well overweight. When your 4lbs over in weight down in the lower divisions it can make a huge difference. It was definitely a tactic from Ceja to try and bully the taller Figueroa. They could maybe have a rematch at a higher weight class but if Ceja can’t make weight I wouldn’t go for it again. Figueroa proved though that despite his pretty boy good looks he can tough it out.
Naoya Inoue v Guillermo Rigondeaux
Rigo recently was moving down to 118lbs to fight Solis for the WBA regular title. Such is Rigo’s bad luck Solis couldn’t get a visa to fight on the Charlo v Harrison 2 undercard so his appearance was scrapped. 39 year old Rigo deserves one last crack at a career defining fight and it would be a great win for Inoue if he could get it even now.
Nonito Donaire v Nordine Ouabaali or John Riel Casimero
Not many boxers cement their hall of fame status with a loss but ‘The Filipino Flash’ did exactly that in his fight of the year contender performance versus Naoya Inoue. I would be quite happy if Donaire retired after that performance but maybe one last dance winning a title would be fitting. I would like him to face Casimero because it would be another great scrap but he is WBC mandatory for Frenchman Ouabaali. I think he would maybe lose that one but his place in history is set as a warrior and 4-weight world champion.
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez v Kal Yafai
Former P4P star Gonzalez took his losses to Sor Rungvisai really badly. So much so we haven’t really seen much of him since. He had one outing in 2019 at the back end of the year against a journeyman and is expected to face Yafai in March or April. Yafai needs a big name on his resume as well.
Juan Francisco Estrada v Jerwin Acajas
Estrada will be hoping Gonzalez reaches champion level again so he can rematch and avenge his loss. Acajas is a southpaw Filipino who emulates the style of Manny Pacquaio but without the speed. I think Estrada takes this fight and would set up a lucrative 3 belt fight with the winner of Gonzalez v Yafai.
Moruti Mthalane v Julio Cesar Martinez
Mthalane isn’t greatly well known but is a fantastic fighter who hasn’t lost since Donaire beat him back in 2008. Martinez just picked up the WBC belt beating Rosales and is a fan friendly fighter. This bout may not happen and wouldn’t be huge commercially but a 12 year unbeaten streak deserves a big fight for the South African Mthalane.
Kenshiro Teraji v Hiroto Kyoguchi
There are so many top champions from Japan in the lower weight classes but we don’t often get to see unification fights between them. This is probably the best fight Junior Fly has to offer between two skilled fighters.
Chayaphon Moonsri (Wanheng Menayothin) v Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Knockout CP Freshmart)
Pretty much nobody had heard of Menayothin until he started approaching Mayweathers record of 50-0. Menayothin the WBC champ now sits at 53-0. He is only 5″2 so I have no problem with him not moving up in weight but he should really try and unify against WBA champion and compatriot Niyomtrong who is 20-0. They are the only 2 undefeated fighters in the division and it would be a great fight but is the money there for them to risk it all?
Savannah Marshall v Claressa Shields
2x Olympic Gold medalist Shields is so good she is already undisputed champion in her division after only 9 fights. Girls like Shields have paved the way for the future of womens boxing. She has already headlined her own card in Brooklyn but unfortunately for many of the top females there are not enough challenges for them. One of Shields is undefeated British fighter Savannah Marshall. The reason being she is the only girl ever to defeat Shields. The American was 66-1 as an amateur with Marshall proudly defeating her relatively easily using her jab and lateral movement. I think Shields has learned a lot since then and should win but its still a fight i’d like to see.
Katie Taylor v Delfine Persoon 2
It looks like Taylor will face Amanda Serrano next but she really needs to face Persoon soon. I thought the Belgian won their fight at MSG but that wasn’t Taylor’s fault. She gave her best did her job and the judges made their decision. Eddie Hearn stated his ideal 2020 for Taylor would be Serrano, Persoon then Braekhus. Winning these fights would make her possibly the greatest female boxer of all time.
Amanda Serrano v Cecilia Braekhus
Serrano is fighting in MMA next and its a shame that the female boxers don’t get the same recognition as the MMA fighters. There is talk of Amanda Nunes coming over to boxing to fight the top girls just like Cyborg before her. Serrano v Braekhus though is a pure fight between two top boxers. At present Lucia Rijker is probably the greatest female boxer ever but Braekhus, Shields, Taylor, Persoon and Serrano have the chance and platform available to make that their own.