Taking Stock Halfway Through The Boxing Calendar 2016

Today being the 4th of July represents just over six months of action in the sweet science this year and even to the most critical among us in boxing, it’s being a decent year so far it has to be said.

July is a month traditionally slow for big fights and big news on the boxing calendar, but such is the excellent place boxing is in at the moment, there’s the likes of Leo Santa Cruz vs Carl Frampton to look forward to later this month, as well as July also featuring light-heavyweight knockout artist Sergey Kovalev returning to action against Issac Chilemba and not forgetting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s upcoming defence against Chris Arreola.

You’ve also got Shingo Wake and Jonahan Guzman contesting the vacant IBF super-bantamweight title along with world champions Terry Flanagan, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Adonis Stevenson and Terence Crawford all in action this month.

Hopefully this month we will also find out if Gennady Golovkin will land a fight against Chris Eubank Jr in the UK. The talk at the moment appears to be pointing in that direction for the most part at least.

Yeah, July is going to be a scorcher of a summer month for boxing. But before we get into that, lets take a quick look back at what some of 2016 has brought the sport of boxing so far.

UK Boxing

Despite all the recent political talk surrounding ‘Brexit’, British boxing continues to march on and leads the way as boxing’s premier market globally at the moment.

As of the 4th of July, the list of world champions from Britain is now at a remarkable 13 in it’s entirety, which was 14 up until very recently when Carl Frampton vacated his 122lbs belts to move up to featherweight to fight Santa Cruz this month.

Image source and credit: Soloboxeo.com

An incredible statistic indicitve of the wave of UK boxing success that is comprised currently at the half way point in 2016 of the following men:

  • Tyson Fury (WBO and WBA super heavyweight champion)
  • Anthony Joshua (IBF Heavyweight champion)
  • Tony Bellew (WBC cruiserweight champion)
  • James DeGale (IBF super-middleweight champion)
  • Billy Joe Saunders (WBO middleweight champion)
  • Liam Smith (WBO super-welterweight champion)
  • Kell Brook (IBF welterweight champion)
  • Ricky Burns (WBA regular junior-welterweight champion)
  • Anthony Crolla (WBA regular lightweight champion)
  • Terry Flanagan (WBO lightweight champion)
  • Lee Selby (IBF featherweight champion)
  • Lee Haskins (IBF bantamweight champion)
  • Jamie McDonnell (WBA regular bantamweight champion)

Heavyweight Division

The heavyweight landscape continues to evolve since last year’s shake up that started when Tyson Fury dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.

Anthony Joshua has become IBF heavyweight champion after defeating American Charles Martin and made his first defence of the belt against another American recently in Dominic Breazeale.

(Anthony Joshua continues to progress – hat tip to Showtime YouTube):

Tyson Fury has had a run of bad luck with an injury to his ankle that has seen his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko that was due to happen this month, put back to a later date in 2016 which has yet to be officially confirmed.

WBC champion Deontay Wilder has also had a bit of misfortune after his proposed fight with Russian Alexander Povetkin fell through after alleged issues that have now given rise to a lawsuit.

However, Wilder will look to get back to action in the ring soon against American Chris Arreola and hope to put these troubles behind him for the time being.

The likes of Englishman David Haye and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker have rocketed up the IBF heavyweight rankings through wins in 2016, with Parker now number one contender to fight for Anthony Joshua’s belt.

Undefeated Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz has had one win so far in 2016 over Tony Thompson, but will look to build on this in his next fight in September against Alexander Ustinov for the WBA interim heavyweight title.

All in all, the heavyweight division is starting to look genuinely exciting once again.

American Boxing Starting To Slowly Turn Again

As it’s the 4th of July (happy Independence Day to our American readers) today I thought it would be appropriate to bring up what is now probably the number two market in the world for boxing, in America, but make no mistake, the Americans are not down and out just yet.

Although British boxing has become the world’s premier spot for boxing at the moment, the US boxing market showed it’s teeth again recently when Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter threw down in a highly entertaining battle that saw massive ratings on TV in the US – the biggest in America for boxing of the year so far.

(Highlights via the PBC YouTube channel):

There had been cause for concern earlier in the year regarding the Premier Boxing Champions venture headed by Al Haymon being in trouble, but with recent reports suggesting that Haymon has put behind him some of his fallings out with other promoters in the US, you might see more quality fights get made in the second half of 2016 with promoters working together more.

I say that optimistically, of course.

Furthermore, it was great to see former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer return to the sport of boxing recently as a new player on the promotional circuit in American boxing.

A man with a considerable track record in making big fights in boxing in the past. This bodes well for US professional boxing and indeed world boxing to have him back.

Muhammad Ali

Lastly but certainly not least, perhaps the biggest piece of news and indeed shock to the world of boxing so far in 2016 came when the great Muhammad Ali passed away.

It was news that transcended the sport of boxing that was globally significant, such was the gravity and impact of the loss to humanity of this special human being.

A man who simply will never be forgotten.

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