By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
As the world slowly recovers from this hideous pandemic, boxing is in mid-season form. Boxing fans were awarded significant prime time fights in the close of 2021, fights such as Tyson Fury defeating Deontay Wilder for the second consecutive time in October, Canelo Alvarez dominating Caleb Plant in their November championship bout. There was also that Gervonta “Tank” Davis dismantling of Isaac Cruz to close out the year. Should the rest of this year, be like the past six months in boxing, even modest boxing fans will be sure to be in their seats for these upcoming match-ups.
Returning to action on April 9th will be IBF world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) will take on WBA titleholder Ryota Murata (16-2 (13 Kos). This unification fight was scheduled for December 2021, but was rescheduled due to Japan’s increased restrictions COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. This unification clash will be hosted by the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and will be broadcast live on the DAZN platforms.
“I am glad that the date has finally been set. I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers from Japan for their hard work and full support of the upcoming unification fight,” said Golovkin. “I look forward to getting back in the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show to Japan.” Golovkin added.
Coming off of his upset victory over eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, Yordenis Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) will look for another upset when he takes on Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr (27-0, 21 KOs). Their unification fight will take place on Showtime PPV in Arlington, TX. on April 16, 2022. In his hometown, Spence will be looking to add a third welterweight title and cement his position among the class of the welterweight division.
“My eye has been good. Sparring has been great, and I’ve been looking good. I’ve taken some hits, and my eye feels great. I haven’t been in the ring in a year and a half but I’ve been focused, and in the gym training every day.” Spence said to anyone concerned about that previous injury to his eye that held him out of the ring momentarily.
“This is not just going to be a fight between two of the best welterweights in the world. But it’s a fight between two of the best trainers in the world too. They are going to go head-to-head and show their prowess as well.” Ugas said about the high-profile trainer Derrick James and his own Ismael Salas. Ugas added, “I not only accepted this fight; I pushed for this fight. Because I want to fight the best. Here we are, two of the best welterweights in the world. I want the biggest challenges. I’m here and I’m ready to prove that everything I’ve done so far wasn’t a fluke at all.”
Although Dillon Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) neglected to show up in London to assist in the promotion of his fight, on ESPN+ at Wembley Stadium, with the Lineal Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs). 85,000 tickets were sold in the first three hours of availability for this fight. Yet, this wouldn’t be the first time Fury would be forced to carry a press conference before his fight. As just last year, Wilder refused to talk during their press conference leading up to Wilder-Fury III.
“I don’t blame him for not being here today because, if he were here, I’d have probably stretched him at the press conference,” Fury kidded. “It’s good he’s not here, otherwise I’d be remanded in a London jail cell somewhere. The buildup to this fight will be fantastic because Tyson Fury versus his own shadow sells for sure. I will make sure people are entertained.” Boast Fury.
It was announced in February, that WBO Champion Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) would be taking on WBC Champion Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) in a junior lightweight unification bout on DAZN at the MGM in Las Vegas, NV. on April 30, 2022. The 24-year-old Stevenson admits he’s been eyeing Valdez since they were featherweights. With a win over Valdez, Stevenson would become the first unified junior lightweight champion since Marco Antonio Barrera in 2005.
“I have been chasing this fight for nearly three years since we were both at featherweight,” Stevenson said in a recent interview. “On April 30, I’m going to show him and the world why he ducked me all this time. I’m the best young fighter in the world, and I will become unified champion.”
“I want to make it clear that I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world,” Valdez said. “We know Shakur Stevenson is very good at fighting, but he’s even better at social media. I’ll let my fists speak for themselves.”
It is widely recognized that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs) is the straw that stirs the drink in boxing. Evidence of this fact is that multiple boxers were anxiously waiting to see who Alvarez would select as his next opponent. Alvarez and his team just selected hard-hitting Russian Dmitry Bivol (19-0-2, 11KOs) as his next opponent. The fight will be at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 7th.
“Thank you to Dmitry Bivol for the opportunity to fight for your world championship, thank you so much. I’m glad to be back with Eddie Hearn and working with him, with DAZN, I’m excited for this year,” exclaimed Alvarez. “Bivol is a tough fighter, and it’s going to be a good fight for Cinco de Mayo weekend with my people in Las Vegas – Mexican weekend. I’m excited, and I’m going to prepare well because this fight is going to be hard.”
“I want to say thank you to all my team, my promoter, World of Boxing, and to DAZN, Eddie Hearn, and Canelo for the opportunity to make this fight,” said Bivol. “This is very important for me, especially because I’m fighting one of the best if not the best in the world right now. I want people to be able to see me and my skills; this is a big fight that can give me the ability to achieve my other goals and go on if I win this fight.”
It appears that boxing fans will have to keep waiting on a Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr bout. However, these are some worth-while fights coming up for boxing fans. Which of these fights are you looking forward to most? Similarly, which one of these fights would be the better win for these boxers? Let me know your thoughts on the first half of the year in boxing and which of these fights you are looking forward to seeing most by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or shoot me an email to email@example.com.
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