Late July the Hope for Boxing’s Return to the UK

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Dillian White carries boxing belt on his shoulder in the ring

Boxing returns to America next week for the first time since mid-March, with Shakur Stevenson headlining a rather one-sided looking card taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Although that is obviously good news for fight fans across the world, with more bouts set to come over the next few weeks and months, unfortunately the immediate future of the sport in the UK is still unclear.

The Government has started to ease the lockdown measures which has seen the resumption of elite sport across the country, with Racing and Snooker already underway while there have been start dates pencilled in for other events, such as Football, Formula One and Cricket – all depending on there being no further setbacks in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

However, there are still restrictions on boxing from the British Boxing Board of Control, with the return of sparring to a boxing’s training regime not expected until later this month, while the authorities recommend that training continues outdoors.

This is despite the Government giving the green light for elite sports, as in with Football, to resume full-contact training. Unsurprisingly, such protocols have once again led to the re-shaping of the boxing landscape on these shores.

British World Title Contenders Must Wait

Lee Selby’s bid to become a two-weight world champion has been postponed again, with the 33-year-old – beaten by Josh Warrington to lose his IBF world featherweight title in 2018 – now set to face the unbeaten Australian George Kambosos Jr on October 3.

Lewis Ritson’s fight with former world champion Miguel Vazquez, originally scheduled for June 27 in Newcastle, has also been put back and will now take place on October 17.

Dillian Whyte was seemingly set to again strengthen his case for a world-title shot, as he was a 4/17* favourite to take care of 11/4 outsider Alexander Povetkin on July 4. However, that fight has been abandoned for a second time, having fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic on both May 2 and now July 4.

Interestingly though, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotion team have said that the event has now been cancelled, rather than postponed.

Nothing of course has been set in stone, but Hearn has plans to hold a “Fight Camp” in a bio-secure environment in the grounds of Matchroom’s headquarters in Essex, starting towards the end of July and culminating with a Whyte-Povetkin showpiece finale in mid-August, and the former is said to be open to the idea.

Is Joshua v Tyson Going to Happen?

There has arguably never been a better time to be a British boxing fan, particularly in the heavyweight division, with the prospect of a blockbuster showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

There are still obstacles to overcome with Fury set to take on Deontay Wilder for a third, and perhaps final time, while Joshua will defend his belts against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev – originally scheduled on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – ahead of a potential unification bout.

Joshua was a strong favourite at 1/14 to keep his side of the bargain by beating 7/1 shot Pulev, although a rescheduled date and venue have yet to be determined.

Whatever happens with the belt holders, Whyte will be desperate to do all he can to force his way into a world title shot, with the Povetkin bout a stepping stone to facing Fury.

Everyone will be awaiting official confirmation for Hearn’s “Fight Camp” to start – with the likes of Katie Taylor, Conor Benn and Terri Harper also set to feature across four camps – with July 25 the hope for the first.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Rob has around 20 years journalism experience and has written and commentated on the likes of football, cricket and rugby. He also has an impressive background in racquet sports and regularly provides content on the likes of tennis and badminton.
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