The heavyweight division is hotting up and the WBC have wasted no time in putting Anthony Joshua in prime position to fulfil his dream of being world champion.
However, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder believes he is the one set to succeed Floyd Mayweather Jr as the world’s leading fighter.
“There is nothing better than the heavyweights to keep the boom going. The fans love the big men. Historically ours is the sport’s marquee division and it’s great for the game that it is coming back to life.
“It’s also time to bring back the undisputed heavyweight championship to America, where it belongs.”
Undefeated Tuscaloosa native Wilder (33-0, 32 KO) will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KO) at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday night (around 9am on Sunday, Cambodian time).
The fight is expected to showcase the champion’s knockout power. But the boxing world is now abuzz with the news that Anthony Joshua has been ranked as No2 by the WBC, meaning there could be only one more fight for the man from Watford before Wilder would have to deal with him as the mandatory challenger for his world title.
Although much of the boxing world, including IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko, have earmarked Britain’s WBC International champion Joshua as the future of the division, Wilder is still adamant that he is the leading light in the heavyweight scene.
Wilder was taken the distance for the first time in his 33-fight professional career last time out, winning a unanimous decision over Haitian Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs) to clinch the vacant belt, while winning praise for showing boxing skills rarely seen in him, having knocked out not-so-worthy adversaries early throughout his career.
The man from Alabama is certainly likeable and marketable but regardless of his record he is still somewhat of an unknown quantity due to the quality of fighters he has been in the ring with, and not much will change with this fight as there is nothing to suggest Molina should even be fighting for a world title.
Bigger fights are down the road as he spearheads a heavyweight renaissance that can only mean more interest for fight fans. And what was expected to be a fairly uninspiring voluntary defence in the autumn for Wilder could now potentially see “AJ from the UK” being his opponent in a mouthwatering match-up.
In a remarkable development that goes a long way to justify the so-called “hype” that has been levelled at Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn, which is mainly due to him destroying his opponents in no more than three rounds in his 13 fights and being less than two years into his professional career, it could be regarded as one of the quickest rises to stardom in the heavyweight division since Mike Tyson some 30 years ago.
Although some may feel it maybe too soon for Joshua to step up to this level even after dismantling the never previously stopped Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson inside two rounds at the O2 arena in London last month, it sets up a potentially explosive showcase of two of boxing’s fiery young heavyweights.
And with Klitschko’s mandatory defence of his WBA belt being negotiated now with the other unbeaten British heavyweight Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) all roads are potentially leading to a huge unification fight between the winners of these bouts next year.
With the way the division looks right now, these four fighters could give us a modern day equivalent of Ali, Foreman, Frazier and Norton, who captured the world’s imagination in the 1970s, because when you look at their records it might just be the renaissance that all fight fans have been craving for many years.
The fight can be seen at 9am at Paddy Rice #213 Sisowath Quay