IF the main event between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker is essentially ‘The Anthony Joshua Semi-Final’, then a July 28 undercard fight between Dereck Chisora and Carlos Takam, announced today (June 15), represents a quarter-final.
Both fights are watchable, and both owe a debt to Joshua, whose sizeable hands and profile have blessed these match-ups and made pay-per-view attractions of decent heavyweight fare. Without him, the two fights would remain interesting, and certainly be worth one’s attention. But it’s because of him, and because of the fact he has boxed three of the four men mentioned, that Whyte vs. Parker and now Chisora vs. Takam benefit from a different kind of focus and exposure.
“I’m delighted to get another big heavyweight clash over the line for July 28 – this is a great fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “For ‘Del Boy’, it’s a real last chance saloon at world level and for Takam it’s a chance to push for another world title shot after a strong showing against AJ. July 28 is going to be a huge night of boxing at The O2.”
Chisora, number 10 with the WBC, and a former world title challenger, was recently linked with a fight against Joe Joyce, but could see no upside to winning let alone taking that fight. Takam, meanwhile, has been beating the drum for a Chisora fight for a good few months now and finally gets his chance to make good on his number six ranking with the IBF.
Together, they will sort out their respective positions in the heavyweight pack and then moments later sit down and watch Parker (conqueror of Takam) and Whyte (conqueror of Chisora), two men they know well, do some shuffling of their own in the main event (a semi-final which could, who knows, lead to a rematch against Anthony Joshua).
Tyson Fury’s four-round mess-around with Sefer Seferi last weekend might not have gone down too well with the general public, nor Fury’s heavyweight rivals, but it did at least draw healthy viewing figures on BT Sport.
The fight, a non-title affair between two men with nearly a foot and five stone between them, drew a live audience of 814,000, a testament to Fury’s popularity and overall appeal.
“We have had a combined attendance of 50,000 people across our last three events in Leeds, Belfast and Manchester,” said promoter Frank Warren, “and everyone is delighted with the viewing figures from Saturday night, which was by far the highest viewed fight on linear subscription TV in the UK this year.
“Across those three events, we have also had three closely fought World level fights which have all delivered in terms of entertainment, in Selby v Warrington, Frampton v Donaire and Flanagan v Hooker, which is something we will continue to strive to do.”
Warren has good reason to feel excited. Because if a returning Fury can tempt over 800,000 people to watch the mother of all mismatches (knowledge we possessed beforehand), imagine what happens when Fury returns to real heavyweight competition.
You might have to wait, however.
That’s if you believe the word of rival promoter Eddie Hearn, who, in an interview with IFL.TV, revealed the four-fight plan he offered Fury back when the pair briefly entertained the idea of working together.
“When we were talking to sign him, I said ‘Look, I understand you want an easy one,’” Hearn said. “I said to him, ‘You could fight Travis Kauffman.’ That was a guy I wanted him to fight in his first fight back.
“I said, ‘You could fight Kauffman, then you could fight Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua. That is my four-fight plan. That is probably about £30m there as well.’”
Fury had other ideas. Instead of Kauffman, he wanted Seferi. Instead of Hearn, he wanted Warren.
Alas, it’s with bated breath, and no small amount of cynicism, we await what’s next.