After an excellent night of boxing on Saturday night at London’s 02 Arena, 2016 has become a bit clearer for some, however others are thrown back into the midst of uncertainty that is somewhat unique to the boxing world. Saturday nights show had results that may have surprised some but not others inside the boxing community. Either way it’s hard to argue that it was up there with the best British and Irish shows of 2015.
Joshua vs Whyte was a thoroughly enjoyable contest and really summed up what is great about heavyweight boxing. It was a battle that saw both men land bombs and both men in danger. Joshua came through but showed he is not invincible like some may have previously suggested. So where does Joshua go from here? My guess – Dereck Chisora. Why not? It can be argued Chisora is slowing down a touch and could come at the perfect time for Joshua, who would be in an elite few to beat Chisora if he came out victorious. Chisora would relish the chance of fighting Joshua and likely saw weaknesses that he could exploit from Saturday evening. The fight would be good for the British public to see and it is one I can seen being made in 2016.
Whyte gave fight fans an excellent performance and had Joshua in trouble in a couple of occasions especially in round two. Whyte won’t want to hang around fighting journeymen as I as well as many others would say he showed the level he is at on Saturday night. That level is well above fighting journeymen. I’d expect Whyte to have maybe on eight or ten round fight before returning to title fights, likely international title fights as he’ll look to climb the world rankings quickly despite the defeat to AJ. I would expect Whyte to be targeting the likes of Carlos Takam, Erkan Teper and Andy Ruiz in 2016.
Eubank Jr showed his class in his victory against Spike O’Sullivan. Spike is a very good fighter and can bang. He tested Eubank’s chin on occasion and Eubank took everything Spike through at him and came back with excellent combinations, showing fantastic hand speed, better movement and doubled up with a lot of his punches without taking much in return. Some credit must immediately go to Adam Booth as Eubank Jr looked more of a well rounded fighter on Saturday evening. Spike will look to bounce back and will do so. He has a great team around him and will likely take some time off before returning in the middle of next year. Eubank Jr is reportedly fighting Nick Blackwell next for the British title however that could change if the opportunity to fight WBA ‘regular’ World Champion Daniel Jacobs appeared. I think Eubank Jr will fight for a version of the full World Title in 2016. Spike I expect to return in the mid months of next year and will look to rebuild to a big fight of his own. An all Irish clash with American based Irishman Jason Quigley may not be out the equation for the end of next year either for Spike.
Kevin Mitchell once again fell short in an attempt to claim a version of the World Title against a really strong opponent in Ismael Barroso. I had watched Barroso in the past and had realised this guy had real capabilities. Others may have not foreseen this until Barroso utilised these capabilites effectively against Mitchell on Saturday night. Mitchell has been a great servant to British boxing and is one of the best fighters we’ve had not to hold a world crown. Despite this, the windows of opportunities may be closing on the ageing Mitchell; as a planned WBA title fight with Anthony Crolla now seems dead in the water. Barroso is mandated to fight Crolla next but who knows with the WBA! As for Mitchell, he is the the only one who can really decide on where he goes from here. Nobody knows yourself better than yourself and only a fighter can make an honest judgement on when it’s time to call it a day.
Tony Bellew beat a well rounded, world level operator in Mateusz Masternak, giving Bellew a world rating with all the major governing bodies. It has been rumoured that Bellew initially was inline to fight IBF Victor Ramirez however this fight didn’t materialise. Bellew will now be aiming for a showdown with any of the current World Champions and knowing Bellew he will fight anybody anywhere. My prediction for Bellew in 2016 is he will fight a final eliminator for a World Title if he doesn’t fight for one straight away in 2016.
Dereck Chisora is on the comeback trail after signing with German based promotional outfit Sauerland Promotion. He now becomes a promotional stable mate of David Price and would likely target an all English showdown with him. Anthony Joshua will also be on Chisora’s radar in 2016 as well as any fighter with a world rating. Chisora is as game as they come and I expect one last push for world honours from him in 2016.