KLITSCHKO INJURED - HEAVYWEIGHT LANDSCAPE THROWN INTO MORE TURMOIL
News broke this morning that Wladimir Klitschko would be unable to fight either Anthony Joshua or Lucas Browne December 10th after suffering what is being reported as a minor calf injury. This latest development is yet another dramatic turn in the heavyweight landscape as fighters and promoters scramble to make their claims for the various belts vacated by Tyson Fury.
Until last week, it seemed as though a Joshua v Klitschko fight in the UK was most likely until it transpired that Klitschko and his team were chasing the WBA strap above all else which opened the door for Australian, Lucas Browne to face the Ukrainian. Browne was quickly installed as favourite to face Klitschko in December and it seemed only purse negotiations were left to settle – that is, until this morning’s news that the former unified Champion would be unable to fight until the new year.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn had already began making plans for Anthony Joshua and a domestic dust-up with David Price looks set for the o2 with Hearn promising a very strong undercard now that the super-fight between Joshua and Klitschko will not be topping the show. With New Zealand’s Joseph Parker now confirmed to fight Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland, the big question now is, who will fight for the WBA title?
Lucas Browne is guaranteed a shot at a version of the WBA Belt although it seems he is as much in the dark as everyone else right now. I reached out to Lucas earlier:
“This basically leaves me still training my ass off, for no matter who it is, I’m still going to shock the World when I win it”
When asked who he thought was most likely Browne said:
“I’d prefer Ustinov or Charr for the belt. Then I’ll take on and fight anyone and everyone after that”
Browne has repeatedly stated that his primary focus is to win a World Title, something he feels was stolen from him after the debacle in Chechnya, and the hard-hitting Australian is determined to prove his doubters wrong and fill the gap in his belt collection with the WBA World Title belt.
The obvious name on the possible list of opponents is David Haye, the popular Brit would be a huge commercial pull and having previously held the WBA belt, is someone favoured by the governing body who are unlikely to shy away from the large sanctioning fees a fight including David Haye would involve. Having spent 3 years out the ring, Haye has 2 victories this year over more than questionable opponents but has found himself back in the top 10 and it would be no surprise if he is named as challenger for one of the belts. This would also be the toughest test for Browne as Haye is undoubtedly one of the most skillful heavyweights in recent times and since his time out of the ring has been looking much more at home in his Heavyweight frame.
Ustinov is the highest ranked of the other possible alternatives and given his lack of commercial appeal either side of the pond, this is a fight that could be brought to Australian shores (if any Australian promoter will put up the cash to make this happen) and would be a huge opportunity for Browne to fight in front of him home fans and after all that went on in Grozny, he may not be overly keen on travelling to Russia to face Ustinov.
Manuel Charr and Shannon Briggs seem unlikely outsiders at the moment, Charr has mixed at the top level and would be a credible opponent although there has been very little discussion of him being ready in December. Briggs, as most of the Boxing World will know, has been aiming for his chance to regain a World Title for a long time and although the American Veteran may be past his prime, there can be no doubting his showmanship and, with his exposure in the UK this year, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility he may be included on the Joshua undercard.
Whatever happens, the continuous turmoil around the vacant Heavyweight Titles look set to be put to bed over the next few days. Keep an eye on @T2TBoxing for the latest developments.