For many years the heavyweight boxing scene was dominated by Americans. From Louis to Liston and Frazier to Holmes, the US had one heavyweight champion after another. Recent years have seen Andy Ruiz Jr and Deontay Wilder hold title belts but that’s not the case now. Betting on an American to become world heavyweight champion isn’t looking so good at present.
The Europeans are in control at present and will be for most of 2022 if not all. Betting on the heavyweight title now is all centred around Oleksander Usyk, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. What does the future hold for American title contenders? There is of course an American holder of a world heavyweight title but not that many have noticed. More about him later.
You can bet your bottom dollar that we haven’t seen the last of Deontay Wilder. His career has stalled after a draw and two defeats to WBC champion Tyson Fury. The way he fought in the recent third title match with Fury has its good points though.
It looked as if he would defy the odds given by sportsbooks and regain his WBC title. Fury was put on the canvas twice and those who had placed wagers on Wilder must have thought their bets were going to be winners. Up against most other heavyweights that night, Wilder would most likely have won.
The former champion knows that the first half of 2022 will see Usyk have his rematch with Joshua, while it’s likely that Fury will defend his belt against Dillian Whyte. The second half of the year is likely to see the winners of those two fights face each other in a unification match.
That means Wilder and the other title contenders have an important year ahead of them. Wilder says he has no intention of retiring so he must get back in the ring, start winning again and then hope for a title shot in 2023. Becoming a mandatory challenger is important just in case one governing body strips their champion of the belt.
There are plenty of fights out there for Wilder and he’d be favourite to win most of them. There are more Europeans to face, such as Joe Joyce and/or Daniel Dubois. Win some fights and then you can bet on him getting back into title contention.
Then there’s Andy Ruiz Jr who will be looking to at some point regain his heavyweight titles. He had that impressive win over Joshua, then just spent too much time partying, got out of shape and Joshua easily won the return.
Ruiz has lost weight since then but only had one fight. He justified favouritism with a win over Chris Arreola in May of this year. He’s still highly ranked but needs to beat someone like Wilder, Ortiz or Joyce to get anywhere near mandatory challenger status.
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Michael Hunter would have been interested in seeing Usyk win the world heavyweight title. Only one boxer has beat Hunter in his pro career and that’s Usyk. It wasn’t a heavyweight bout though but a world cruiserweight title bout. Usyk was the heavy favourite to win that bout and he justified the odds by winning on points.
Now a heavyweight, he’s highly ranked but shouldn’t be as is the case with many on the lists. Hunter is often talked of as a possible opponent for other top contenders. The fights never seem to come off though. Hunter needs to get a big fight and win it if he ever wants a title match.
Now we need to discuss Trevor Bryan, the American with a title belt. Bryan is the regular WBA world heavyweight champion, while Usyk is the super champion, bet not every reader knew that. It’s a farcical situation with Bryan having fought just once in the last three years.
2018 saw him beat BJ Flores for the interim heavyweight title. Nothing happened for Bryan until January of this year. He beat Bermane Stiverne to win the WBA title. That was the third defeat in a row for Stiverne, so how he received a title match is almost beyond comprehension.
Bryan is undefeated in 21 professional fights, but it seems no top contenders want to fight him. Perhaps American boxers could get title shots against him. It’s a rather worthless title but holding a heavyweight belt can add a few dollars onto the paycheck. At present, this looks the only chance for an American boxer to get a world heavyweight title shot.