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The heavyweight division is being shaken out of its Covid-induced slumber

Steve Wellings

Steve is an experienced boxing writer and author. He has been writing about boxing for over 12 years and has attended over 150 shows. He has written and published nine books on the sport. He is the host on a boxing podcast called Boxing Asylum.

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The heavyweight division is being shaken out of its Covid-induced slumber with a series of matchups announced. With both Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder searching for opponents, Anthony Joshua set to defend against Kubrat Pulev and Dillian Whyte suffering at the powerful gloves of Alexander Povetkin, the best of the rest are making moves.

Portly puncher Andy Ruiz Jr will be looking to erase the demons of his non-performance in the Anthony Joshua rematch by putting on a show against an opponent who might enter the ring in worse shape than him. Rugged Californian Cris Arreola gets another chance to shine in the PBC limelight as Andy’s dance partner. In fairness to Ruiz if social media images are to be believed he is walking about in decent shape at the moment.

Meanwhile “Nightmare” Arreola is now 39 but keeps getting opportunities despite the six losses on his record. He was once an exciting puncher who boxed Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title in 2009 but was subjected to a one-sided beatdown and the only lasting impression he made was in an expletive-laden post-fight interview on HBO.

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Beaten by Deontay Wilder in 2016, Arreola’s most recent fight was a 2019 points loss to prospect Adam Kownacki. Arreola did manage to break the record for throwing the most punches by a heavyweight. According to punch stats authority CompuBox, Cris threw a total of 1,125 punches across the 12 rounds.

If Ruiz is to return to the top of the heavyweight picture, he needs to dispatch Arreola. A future fight between Ruiz and Luis Ortiz would be interesting. Both have enjoyed success and failure at the top level.

Cuban southpaw Ortiz is set to return on the Ruiz-Arreola undercard which would indicate where the matchmakers are heading. It is unlikely that Luis will slip on any banana skins given the credibility of his opponent. Scott Alexander (16-3-2, 8 KOs) lost in 2018 to Travis Kauffman who was knocked out by Ortiz six months later. Not a great choice of opponent for the man who twice fought Deontay Wilder and was for so long recognised as the heavyweight division’s key dangerman.

Top promoter Eddie Hearn is rumoured to be taking his show “down under” and a potential all-New Zealand clash between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa has being talked up in some quarters. Unbeaten Fa boasts 19 wins with 10 KOs. Parker is a former WBO heavyweight ruler.

Fa has been boxing Stateside recently but despite his impressive frame and solid record has beaten nobody of note. If the pair can come to a financial agreement it would be the biggest heavyweight clash in New Zealand since David Tua fought Shane Cameron in 2009.

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