1: Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KO’s)
Target: WBC Super Middleweight Title
Smith has been waiting patiently ever since he became the WBC mandatory challenger all the way back in November 2015, when he destroyed Rocky Fielding in the first round of an all-Merseyside grudge match which included the British Super Middleweight title. Smith seemed to handle the pressure very well and if anything it seemed to bring the best of him. Rocky Fielding is what most would consider his toughest to date, which produced the best we have seen from the Unbeaten Smith to date.
Callum “Mundo” Smith will travel to the USA in the next couple of months to face former WBC World Champion, Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1). Hence having to fight away from home, Smith should have reason to be confident. With youth on his side, many consider Dirrell to be past his best and Smith has been the more active fighter with four fights in 2016, compared to Dirrell having just two fights in nearly as many years.
Smith and his promoter Eddie Hearn did have their hearts set on all British World title fight in the UK that was if James DeGale was able to unify the division against at the time WBC champion Badou Jack. The outcome was a draw and Jack relinquished his title. If smith can win the vacant WBC title, it sets things up nicely for the twenty-six-year-old Liverpudlian, with lucrative all British Unification World title fights with James Degale who holds the IBF title and George George who is soon to be given a date for a crack at the WBA title.
2: Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KO’s)
Target: WBO Heavyweight Title
The cousin of former World Champion Tyson Fury will travel to New Zealand to fight current WBO Champion Joseph Parker in Auckland May 6th. Hughie’s fight with Parker does draw parallels to Tyson Fury’s World title chance against Wladimir Klitschko. Both Hughie and Tyson having to go to foreign lands to fight the Champion, being considered the underdogs and both having not fought for a year you wouldn’t expect it deter trainer Peter Fury in the build up to Joseph Parker’s second defense on the 6th of May Against the 22 year old from Manchester.
Peter fury did make FightTalk.net aware that Team Fury will be heading to Auckland a month a before the WBO title fight, to acclimatize to the time difference and conditions. However, Hughie has not fought since a tough fight against Fred Kassi and it would have been over a year since his last fight, when he steps in the ring with Parker. Another argument would be that Hughie Fury hasn’t fought anybody of note, but the same could be said for Parker, with Andy Ruiz Jr being his only real test so far in his twenty fights. Which was a very close fight, where we could all see of areas of weakness in the Kiwi Heavyweight.
With home advantage to Joseph Parker and the fact he has been more active you can see why Fury is the Underdog. However I do believe Fury is the better boxer and if healthy and fit can tame Parker, but he has to be at his very best.
3: George Groves
Target: WBA Super Middleweight title
George “The Saint” Groves is in line for a World title shot against Russian Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA Super middleweight title. Groves has failed three times so far in trying to secure a World title; Twice against future hall of fame former World champion Carl Froch and most recently losing a split decision against WBC Champion Badou Jack in Las Vegas, 2015. Many say that Groves hasn’t quite got what it takes to win a World title, having already failed three times to secure a World title and due to his reputation of looking tired in the later rounds of most his fights, you can understand why.
I would disagree, since moving to trainer Shane McGuigan, he’s had time to adapt to his new team having had four fights with Mcguigan since losing to Badou Jack in 2015. McGuigan who boasts former two-weight World Champion Carl Frampton, former Heavyweight World Champion David Haye and World title hopeful Josh Taylor in his stable. Groves seems to have finally found a trainer that understands him. Now being championship ready with four fights into 2016, his new trainer looks to be getting the best out of Groves, in his previous two fights aginst Martin Murray and Eduard Gutknecht
they both went the distance and the stamina issues that once remained had clearly been eradicated. Groves had one of his best performances against Martin Murray in the WBA World title eliminator, controlling the fight and really hurting Murray at times.
Fedor Chudinov (14-1) who stands in the way of Groves World title dream should be considered a very beatable opponent, when you compare firstly the two fighters experience, Fedor Chudinov’s most notable names fights being Frank Buglioni and two fights with Felix Sturm. Don’t compare to the Hammersmith based middleweight At 28 years old we could be seeing George Groves coming into his prime.
4: Liam Walsh (21-0 14 KO’s)
Target: IBF Super Featherweight title
The very talented Liam Walsh fights the also very impressive Gervonta “Tank” Davis (17-0 16KO’s) for the IBF Super featherweight title in London on May 20th. “Tank” who is signed with Mayweather Promotions wowed fight fans when he won the IBF World title against the undefeated Jose Pedraza on the DeGale Jack Undercard. Walsh looked assured and technically impressive as always in his last fight against Andrey Kilmov, but when comparing the two performances you would have to give Gervonta Davis the nod for ability.
However this fight is a bit of an unknown with neither fighter having ever really fought anyone World Class, I would consider this as both fighters toughest fight to date. With home advantage on his side and a bit more experience Liam Walsh has much more than a punchers chance of winning the IBF Super Featherweight title at the Copperbox May 20th.
5: Dillian Whyte (20-1-0 15 KO’s)
Target: WBC Heavyweight title
Having beaten fellow Londoner Dereck Chisora via split decision in December 2016, in a much-anticipated bitterly fueled WBC World title eliminator. The Brixton Heavyweight signed to Matchroom has found himself nicely placed in 4th position behind Bermane Stiverne, Kubrat Pulev and Luis Ortiz in the WBC ranking.
If Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn can engineer a WBC final eliminator against Cuban Luis Ortiz or Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev. Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte could find himself fighting the winner of Deontay Wilder Vs Bermane Stirverne before the end of 2017. Possibilities to rematch IBF World Champion Anthony Joshua and the winner of Joseph Parker Vs Hughie Fury could also be options for “The Body Snatcher”