The FOUR undisputed men's fights that boxing fans could see this year including Anthony Joshua against Tyson Fury
3rd March 2021

JOSH TAYLOR’S brave bid to travel to America in May to become undisputed super-lightweight world champion should kick off a summer of similar showdowns.

Scotland’s WBA and IBF king goes up against WBC and WBO boss Jose Ramirez on May 22 in an effort to collect all four of the major world titles on offer.

With the four money-hungry sanctioning bodies always eager to demand a mandatory defence – like Canelo’s almost pointless win over over-matched Avni Yildirim last weekend – it’s an almost impossible feat to achieve.

Remember when Tyson Fury was stripped of his hard-earned IBF crown barely a few days after incredibly dethroning Wladimir Klitschko – just for agreeing to a rematch with the 11-year-champion?

Or the WBC’s decision to make franchise, emeritus, interim and ‘in-recess’ versions of their world champions, to bag extra coin and confuse waters even further.

But there are a few fights that could happen in 2021 that will be unequivocal deciders on who is the supreme ruler of that division.

Josh Taylor 17-0 vs Jose Ramirez 26-0 – Super-lightweight

The 30-year-old southpaw Brit has achieved incredible things inside just 17 fights.

Winning the World Boxing Super Series in 2019 – with a fight-of-the-year contender against Regis Prograis, landed him the IBF, WBA and Ring magazine belts and No1 status.

Ramirez refused to enter the tournament but has quietly and respectfully collected the two outstanding belts.

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Now the pair will meet to decide who is the best 10st fighter on the planet.

Taylor wants to emulate fellow Edinburgh icon and ex-lightweight king Ken Buchanan by doing it for Scotland.

But Ramirez is a dangerous opponent who will have home advantage.

This fight has been made relatively smoothly because both warriors are promoted by Top Rank and so do not have clashing broadcasters arguing over rights, unlike the next two.

Tyson Fury 30-0-1 vs Anthony Joshua 24-1 – Heavyweight

The 32-year-old Gypsy King has held all four of the major belts but never together.

Right now the 6ft 9in ace has the WBC title and AJ has the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he relinquished when failed drug tests and a mental health breakdown cost him 1000 days out of the ring.

The all-English undisputed clash was announced as a done deal in June – when Fury and AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn spread the good news – but we feel no closer nine months on.

The two-fight deal will be split 50-50 in the first clash and 60-40 to the winner in the second.


But Fury is backed by Top Rank, ESPN and BT Sport and considers himself the star attraction, while AJ is a Matchroom, DAZN and Sky Sports fighter and fancies himself as the A-side of the negotiations.

Apparently the clash will happen in Saudi Arabia in June and should be announced this month.

But Tyson Fury’s most recent interview showed him looking well out of shape, with the undefeated ace insisting the deal was miles off completion.

Canelo 55-1-2/Billy Joe Saunders 30-0 vs Caleb Plant 21-0 – Super-middleweight

Mexican sensation Saul Alvarez is the biggest star in boxing so everybody – in about five different divisions – wants a career-defining payday against him.

The WBA and WBC titles are currently in the 30-year-old’s possession and he faces brilliant Brit southpaw and WBO champ Saunders on May 8.

The winner of that potential classic will have three of the four major titles and will target American IBF boss Plant next.


Canelo makes even his least-talented opponents mega money so, if he beats the undefeated Hatfields ace, he will have no problem calling Plant and making a deal.

But Saunders is a supremely gifted nightmare for anyone and has only failed to fulfil his dizzying potential through inactivity.

Canelo missed almost all of 2020 thanks to the pandemic and a dispute with his former promoters but he is now a free agent so deals are easily made.

The four-weight king has just won twice inside the last 11 weeks, Saunders will be his third inside four months, and he will target Plant in September if all goes well for him.

Jermell Charlo 31-1 vs Brian Castano 17-0-1 – Super-welterweight

The 11st division is going through a bit of a dip with plenty of household names either side of the 154lbs class.

Middle and welter are home to mega-money names and champions so the middle ground feels little neglected.

Charlo has collected the WBC, IBF and WBA titles in his last two fights, having suffered his first and only career defeat at the end of 2018.

Argentina ace Castano clinched the WBO crown last time out, in February, with a unanimous decision win over Patrick Teixeira.

The pressure is on Charlo to take the fight as Castano made his intentions clear after his win last month.

“Charlo, he’s a great fighter,” he said. “But I want this fight. I’m waiting for this fight, I’m ready. I’m waiting for the opportunity.”

Until a major star like Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr moves up from welterweight, there is not massive money to be made at 154lbs.

So Charlo and Castano should get their date agreed ASAP to anoint a supreme ruler of the division.

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