January: traditionally a month when you discover your weight went up, your bank balance has gone down and the weather, most places, can only be described as grim. In addition, the first month of the year is a quiet one for boxing fans. Rarely is there something to count down the days to, or a fight that could reignite America’s interest in the heavyweight division. High voltage fistic action traditionally becomes as rare as rubies in the barren month of Janus.
But happily, while that may have been the case for 2014, 2015 promises the opposite. Here’s what we have to look forward to in the coming weeks:
New York: Friday, Jan 9 – Tureano Johnson v Alex Theran for the WBC Continental Americas middleweight title and vacant International middleweight title.
After Johnson’s efforts in a FOTY candidate against Curtis Stevens last year, we all want to see more of the 30-year-old from the Bahamas. I wouldn’t expect Theran to see the second half of this one.
California: Friday, Jan 9 – Darleys Perez v Jonathan Maicelo for the WBA Interim Lightweight title.
Interim, WBA… sick of it yet? We’re only nine days into 2015 by this point. Perez may not make a dent on the big hitters at 135 any time soon but word round the campfire is a win here will see him travel far, far out of America in the first defence of his ‘title’.
Tijuana: Saturday, Jan 10 – Javier Mendoza v Mauricio Fuentes for the IBF World light flyweight title.
The little men of the sport shone brightly in 2014; will this fight be another under-the-radar classic?
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France: Saturday, Jan 17 – Hadillah Mohoumadi v Mariano Hilario for the vacant European super middleweight title.
A belt vacated by George Groves as he looks to face WBC champion Anthony Dirrell before the spring. A win for either Mohoumadi or Hilario could lead to a defence in the UK against someone like Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding or Frank Buglioni.
Tokyo: Saturday, Jan 17 – Jomthong Chuwatana v Daiki Kaneko for the OPBF super featherweight title.
My knowledge of Asian boxing perhaps isn’t what it should be but those more in the know than myself have told me this is “a real contender v contender match-up” and one to look forward to. Further intrigue to this one because Chuwatana happens to be a Muay Thai fighter in his spare time!
London: Saturday, Jan 17 – Miles Shinkwin v Richard Horton for the Southern Area light heavyweight title.
A small hall show from Frank Warren that sees prospects-a-plenty in action such as Shinkwin, Tom Baker, Gary Corcoran, Kirk Garvey, Louis Adolphe and Romeo Romaeo, a fighter yet to be taken seriously.
Las Vegas: Saturday, Jan 17 – Bermane Stiverne v Deontay Wilder for the WBC World heavyweight title.
An all-American world heavyweight title fight?! Hallelujah! It just doesn’t feel right without someone in North America having a major part to play in what was once the most glamourous division of them all. The undercard features Leo Santa Cruz defending his WBC World super bantamweight title against ….. hold on …. it says his name is Jesus Ruiz?! What the f…? What happened, Leo?
Lombardia, Italy: Saturday, Jan 24 – Emiliano Marsili v Antonio De Vitis for the European lightweight title.
Marsili is well known to British fans after his destructive win over Derry Mathews a few years ago. The British lightweight contingent of Luke Campbell, Scotty Cardle, Stephen Ormond and Tommy Coyle will have one eye on the winner.
Colorado: Saturday, Jan 24 – Mike Alvarado v Brandon Rios for …… bragging rights to be honest.
The rubber match in what has been an entertaining two-fight series so far. Alvarado’s been a naughty boy though having been arrested on gun charges. His mugshot says work needs done on his weight! The fight though is still on. Super middleweight prospect Gilberto Ramirez (world title shot in 2015?) is chief support against Maxim Vlasov.
Texas: Monday, Jan 26 – Rocky Juarez v Robinson Castellanos for the WBC Silver featherweight title.
London: Saturday, Jan 31 – Anthony Joshua v Kevin Johnson for the WBC International heavyweight title.
I love all these titles, honestly I do.
So is this the test for the Great British heavyweight hope that we are all keen to see? It might not be in the ring but it probably will be during fight week. Joshua has a past, Johnson has a mouth. Be ready for hyperbole to go into overdrive should Joshua stop him. Yeah, Nick Halling, I’m talking about you.
A potentially eventful undercard sees the under-achieving Kevin Mitchell against Daniel Estrada in effectively a WBC world title eliminator. Seriously, if Mitchell loses this fight I don’t know where he goes. Reality TV perhaps? Middleweight prospect John Ryder continues his climb up the ladder against Les Sherrington.
Wasn’t expecting to get over 700 words from January.
I want double from February!
— Shaun Brown