In less than two weeks’ time heavyweight boxing is coming to the O2 arena with arguably the two most promising young British heavyweights, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman, squaring off for the British Heavyweight Championship. The card dubbed “Heavy Duty” is packed with talent from top to bottom featuring young promising fighters and some more experienced all headed by Daniel Dubois against Nathan Gorman having it out in the squared circle. It’s exciting to see two undefeated stars on a non-PPV card, especially in an age where fights between big undefeated stars are somewhat of a rarity. In this post I’ll be running through the big fights on the card and how this is one of the best non-PPV cards of the year.
A good place to start is the main event which when it was announced got me very excited. After the British Boxing Board of Control ordered Dubois–Gorman last November my instant thought was whilst this was big news ultimately not to get too excited as it may come to nothing, something us boxing fans are unfortunately all too familiar with. Countless times have fights been ordered, I get excited and it eventually comes to nothing. Will I ever learn? Of course not, I’ll continue to get my hopes up for things I want only for it all to come crashing down, oh the joys of being a sports fan. However I’m glad that I’m wrong in the instance of Dubois–Gorman as it’s a fantastic fight. Nathan Gorman is a fast, skilful and intelligent fighter with a great ring iq. As well as this he’s a heavy hitter and fights out of the orthodox stance, a perfect all-rounder. Daniel Dubois also fights with an orthodox stance but is strong, heavy hitter with devastating knockout power. Although, in my opinion, Dubois has an underrated boxing skill that makes him dangerous for any fighter. Both have been the distance before but I doubt that either will want this one to go 12 rounds, a knockout win for either man would be a massive statement in their early careers. The winner will be seen in a whole new light with this being the biggest win of their careers so far, however it will be far from the end for the loser. Dubois is only 21 and Gorman is 23 meaning they have plenty of time to re-build coming off an early loss (also meaning both are only a few years older than I am and are headlining the O2 while I’m sat at home eating rice crispies while writing this, way to put things in a harsh perspective). I doubt this will be the last time both men fight with them being so young and talented. They’ll only get better with experience and age and will become bigger names in the heavyweight division as they improve, this would definitely be another huge fight in a few years’ time which no doubt in my mind people will want to see.
The co-feature bout sees another big heavyweight contest with undefeated silver medal Olympian Joe Joyce squaring off against former world title contender Bryant Jennings with his only losses coming against Wladimir Klitschko, Luis Ortiz and in his last outing against Oscar Rivas. Without shadow of a doubt this is the biggest test of Joyce’s career so far. Joyce already has impressive stoppage wins over Alexander Ustinov (former competitor for the WBA Regular Title against Manuel Charr) and former WBC Heavyweight Champion Bermane Stiverne (the first man to take current WBC champ Deontay Wilder 12 rounds). This fight is a great test for Joyce to see how far he can make it in the heavyweight division. Some say at 33 years old time isn’t necessarily on Joyce’s side (personally disagree but that’s another argument) however he has been making serious moves in the division in his young professional career. After the Bryant fight, Joyce would have fought two former world title challengers and a former world champion in only 10 fights. A win against Jennings would push Joyce to another level and with rumours in the past of a bout with Luis Ortiz, maybe a win against Jennings would be enough to get the Ortiz fight next. This is a great fight and an incredible co-feature bout for the card. Having a fight this size on the undercard makes the main event feel even bigger and a win for either man would be massive for them. As stated Jennings is a former world title contender but will Joyce’s ruthless style be too much for the American? Obviously I don’t have the answers as I can’t see into the future but nonetheless it will make for an interesting and entertaining fight.
The rest of the card is stacked with talent and great bouts, most notably are local hero Liam Williams, Sunny Edwards and Archie Sharp. British middleweight champion Liam Williams takes on French middleweight Karim Achour for the vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship. Williams comes into the fight off the back of two impressive knockout wins in his last two outings against Mark Heffron and Joe Mullender. A world title shot doesn’t seem too unlikely for Williams in the not so distant future and a win against Achour would definitely shoot him in the right direction for a huge world title bout. Elsewhere, Sunny Edwards looks to extend his 11-0 unbeaten record taking on Hiram Gallardo for the vacant IBF International Super Flyweight Title to add to his WBO European and International Super Flyweight championships. Sunny is one half of “the Croydon Klitschko’s” with his brother (and WBC Flyweight Champion) Charlie Edwards and in my opinion will follow him in one day becoming world champion. Sunny has bags of talent and potential definitely having what it takes to become Super Flyweight Champion of the world when his time comes. Also on the card Archie Sharp looks to defend his WBO European Super Featherweight Championship against Jordan McCorry. Sharp won the title against Lyon Woodstock last October in a war over 10 rounds. This should be an entertaining fight (like the rest on the card that I’ve mentioned) and should Sharp get through there are exciting domestic fights to be made against the likes of Sam Bowen and Zelfa Barrett.
Overall, the 13th of July will be an entertaining night of boxing and one of the non-PPV shows of the year. Having two big domestic names like Gorman and Dubois fighting each other at the O2 for the British Championship not only makes them bigger names but makes the British Championship feel more important which is good to see. A great main event on an already fantastic night of boxing makes Heavy Duty one to certainly look forward to.