By Jake Donovan
There is no shortage of boxing action to be found in the month of May, but a positive trend for the sport is the heavyweight division being mentioned for all of the right reasons.
Unbeaten heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua just announced a blockbuster deal with American cable giant Showtime on Wednesday, although his first fight under said agreement doesn’t actually take place until June 25.
Should Joshua run the tables for what lies ahead, eventually on his hit list will be the winner of the upcoming clash between Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora. Their scheduled 12-round semifinal eliminator contest takes place this Saturday, live from Hamburg, Germany.
Stateside boxing fans who normally search high and low for “alternate” means of catching overseas action can take comfort in enjoying the bout from the comfort of the living room couch.
American regional cable outlet A Wealth of Entertainment (AWE TV) has secured U.S. rights to air the bout live, as it is now part of a split site doubleheader. Pulev vs. Chisora will precede the lightweight title consolidation fight between Anthony Crolla and Ismael Barroso, which airs live from Manchester, England.
The broadcast will begin at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT.
"We are ecstatic to add this important heavyweight fight to our world title broadcast,” said AWE President, Charles Herring. “The winner of this fight will be at the head of the line to get their second world title opportunity and these are big heavyweights, so we expect an explosive fight.”
Pulev (22-1, 12KOs) carries a modest two-fight win streak into the ring following his lone loss, which also came in his first crack at a world title. The 2008 Olympic boxer from Bulgaria endured a long road to title contention, only to come up well short in a 5th round knockout of then-World champion Wladimir Klitschko in Nov. ’14.
Chisora (25-5, 17KOs) has endured several ups and downs in his wild career. A three-fight losing streak featured the brash Brit at his best, worst and bat-sh*t craziest. Few outside two of the three judges thought he deserved the split decision loss he was handed against Robert Helenius, a fight viewed as the worst robbery of 2011.
In the wonderful world of boxing karma, it led to his receiving a crack at then-heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko. Chisora didn’t exactly express gratitude over the opportunity, slapping the elder Klitschko across the face during a staredown following their official weigh-in and then landing squarely in the middle of a post-fight riot in coming to blows with domestic rival David Haye, against whom he would suffer a one-sided 5th round knockout loss in July ’12.
Ten wins from 11 fights have since followed, the lone loss coming in a rematch with Tyson Fury, who scored a 10th round stoppage in Nov. ’14 before going on to become World heavyweight champion. Chisora’s five-fight win streak was snapped, but has managed to rack up five more victories as he fights in hostile territory.
Pulev proudly represents his Bulgaria roots, but the majority of his career has taken place in Germany. The 35-year old comes in with plenty to prove, but is also the recognized betting favorite to move within one more fight of a second world title fight.
Pulev vs. Chisora is part of a loaded May of heavyweight action that also includes: Deontay Wilder in a title defense versus mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, live from Moscow, Russia; and Joseph Parker welcoming Carlos Takam to New Zealand for their final title eliminator, with the winner to earn a crack at the title currently in Joshua’s possession.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2