It’s been a long time since the US had the best heavyweight in the world, more than a generation now. Even falling short of being the best of his time, there’s no denying Deontay Wilder has been a spark for his era, providing the thrill of wondering what will happen when his right hand lands.
The world will ask that question again for the first time since Wilder’s dramatic third bout with Tyson Fury as the former WBC titlist makes his return:
10/15: Hvy - TBRB #3 Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KO) vs. Robert Helenius (31-3, 20 KO)
Helenius has been stopped twice but is on a roll with three straight wins. Can Helenius do something dramatic before Wilder unleashes? It’s a pay-per-view show and fans will decide how much they really want to find out. It’s one of several quality non-title (or interim title…same thing really) matches dotted throughout the month that include the co-feature to Wilder-Helenius and a family grudge match between the sons of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank:
10/8: 154 - #6 (160) Chris Eubank Jr. (32-2, 23 KO) vs. #10 (147) Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KO)
10/15: 168 - #2 Caleb Plant (21-1, 12 KO) vs. Anthony Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KO)
Grudge Matches in Greenwich (Redux)
The death of Queen Elizabeth backed this tremendous card to October. The thoughts on it haven’t changed so here’s (with minor modifications) what was written in the September preview:
In a year that already gave us Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano, no women’s card this month will be bigger than what’s going down in the UK at the O2 Arena:
10/15: 160 - Claressa Shields (12-0, 2 KO, Lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF) vs. Savannah Marshall (12-0, 10 KO, WBO)
10/15: 130 - Mikaela Mayer (17-0, 5 KO, IBF/WBO) vs. Alycia Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KO, WBC)
Shields lost only one fight as an amateur on the way to a pair of Olympic Gold medals. That woman is Marshall and the trash talk has been pretty good. Talent rosters can be thin past welterweight but Shields hasn’t shied away from anyone and Marshall’s competition has picked up decidedly in her last few fights. Can Shields outbox Marshall or will the bigger puncher, with the home advantage, prevail?
Don’t be surprised if another fight on the card steals the show. The chatter has been just as wicked for the Mayer-Baumgardner unification clash. It’s the biggest fight to date for either combatant and the styles could mesh for a really fan friendly affair.
Lightweight Table Setting
Top Rank has moved the pieces into place for a tremendous 2023 at lightweight if they can get the big fights made. Shakur Stevenson is going to be a factor sooner than later. Sooner than that, don’t be surprised if we get a long simmering rivalry paid off. Vasyl Lomachenko was named a WBC ‘franchise’ rather than taking a mandatory with Devin Haney. Now Haney reigns as the king of the lightweights and Lomachenko is ready to challenge. Each has business to take care of now, with Haney taking an obligatory rematch and Lomachenko making his first start of the year since returning from conflict in the Ukraine:
10/15: 135 - World Champion Devin Haney (28-0, 15 KO, WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO) vs. #1 George Kambosos (20-1, 10 KO)
10/29: 135 - #2 Vasyl Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KO) vs. #9 Jamaine Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KO)
Additional Title Fights in September
10/08: 115 - #4 Fernando Martinez (14-0, 8 KO, IBF) vs. #8 Jerwin Ancajas (33-2-2, 22 KO)
10/01: 115 - Lourdes Juarez (34-2, 4 KO, WBC) vs. Ashley Macias (14-2, 7 KO, WBC)
10/15: 122 - Cherneka Johnson (14-1, 6 KO, IBF) vs. Susie Ramadan (29-3, 12 KO)
10/15: 122 - Yamileth Mercado (19-3, 5 KO, WBC) vs. Mariana Juarez (55-11-4, 19 KO)
10/29: 135 - World Champion Katie Taylor (21-0, 6 KO, WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO) vs. Karen Carbajal (19-0, 2 KO)
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.