Deontay Wilder’s win over Bermane Stiverne to lift the WBC heavyweight title on the birthday of the greatest ever, Muhammad Ali, ushered in an exciting new era for boxing this week.
Boxing relies on a thriving heavyweight division, and Wilder’s impressive shut-out win against the seemingly undestructable Stiverne opened up the potential for some mega-money, exciting showdowns in the sport’s glamour division in 2015 and beyond.
The fact that America has its first heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs briefly held the title in 2007 is huge for the sport.
Saturday’s bout was the first heavyweight title fight at the prestigious MGM Grand in Las Vegas since Mike Tyson famously bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear back in 1997.
I now expect more and more heavywight bouts to return to the top of big bills after a period of total and utter domination from Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
The US getting a new pin-up boy at the top of the heavyweight division comes at a great time with Wladimir’s first fight in the country for seven years being announced just days after.
Wladimir, 38, takes on unbeaten American hope Bryant Jennings in New York on April 25, which is a significant move for the sport.
Wilder is likely to face motormouth Tyson Fury next before the winner takes on Wladimir to possibly unify the division, and add in exciting prospects Anthony Joshua, Hughie Fury and New Zealand’s 12-0 Joseph Parker and there are some intruiging scraps in the making.
Yes, the age-old problem in boxing of the promoters protecting their own interests and the records of their fighters rather than making the fights the fans want to see could come in the way, along with the rival TV networks squabbling.
But I genuinely see the hunger in Wilder, Joshua and Fury to make the big fights.
Factor in the potential re-emergence of Liverpool’s David Price and you have one hell of a division.
Having seen Price’s power first-hand when covering the brief career of Danny Price, it would be foolish to totally rule him out of the reckoning, despite his two defeats to Tony Thompson.
He has called Joshua out this week, and while I’d back Joshua (left) to win that fight by KO, it would be exciting while it it lasted.
I took a bit of a hammering on Twitter this week when I said I thought Joshua is already the second best heavyweight in the world.
Some points were fair enough, others just ridiculous. But that’s the beauty of sport, it’s mostly a matter of opinion.
For me, Joshua is that good that the only person who would trouble him would be Wilder. Even then, if I had to back one of them it would be Joshua.
The next couple of years, fingers crossed, should be exciting in the heavyweight division.
We should go from Wladimir dominating every single opponent to some genuinely exciting, 50-50 scraps.
Should David Haye make his long-anticipated return to the ring, things should get even more exciting. Rumours are rife Haye and Wilder had some thrilling sparring sessions, just imagine if those two got it on with smaller gloves and no headguards?
You could get to the stage where a Super Six style format could work, as it did with the super middleweights a couple of years ago.
Klitschko, Wilder, Joshua, Fury, Haye and Price in a tournament style format would be scintillating, and I know a few of those fights would be PPV-worthy.
It’s very doubtful that would happen due to the huge amounts Klitschko commands fighting in Germany and the fact he’ll probably retire this year, but wouldn’t it be great?
Tweet me your thoughts at @mrdanielgregory