We put together our ultimate Queensberry v Matchroom fight card after it was confirmed that an agreement has been reached for Saudi Arabia to stage an historic cross-promotional five-versus-five fight night in Saudi Arabia this year.
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After a decade of hostility, British boxing’s Cold War has ended.
Turki Alalshikh and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund have deep pockets, and, as such, Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren are happy to work together with His Excellency footing the bill.
This is good news for fight fans, as chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment announced in mid-January that contracts have been signed meaning the promoters will soon pit their stables against each other on a five-fight card.
Given this news, it's the perfect time to play matchmaker, and look at five potential bouts that could feature on the bill...
Moses Itauma (7-0, 5 KOs) v Johnny Fisher (10-0, 9 KOs)
Let’s open the show with a battle of unbeaten, heavy-handed heavyweight prospects.
Moses Itauma had become an almost mythical figure amongst the fight fraternity as tales of him turning up to sparring sessions in his school uniform aged 15 to beat up experienced boxers spread.
After a short amateur career during which he did not suffer a single loss, the Chatam phenom turned professional last year. Seven fights, five knockouts and rave reviews have followed for the 18-year-old southpaw who proved to be every bit as exciting as the urban legends foretold.
Like Itauma, Fisher’s reputation was built on strong showings in sparring. Having boxed as a child, the Essex man gravitated towards rugby, but fell back in love with the sport while at university.
After contacting Joe Joyce’s manager, Sam Jones, Fisher gave a good account of himself against the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist. Jones was impressed enough to sign the youngster.
Fisher has been a destructive force in the early portion of his career. This one would be explosive.
Pierce O’Leary (13-0, 7 KOs) v Dalton Smith (15-0, 11 KOs)
Over the last 12 months, there has been a lot of hype surrounding Adam Azim, who many observers believe could be the most exciting young contender in the super-lightweight division, but these two would beg to differ.
Pierce O’Leary has lived up to his moniker as ‘The Big Bang’, scoring several highlight-reel knockouts. The Irishman is ready to step up in class and Dalton Smith would certainly fit the bill
In the recent past, ‘Thunder’ was receiving the praise and superlatives now reserved for Azim, but lacklustre performances against Kaisee Benjamin and Billy Alington saw his stock fall.
However, the British and Commonwealth 140lbs champion showed how dangerous he is at his best by stopping Sam Maxwell, back in July.
It could be that the better the opponent, the better the showing from the Sheffield fighter. O’Leary would put that theory to the test.
Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) v Fabio Wardley (17-0, 16 KOS)
Daniel Dubois silenced the critics who questioned his heart when he overcame the man-mountain that is Jarrell Miller in December.
Defeats to Joe Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk had observer’s questioning the intestinal fortitude of the 26-year-old, but he came through adversity to stop the American.
For all his flaws, ‘Dynamite’ is one of the biggest punchers in the division.
British champion, Fabio Wardley only turned to boxing after his football career came to a premature end, but has shown himself to be a natural.
After starting on the white-collar scene, the Ipswich man’s talent caught the eye of professional promoters.
His speed and athleticism have been too much for his opponents to date, but if he is to make it to world level, his chin will need to be checked; that is a service Dubois will gladly provide.
Anthony Yarde (24-3, 23 KOs) v Callum Smith (29-2, 21 KOs)
While both men have failed in world title tilts at light-heavyweight, the fight remains an appealing prospect.
Anthony Yarde has put up valiant displays in his two cracks at world-level, but fell short against Sergey Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev. There is no shame in losing to either. In defeat, the Londoner showed he belongs in that company.
Like Yarde, Smith too found the power and pressure of Beterbiev too much to handle.
However, the former super-middleweight titlist’s reach and knockout ability will pose a problem to all but the elite.
Who’s the best 175-pounder in Britain? Let’s find out in Saudi Arabia!
Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) v Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs)
The big one! The richest fight in sport.
The good news is that it appears likely this will happen in the next 12 months. First, Tyson Fury must take care of Oleksandr Usyk, which will be no mean feat; just ask Anthony Joshua.
AJ lost his WBA, WBO and IBF straps to the Ukrainian and was unable to recapture them in a rematch. Usyk is 5-0 in fights against Englishmen, but Fury will be confident he can defeat the unified champion to become undisputed heavyweight king.
Meanwhile, Joshua will have to take care of business against Francis Ngannou in March.
The former UFC heavyweight champion almost shocked the world when he dropped Fury during their clash in October. Many observers felt the MMA fighter had done enough to have his hand raised, but the judges disagreed.
If both Brits are successful, we could have a super-fight on our hands; and there would be no other bout more befitting of securing a position at the top of the fight card.