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Looking Forward to the Biggest Bouts This Summer

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The boxing world is still recovering from the stunning result in Madison Square Garden on June 1, where Andy Ruiz Jr defeated strong favorite Anthony Joshua in a seventh-round stoppage. Joshua yielded his WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles in an uncharacteristically timid display, producing the kind of result that makes the entire sporting world sit up and take notice.

Ruiz Jr’s performance shows how sport can produce magical moments out of nowhere, with the bout expected to be a routine win for Joshua. While the coming months will surely be unable to boast a story of that magnitude, there are several intriguing matchups for boxing fans to enjoy in July.

July 20, Las Vegas

Title fight: Keith Thurman vs Manny Pacquiao – 12 rounds – for Thurman’s WBA welterweight title

Title fight: Caleb Plant vs Mike Lee – 12 rounds – for Plant’s IBF super middleweight title

Pacquiao remains one of the most famous names in world boxing, but it is Thurman who will head to Las Vegas in a position of strength from which to defend his WBA welterweight title. Pacquiao has headed to many major boxing tournaments in the past as a strong betting favorite, but markets for this fight fancy Thurman to fend off Pacquiao’s challenge. Yet the Filipino boxer is one of the most decorated in history, so the romantic boxing fan will be hoping that the 40-year-old Pacquiao can go out in style. Even if he can’t find a winning blow, there could be value in backing Pacquiao to defy his age and go the distance.

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Source: Pixabay.

Another bout on the card in Las Vegas is Mike Lee’s shot at claiming Caleb Plant’s IBF super middleweight title. This will be Plant’s first defense of the title that he won from Jose Uzcategui in January. Lee only fought once in 2018 and has one 2019 bout to his name, so he will head to Las Vegas as something of an unknown quantity. On paper, Plant should enjoy a solid defense before tougher tests ahead. But, as Ruiz Jr showed, anything can happen in the ring.

July 20, London

Dillian Whyte vs Oscar Rivas – 12 rounds – WBC heavyweight eliminator

July 20 is a big day for boxing fans, with Whyte and Rivas going toe to toe in a heavyweight eliminator on the other side of the Atlantic. Fans were hoping that Whyte would be taking on Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title, but he will first have to contend with the undefeated Rivas. A win for Whyte will surely make a Wilder match inevitable, but he will not be able to afford complacency against a Colombian who will pose a genuine threat.

Rivas has powered his way to 18 knockouts in 26 victories, making him something of a lively underdog. While Whyte may have appeared on a course to meet Wilder, Rivas will be looking to upset the applecart to get his own shot at the world title. With so much stake, this promises to be a gripping heavyweight clash.

July 27, Arlington

Title fight: Maurice Hooker vs Jose Ramirez – 12 rounds – WBO/WBC junior welterweight unification

Title fight: Tevin Farmer vs Guillaume Frenois – 12 rounds – for Farmer’s IBF junior lightweight title

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Source: Pixabay.

The card in Arlington, Texas will give boxing fans the chance to watch some of the sport’s up-and-coming names in action. Hooker and Ramirez have spoken of the ease at which this fight came together, a distinct change from some higher-profile bouts. With the WBO champ taking on the WBC equivalent, the winner will be set on a path to meet the victor from the WBA/IBT unification bout. The man left standing from those fights will stand as an undisputed light welterweight champ.

Farmer will also take on Frenois in a mandatory defense of his IBF junior lightweight title. Having successfully retained his title in three bouts, Farmer will be expected to come out on top against a boxer like Frenois who has spent most of his career fighting in his native France. Nevertheless, it could be a useful stepping stone for Farmer to gain the higher-profile bouts that his career has been waiting for.

The boxing excitement promises to continue throughout the summer, with New York set to welcome Marcus Browne on August 3 for his WBA interim light heavyweight title defense.

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