2017 has already been a huge year for boxing with some huge clashes over the last nine months around the globe.
The action is not going to stop there though as the back end of the calendar year looks to be mouth-watering, allowing for some great betting opportunities. Here are the best bets for the next few months.
Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev – October 28
WBA and IBF heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua returns to action in Cardiff in his first fight since that thriller with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley back in May.
The British boxer showed great heart in that contest to pick himself up off the floor in what was his toughest test to date in his professional career.
Joshua’s team tried to set up a deal with Klitschko for a rematch in Las Vegas, however, the legend of the heavyweight division opted to retire so he is forced to face his mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev.
The Bulgarian is a solid boxer in this division and has wins over Dereck Chisora, Samuel Peter and Kevin Johnson.
When he faced Klitschko in 2014 though, he was outclassed and stopped in the fifth round. The same thing is likely to happen when he steps back up in class to face Joshua.
Joshua will be looking to end the year with another big performance as he will be trying to unify the heavyweight division in 2018 with fights likely against Joshua Parker and Deontay Wilder.
He should be able to stop Pulev inside the first six rounds. Joshua is 1/20 to win the bout and 1/6 to do so inside the distance.
The best bet though is to back Joshua to win in the third and fourth rounds which are both available at 7/1.
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Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz – November 5
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has not been very active over the last couple of years but he is back in the ring on November in what is arguably his toughest fight of his professional career.
The Bronze Bomber will face Luiz Ortiz, a man who has been avoided by many boxers in this division.
Wilder has an incredible record of 38-0, of which 37 of his wins have come by KO or TKO.
He landed his WBC world title back in January 2015 when he defeated Bermane Stiverne on points. Since then he has defended his belt on five occasions and has never looked in trouble against any of his opponents.
Ortiz has yet to taste defeat himself in his professional career so far. This is set to be his first fight of 2017 as his promoter has struggled to find an opponent who will agree to share the ring with him.
At the back end of last year he had wins over Malik Scott and David Allen. Scott went 12 rounds with The Real King Kong but was unable to see out the first round when he faced Wilder in 2015.
It is very difficult seeing this fight going the distance as they are both huge punchers who willbe looking for that KO punch.
Wilder is good value at 8/11 to win the fight and remain on course for a huge showdown with Joshua in 2018.
Liam Smith vs Liam Williams – November 11
Liam Smith and Liam Williams both played their part in a very entertaining contest earlier this year in Wales where Smith came out on top in the ninth round.
Williams started that fightthe better and dominated the early rounds. The Welshman then suffered a nasty cut midway through the bout though which was caused by a clash of heads.
The styles of the two men set this up for another thrilling fight in November where Williams is now the odds-on favourite with the bookmakers at 4/7, despite losing the first time around.
Although this is a difficult contest to call, Smith has been underestimated in the betting and at11/8, he is far too big to get the result again.
Smith is a former world champion and only had his belt taken away from him by Canelo Alvarez in Texas where he showed great heart to travel to Texas and take on one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet.
The former WBO title holder will have watched the tape from the first fight and will look to learn from where he went wrong in the early stages of the bout.
There is no question he was the stronger and fitter boxer heading into the final few rounds.
If he can keep it tight early, he should be able to dominate the next half of the fight again and get the decision from the judges’ scorecards in the rematch.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux – December 10
Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko is considered as many people’s pound-for-pound numberone boxer on the planet at the moment.
The WBO super-featherweight champion can make a huge step towards that mark if he can get past Guillermo Rigondeaux in December.
These two men are considered two of the great amateur boxers of their generation but now in the professional ranks, a victory for either man would see them propel their career.
Lomachenko has wasted no time since becoming professional as he has won world titles in two weight division despite only having 10 fights so far.
Like Floyd Mayweather, Rigondeaux probably does not get the credit he deserves from some boxing fans or television networks and the reason being is that his defence is so solid, he rarely gets hit.
That will be the challenge for Lomachenko who has just about every shot in the book.
Lomachenko is 1/4 to become the first man to defeat Rigondeaux in a professional fight, however, the Cuban is tough so you are probably wiser backing the WBO champion to win on points which is available at 4/7.
Tony Bellew v David Haye – December 16
Tony Bellew caused a huge upset earlier in 2017 when he defeated David Haye at the O2 Arena in London to gain his first victory in the heavyweight division.
Haye picked up an Achilles injury early into the fight and from that moment was just surviving. He did well to see out the 12 rounds as his balance was all over the place.
Haye has allowed his injury to heal and is now in training camp preparing for his rematch with Bellew.
The former heavyweight world champion is 1/3 to gain revenge, however, it is difficult to back the Hayemaker at those odds as we are unsure if his body is 100%.
There will be no question marks about Bellew’s fitness in December. He has been there and done it.
The victory will have given him a huge deal of confidence so he will go into the fightexpected to get the result again.
If Haye was in his prime, he’d probably stop Bellew within six rounds, however, that is no longer the case so the 11/4 available on the man from Liverpool is worth a small play.
Good luck on all the action over the next few months. Let’s hope they live up to their billing and 2017 ends as one of the best years in a long time in the sport.