It’s been a strange year yet 2020 continues to surprise. On Tuesday, Frank Warren made an unlikely proposal, challenging Eddie Hearn to put egos and promotional posturing to one side and pit the best of Queensberry Promotions against the cream of Matchroom Boxing.
Incredibly, the arch-rivals had never spoken previously, other than passing each other once on a West End street, but a day later they had talked on the phone and agreed to meet up in what could prove a significant moment for British boxing.
Two geezers arranging a get-together is not normally considered groundbreaking, even in these times of social distancing, but it does provide a glimmer of light that maybe, just maybe, we might edge towards the best meeting the best on these shores without promotional static.
Warren’s initial challenge was accompanied by a mock-up poster entitled, ‘Who wants it?’ featuring four ‘fantasy fights’ between leading Matchroom and Queensberry fighters, begging the question – who would win those match-ups?
We asked the Boxing Social judges to give their definitive verdict. In the words of Frank Warren, “Do me a favour!” – and read this piece.
Daniel Dubois (Queensberry) vs Dillian Whyte (Matchroom), heavyweight.
Mark Butcher: “I think Dubois could look spectacular in this fight. Whyte has squeezed every last drop out of his talent to become an unlikely pay-per-view star, but he’s had more wars than the Middle East. Maybe his best days are behind him. A razor sharp Dubois by KO.”
John A. MacDonald: “Whyte is a good fighter, but he’s been in so many gruelling fights that he’s in danger of being past his prime before he ever gets a world title shot. Dubois could be all wrong for Whyte. If the likes of Robert Helenius were able to catch Whyte with flush right hands, I have no doubt Dubois will be able to as well. Dubois KO.”
Craig Scott: “I think we’ve watched Dillian Whyte wobbling about the ring often enough to know that he’s vulnerable. The Brixton man’s done extremely well for himself, carving out big paydays and guaranteeing entertainment. But Daniel Dubois is a solid, skilled fighter. He doesn’t take many chances – and he hits like a freight train. Dubois by TKO4-6.”
Luke G. Williams: “I would fancy Dubois to do a number on Whyte, whose run of tough fights I think make him vulnerable against someone as young, fresh and hungry as Dubois.”
Shane Dyer: “I think Joyce is a more difficult opponent for Dubois than Dillian Whyte. I believe Dubois is the real deal. He’s huge, he’s powerful and the youngster continues to get bigger, stronger and smarter in each fight. Whyte has proved on occasions he can be wobbled. Dubois doesn’t wobble opponents, he flattens them.”
Anthony Yarde (Queensberry) vs Joshua Buatsi (Matchroom), light- heavyweight.
Mark Butcher: “Buatsi has a very high ceiling as a fighter. My only doubt has been those nagging hand injuries, but with a clean bill of health he’s a near lock to become a strong world champion. His extensive amateur pedigree and schooling could prove the difference against the heavy-handed but relatively untested Yarde. Kudos to Yarde for facing Kovalev in Russia, but Kovalev was on the slide and not the monster of old. Buatsi late stoppage.”
John A. MacDonald: “Buatsi is one of the best prospects in the division. There aren’t many fighters I would pick to beat him, even just now. Buatsi is the better schooled fighter and I believe he’d stop Yarde late in the fight. Buatsi KO.”
Craig Scott: “I’ve always fancied Joshua Buatsi over Anthony Yarde, and not much has changed. Yes, Yarde was brave in Russia and he had his moment(s), but those brief spells of success aren’t enough. They weren’t enough against a tired Kovalev, they wouldn’t be enough for a special fighter like Buatsi. I’m not sure if the Olympian has the power to stop Yarde, but I’d pick him 9 times out of 10. Buatsi, via wide UD.”
Luke G. Williams: “Buatsi would probably have too many tricks in his locker for Yarde, who has great power and a massive heart. So I would take Buatsi to win on points or via late stoppage.”
Shane Dyer: “I love the thought of Buatsi vs Yarde, a classic tale of boxer vs puncher. Nine out of ten times, the boxer wins; and that is how it will be in this match-up. After some close rounds early on, Buatsi’s elite amateur pedigree will guide him to a comfortable points victory.”
Joe Joyce (Queensberry) vs Dereck Chisora (Matchroom), heavyweight.
Mark Butcher: “This could be a long, hard night for Del Boy. He needs the kind of equaliser that shocked Carlos Takam or a fatigued Joyce to unravel in the later rounds. I don’t see either happening. Joyce’s defence may not be water-tight but he brings relentless waves of pressure and brutal, thudding blows. Juggernaut by name and nature, Joyce stops Chisora late.”
John A. MacDonald: “Chisora looked in trouble at times when put under pressure by Carlos Takam – despite the fact he won by spectacular knockout. Joyce will not give Chisora a moment’s respite and I believe the Olympian’s thudding power will stop Chisora about halfway. Joyce KO.”
Craig Scott: “This was the hardest of the bunch for me, I think. Chisora blows hot and cold, but when he fancies it, he can really hang with the best of them. Joyce’s athleticism and strength is often overlooked, probably due to his thudding, slower punches. But I fancy him to wear an aged Chisora down in the final third.Joyce via KO10-R12.”
Luke G. Williams: “Joyce-Chisora would be a cracker. Depends a bit on how motivated Del Boy is but I’d probably take Joyce to wear him down and take him out late.”
Shane Dyer: “Joyce’s relentless punching and freakishly good engine for a man of his size would be completely wrong for Chisora at this stage of his career. A comfortably wide lead for Joyce will the break the heart of Chisora, leading to a stoppage victory for Joyce in rounds 9-11.”
Liam Williams (Queensberry) vs Demetrius Andrade (Matchroom)
Mark Butcher: “This fight would be a case of right time, right place for Williams and should be mandated by the WBO anyway with the Welshman the No.1 contender for Andrade’s world 160lbs title. American Andrade is a fading force and appears ripe for the taking. He tried desperately to impress against Luke Keeler, but lacked sparkle. He’s waited around far too long for a defining fight. A more hurtful puncher, Williams has been rejuvenated under trainer Dominic Ingle and can match Andrade technically. My only concern would be Williams’ hot head erupting. Otherwise, Williams wins on the cards.”
John A. MacDonald: “Andrade has every attribute to be an excellent fighter, but whole often looks less than the sum of its parts. I think Williams’ aggression and pressure could be enough to get the verdict on the scorecards. Williams points.”
Craig Scott: “Andrade has looked very comfortable when defending his belts, but he’s rarely displayed the hunger or aggression that excites fans. I think the Welshman could win with constant pressure/higher output.Williams, via contentious MD.”
Luke G. Williams: “The technically skilled American would have too many ring smarts for Williams. Andrade points.”
Shane Dyer: “Andrade has proved he is a very slick operator and is worthy of his world crown, but his unwillingness to go for the stoppage victory has been his downfall towards being amongst the big names within the sport. Williams could just be the competitive opponent Andrade needs for him to show he’s able to bite down on his gumshield and slug it out with an opponent when needed to. Andrade to edge victory in an entertaining encounter.”
FINAL SCORE: QUEENSBERRY 13 MATCHROOM 7