WBC No1 contender Dillian Whyte faces potentially his toughest opponent to date in transplanted Columbian Oscar Rivas at London's O2 Arena on July 20th. Rivas comes into the fight with plenty to gain and nothing to lose compared to Whyte who would go from being the leading contender for Deontay Wilders WBC title to the back of the cue if he loses.
This would be a great main event on any card held this year, but add Dereck Chisora's bout with Poland's Artur Szpitka and you have two very appetising heavyweight fights that a worldwide audience would look forward to.
Price vs Allen
In the UK, the David Allen vs David Price scrap will just add an extra layer to the card because it is one of those domestic level fights that everyone will have an opinion on. The worldwide audience may just find the fight an interesting spectacle as well, the 6ft 8In Price, a former Olympian and British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion who was at one time looked upon as the heir apparent to the heavyweight throne until catastrophic failures against old war-horse Tony Thompson burst his bubble, gets a chance to extend his already fragile professional career.
The 35-year-old Price is hanging on by his fingernails to a career that is nearing its final act. In the 27-year-old Allen, he faces a young and small, by today's standards, heavyweight who has played the part of the clown jester right up until his recent win over former WBA regular world heavyweight champion Lucus "Big Daddy" Browne. For that fight, he prepared under the guidance of former IBF middleweight world champion Darren Barker.
Allen has always shown cameos of his abilities but his struggles with mental health issues and gambling addiction have turned him into a man that needed to be loved by boxing fans, thus he felt the need to play the clown. It appears that Barker has instilled some much-needed self-respect and confidence to a very tough and talented heavyweight. Watch the left hook to the body that finished of Lucas Browne and it is obvious that Allen can learn and box to instructions. Something that many trainers will tell you is not always as simple as it sounds.
They say the last thing a fighter loses is his punch, and David Price is a big puncher. Can he land the sort of punches that would knockout Dave Allen? Probably not at this stage, and I think a lot of that is due to Darren Barker's influence, also Allen has a very good chin. All of these factors make for an interesting domestic heavyweight dust-up.
Chisora vs Szpilka
For Dereck Chisora, there cannot be too many more opportunities to get that second crack at a world title. The losses to headliner Dillian Whyte do not appear to have hurt his standing with the fans. He was deemed to have been ahead on points at the time of the stoppage in the second fight, and more than a few fans believe he deserved the nod in the first fight.
His last fight, a 10 round points win over Senad Gashi will have done nothing rankings wise, but he at least he got the opportunity to blow off a few cobwebs and maybe a few nagging doubts following being cleanly knocked out by Whyte.
In Szpilka he faces a former world title challenger who gave a very good account of himself in champion Deontay Wilder's 3rd defence of his WBC title in January 2016, until he was caught with a devastating right hand in the 9th round that left him unconscious on the canvas.
Szpilka's only loss going into the Wilder fight was a 10th round stoppage to Bryant Jennings, who interestingly comes to England to face unbeaten Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce at the O2 Arena on the undercard to Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman on the 13th July.
18-months after the Wilder loss, Szpilka lost to Adam Kownacki on a 4th round Tko, before scoring wins over Dominick Guinn and fellow countryman Mariusz Wach. The 30-year-old from Wieliczka hasn't shown the same desire or will to win when matched tough, since the Wilder loss.
Szpilka boxes behind the jab from his southpaw stance, he is pretty good at it, but Chisora, who now takes his preparations a little more seriously than in the past, should have enough in the tank to cut the ring down and trap his foe. Szpilka, like many southpaws, can be susceptible to the right hand, and it's hard to forget that Chisora demolished Carlos Takam with a couple of thunderous right-hands just 3 fights ago.
Whyte vs Rivas
The boxing world is beginning to get behind Dillian Whyte. He is always in good fights, but his treatment by the WBC has given a downtrodden warrior aspect to his persona. He should have by now, been given a date to fight Deontay Wilder for the title, but here he is taking on the unbeaten Oscar Rivas in what looks like a very tough fight. The fact that he is willing to fight as many times as necessary until he forces the governing body into making a title challenge a reality has endeared him to the fans.
There have already been some very big nights in heavyweight boxing this year, none more so than Andy Ruiz Jr's sensational defeat of Anthony Joshua. It will be difficult to top that, but Whyte vs Chisora I and II were both on the border of being sensational fights. We won't know what Rivas actually brings until July 20th, and neither will Whyte, let's hope that its the same intense educated pressure that Chisora provided, then we have another Dillian Whyte classic on our hands.
Matchroom Boxing certainly has put together a great show for 20th July.