31st July 2017 at 11:40 pm #114633adminKeymaster
World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua seems almost the only contender for this year’s BBC honour, but Ralph Ellis warns there’s still a long way to go before the voting begins…
“Laying Joshua at such short odds 1.66 right now looks a gamble worth taking because anything can happen between now and Christmas.”
The venue in Las Vegas, we are told, has been booked. Eddie Hearn has applied for his Nevada promoter’s licence and is sure to get it. Anthony Joshua is primed and ready to step up his training.
The date, venue and opponent for his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko is even listed on the highly respected BoxRec.com website, although it does have a big fat question mark next to it.
But there remains one ever so tiny detail missing in the jigsaw of setting up the next fight for Joshua and that’s to get Klitschko himself to sign on the dotted line.
You’d have thought it would be the simple bit. When he fought and lost that epic battle at Wembley Stadium in April he had a clause in the contract guaranteeing him a rematch. But it appears not so.
The Klitschko camp made it clear they didn’t want another bout in the UK. That’s why, despite offers from Nigeria and other exotic venues, Vegas became the preferred destination.
At the end of last week both Joshua and Hearn released tantalising comments on social media suggesting an announcement about the fight was only a few hours away. Hours have turned already into days, and you worry that they will soon add up to a week or more.
So despite Klitschko being the 1.02 favourite in Betfair’s specials market for Joshua’s next opponent, there remains no guarantee it will happen.
At 41 there are question marks about whether Klitschko actually wants to fight again. What would a third defeat in a row do to his carefully created legend?
We know he’s still training, because Gerald Washington spoke in glowing terms about working alongside him while preparing for his clash with Jarrell Miller on Saturday night (he got stopped in the sixth round).
But we also know he’s been in happy holiday mode, posting pictures of himself on a bike ride with his brother while they went sightseeing in the Carpathian Mountains, and kite surfing in Ukraine.
All of this has huge implications not just for Joshua, but for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting, always one of Betfair’s most popular markets.
At the moment the 27-year-old from Watford, with the inspiring story about how he turned his life around through sport, is runaway 1.66 favourite to be this year’s SPOTY winner.
He’s so clear in front that Jermain Defoe, next in the betting thanks to his beautiful support of Bradley Lowery, is as long as 21.00. Chris Froome might have won the Tour de France for an astonishing fourth time, but you can back him at 25.00. There’s even a Winner without Joshua market.
But what if the Klitschko rematch doesn’t happen? What if instead Joshua ends up being forced to meet the mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev (who?) in Cardiff in October? How much would that register with the great British public?
Joshua, let’s not forget, won his first world title in 2016 and defended it twice, but didn’t even make it on to last year’s 12 strong shortlist.
And while stopping Klitschko in the 11th round after being dumped on his backside in the sixth was epic, will it really register in December if he hasn’t followed it up with another genuine mega fight?
On that basis laying Joshua at such short odds right now looks a gamble worth taking because anything can happen between now and Christmas. And even though Las Vegas is all booked up, there’s still no guarantee that the fight will go on.
10th August 2017 at 2:40 pm #115441mullzParticipant
Can’t see past Jermaine Defoe for this (10/1 sky bet just now to win, 21/5 betfair for top 3) his support and friendship with Bradley Lowery showed a side to football that doesn’t often make the media. Surely the idea of this award is about the personality of the sportsman/woman and not just there accolades as in the case of Joshua.
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