Terence Crawford, Deontay Wilder Star in 10 Fights to Watch in the Month of JulyJuly 1, 2016
Terence Crawford, Deontay Wilder Star in 10 Fights to Watch in the Month of July
Did you know the month of July was named after Julius Caesar, the man behind the rise of the Roman Empire? No, neither did I.
The Romans were never afraid of getting involved in a battle during their reign. Neither are some of the boxers who will be in action in the near future (that's about as tenuous a link as you'll ever read).
July is a particularly big month for the light heavyweights. Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson are both in action, just sadly not against each other.
Terence Crawford takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Viktor Postol in the United States, while Deontay Wilder defends his world title against replacement opponent Chris Arreola.
Sadly, though, the rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko has bitten the dust—for now at least.
Still, Bleacher Report has picked out 10 interesting fights that are scheduled to take place in July.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Isaac Chilemba
When: July 11
Where: DIVS Palace of Sports, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Russian Sergey Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) heads back to his roots to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight titles against Isaac Chilemba.
Krusher has not fought in his homeland since December 2011. On that occasion, he stopped Roman Simakov to become the WBC Asian Boxing Council champion.
Now he's back as a multi-world champion to face Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs), a tough but limited fighter who was last seen losing to Eleider Alvarez.
How confident is Kovalev? Well, he's already booked to defend his belts again before the end of the year.
In November, the 33-year-old is scheduled to face American Andre Ward in a far more appetising contest.
Arthur Abraham vs. Tim Robin Lihaug
When: July 16
Where: Max Schmeling Halle, Berlin, Germany
After losing to Gilberto Ramirez in the United States last time out, Arthur Abraham is back on German soil to fight Tim Robin Lihaug (15-1, 8 KOs).
Ramirez ended King Arthur's reign as WBO super middleweight champion, earning a landslide points win in their meeting in December 2015.
However, Abraham (44-5, 29 KOs) is not done with boxing just yet.
He is aiming to win the WBO's vacant International belt against Lihaug, which suggests he's angling for a crack at regaining his old title somewhere down the line.
"I'm not ready to say goodbye to the sport I love so much," the 36-year-old said, per Isaac Robinson of SkySports.com.
Liam Williams vs. Gary Corcoran
When: July 16
Where: Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff, Wales
Liam Williams and Gary Corcoran are so keen to fight that they nearly came to blows at the press conference to announce their July 16 bout.
The head-to-head photo opportunity threatened to turn ugly, but it has only helped increase the interest in a battle between two promising super welterweights.
The Welshman Williams (14-0-1, 9 KOs) is the reigning British and Commonwealth champion who will have home advantage in Cardiff.
Corcoran, meanwhile, won the WBO intercontinental super welterweight title in March, although that belt will not be up for grabs in the Welsh capital.
The Londoner has a 15-0 (6 KOs) record as a pro.
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. James Dickens
When: July 16
Where: Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff, Wales
Will Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) actually make it to Britain this time?
The Cuban-born, American-based super bantamweight had been set to fight James "Jazza" Dickens in his opponent's home city of Liverpool, England, back in March.
However, The Jackal was held up by visa issues that saw him depart Moscow and head to Miami.
This time he has sorted the paperwork in time—and there will also be a world title on the line, too.
Rigondeaux had the WBA Super title returned to him by the governing body. Carl Frampton briefly held it, but he opted to move up to featherweight to face Leo Santa Cruz (more on that to come).
Dickens (22-1, 7 KOs), meanwhile, finally gets the opportunity of a lifetime, but now he has to travel to Wales to face the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Chris Arreola vs. Deontay Wilder
When: July 16
Where: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama
Deontay Wilder had been due to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Alexander Povetkin on May 21.
However, the Russian challenger tested positive for meldonium, the same drug that led to tennis player Maria Sharapova receiving a two-year ban from the WTA Tour.
So the unbeaten Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) had to look for someone else to face instead.
Enter Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs), a veteran American who previously failed in attempts to win the WBC belt in 2009 (against Vitali Klitschko) and 2014 (against Bermane Stiverne).
Wilder, though, already has his eyes on bigger fights.
After watching Englishman Anthony Joshua defeat Dominic Breazeale to retain his IBF title on Saturday, The Bronze Bomber tweeted: "[Joshua promoter] Eddie Hearn said sooner than later so let's make sooner "NOW"!!!!!"
Shingo Wake vs. Jonathan Guzman
When: July 20
Where: EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12 KOs) and Jonathan Guzman (21-0, 21 KOs) will do battle for the vacant IBF super bantamweight title.
The southpaw Wake has home advantage in Osaka, plus he is on a 10-fight winning streak that stretches back to 2012.
However, Guzman has a perfect record in the paid ranks. He has yet to even go the distance in any of his 21 bouts.
The Dominican forced Daniel Rosas to retire in April to earn an opportunity at a major belt in the 122-pound division.
Joseph Parker vs. Solomon Haumono
When: July 21
Where: Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, New Zealand
Heavyweight Joseph Parker (19-0, 16 KOs) wants to stay busy while he waits for a world-title shot.
The New Zealander is the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's IBF title, although the champion is scheduled to take a break until the end of the year.
Parker's promoter, Dean Lonergan, told Sky Sports: "Joseph fights on July 21. We'll probably fight another time after that in late September, early October, and then the mandatory period comes up November 19. Any day after that, Joseph would be ready."
His July fight is against Solomon Haumono (24-2-2, 21 KOs), a 40-year-old who used to play professional rugby league in Australia.
For Parker, it should be an easier test than the one he passed against Carlos Takam in May.
Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol
When: July 23
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
The unification fight between super lightweight world champions Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol is surely the fight in July.
The American Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) puts his WBO title on the line in a battle between the top two boxers in the division, according to The Ring's rankings.
As for Postal (28-0, 12 KOs), the Los Angeles-based Ukrainian became the WBC by knocking out Lucas Martin Matthysse in October 2015.
Someone's perfect record has to come to an end. It's a gamble both men need to take when they meet in Las Vegas.
Crawford is just happy to face a serious rival in the division, as he told George Gigney of Boxing News: "I’m not worried if I am being avoided by anyone as long as I get to fight the best out there. In this business if you don’t fight, you don’t eat."
Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams Jr.
When: July 29
Where: Centre Videotron, Quebec City, Canada
After a lengthy break, Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) returns to the ring on July 29.
Superman—the reigning WBC light heavyweight champion—knocked Tommy Karpency out in September 2015. Since then, he's been inactive.
A unification showdown with rival Sergey Kovalev failed to materialise, so Stevenson's next defence is against the southpaw Thomas Williams Jr. (20-1, 14 KOs).
Despite being 38 years of age, Stevenson reckons he's still not yet reached his peak.
According to Sportinglife.com, he said: "I will demonstrate that like fine wine, I am even better with age. Even though I haven't boxed in 10 months, I've never left the gym and I'm willing and ready to defend my crown."
Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz
When: July 30
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
After winning his long-awaited grudge match with Scott Quigg in February, Carl Frampton is moving up in the world.
The Northern Irishman (22-0, 14 KOs) gave up the IBF and WBA Super titles at super bantamweight so he could move up a division.
In taking on WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, Frampton has hardly picked an easy start to life at featherweight.
The Mexican Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) is a three-weight world champion who feels The Jackal is biting off more than he can chew, per Sportinglife.com. "When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down," Santa Cruz said. "He doesn't like pressure and I have that."
However, Frampton is unlikely to feel too lonely when he fights in New York for the first time.
After Northern Ireland's amazing support at Euro 2016 in France, expect the Frampton fans to travel in force to cheer on one of the country's major sporting stars.
Feel free to let Bleacher Report know your fight predictions via the comments section.