Ex-pro Frankie Monkhouse tells Betfair readers the fights he wants to see happen in 2021 including a massive test for countryman Josh Taylor...
"This decider needs to take place at a major venue in the UK and must have fans in attendance."
This has undoubtedly been a difficult year and the sport of boxing certainly didn't escape the damaging impact of the coronavirus crisis. Like much of society, the noble art was brought to its knees, but everyone connected with professional boxing is determined to fight back in 2021.
We have some mouth-watering matchups on the horizon and the recent troubles seem to have encouraged promoter, fighters, and managers to put their differences aside for the greater good.
We want 2021 to be remembered as the year the best fought the best in every weight division.
Below you'll find my boxing Christmas wish list, five bouts we're hoping to see in the 12 months ahead. We've also highlighted any early betting odds available on the Betfair Sportsbook. Beat the rush and bet early to secure a better price before the bouts are confirmed.
Joshua vs Fury - Heavyweight unification
We'll start with the obvious - Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury. It's an all-British contest that would attract a global audience. This heavyweight unification bout has been rumoured for a while now but 2021 looks to be a perfect time. Both fighters seem keen and the promotional side of things shouldn't be a stumbling block.
The only danger at present would be fans being locked out. This decider needs to take place at a major venue in the UK and must have fans in attendance. It's just not worth it without a full house. AJ vs the Gypsy King would be the perfect way to bring boxing back to the masses and it would advertise British sport across the world.
The current betting available on the Betfair sportsbook has Fury as 4/7 favourite - that's market best price - against the 11/8 of Joshua and 22/1 the draw. Tyson on points is 15/8, Anthony by KO 5/2.
Saunders vs Alvarez - BJS deserves his shot
Billy Joe Saunders has been pushing for a shot at Mexican star Saul Alvarez for some time and the two-weight world champion believes he has what it takes to beat Canelo. Saunders has lost fans due to his antics out of the ring but inside the ropes, there's no denying his talents.
The Englishman would be happy to meet Alvarez at middleweight or super middleweight. Superb enters 2021 with a 30-fight unbeaten record, 14 wins by KO/TKO. The 31-year-old was last seen scoring a convincing points win over Martin Murray in December, winning every round in the process. There's plenty more to come.
Whyte vs Povetkin - repeat or revenge
Dillian Whyte suffered a stunning knockout defeat against Alexander Povetkin in August. That shock fifth-round stoppage left the Body Snatcher's chances of challenging for a world title in tatters. The Londoner knows he must get his revenge in the early part of 2021 to drive his career back on track. Not only does Whyte have to beat Povetkin, but he must also do it in style.
Dillian's record now stands at 27 wins against two defeats with 18 KOs and both losses inside the distance, the other inflicted by Joshua. Considering Povetkin is 41-years-old it makes sense for him to rush things, but his opponent is also in a hurry. We'll hopefully see this match made before the end of the winter.
Taylor vs Ramirez - Scotland's P4P king
It has been a while since a Scottish fighter has appeared on the elite pound-for-pound list but that's exactly where we find Edinburgh's Josh Taylor. The 29-year-old is already a world champion at super lightweight and boasts an impressive 17-fight unbeaten record and 77% KO average. He is seen as the future of the division with plenty more big wins expected.
American Jose Carlos Ramirez is ranked number one at the weight and remains the man to beat if Taylor is to rule. The 28-year-old from California has won each of his previous 26 bouts, bagging 17 knockouts in the process. This is a clash that would sell out a major venue in Britain or America and attract big pay-per-view numbers.
Taylor is favourite at this stage with odds of 8/11 at Betfair in the fight winner market against the 6/5 of Ramirez and 16/1 the draw. There looks to be value in that one as most boxing experts have this bout much closer to a 50/50.
Smith vs Saunders - The battle of Britain
This is an all-British clash that fans want to see happen and it would be great to get it in the next 12 months. The great thing about Saunders vs Callum Smith is it would be just as attractive before or after Saunders matched Canelo. Both men wouldn't need an unbeaten record to sell it and the title on the line wouldn't matter to sports fans.
Mundo is a giant at the weight and is more than big enough to move up a division. When recalling Saunders moved from middle to super middle, Smith would be the naturally stronger man. Like many others on this list, it deserves to go ahead at a sold-out venue in the UK to ensure fans get to savour the atmosphere.
Keep us close
Keep visiting the boxing section of Betting.Betfair for our big fight previews and expert predictions. We shared some memorable winners despite the difficulties and are confident of landing plenty more profits going forward.
A very merry Christmas and happy new year to all readers.