A fantasy WBSS heavyweight special: Joshua, Fury, Wilder and more

While this will never happen, Lewis Oldham has thrown on his imagination hat to book a heavyweight edition of the WBSS…

The heavyweight division in 2021 has been dominated by the merry-go-round of talks between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

For the first half of this year, pretty much all boxing fans talked about was the proposed all-British unification bout.

Eddie Hearn was confident it would happen before having the rug pulled under him by an arbitration case and the lackadaisical attitude of Bob Arum, Frank Warren and co.

Had the fight been signed at the end of this long-drawn-out period, those involved could have been forgiven.

While Joshua vs Usyk and Fury vs Wilder III are cracking fights, it was not what boxing purists were promised way back at the start of this year.

Due to this, intentionally or not, the heavyweight division and the promoters have disgruntled the fan base.

As this has gone on, I thought to myself, what would happen if egos and purses were put aside to create a heavyweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series. Here's how I think it would play out…

For those not aware, the WBSS is a tournament made up of the top eight fighters from the said division. The competition aims to ultimately crown a single unified champion in that weight class.

There have been two seasons so far with five separate tournaments ranging from cruiserweight to super middleweight.

There have been some stellar winners down the years, as UsykJosh Taylor and Naoya Inoue have all come out victorious.

The third season of the WBSS has already been announced and it will pit the eight best women's super featherweights against each other.

This is another major step forward for women's boxing and it will put more eyes on the fighters who have worked tirelessly to legitimise the female side of the sport.

With that said, a men's heavyweight WBSS is the one all boxing fans would clamour for.

The top four seeds, in my eyes, would be Joshua, Fury, Usyk and Wilder. With these being the four contending for the world titles at the time of writing.

With them holding the belts, Joshua and Fury will be the top seeds on either side of the draw.

One of the good things about the WBSS is that the highest-ranked fighters pick their quarter-final opponents.

There are a lot of fighters out there who could warrant being involved. But I've gone for Dillian Whyte, Joe Joyce, Andy Ruiz Jr and Joseph Parker.

If you try to imagine how the top seeds would think, the quarter-finals would probably look like this:

Quarter-Finals

Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte

Tyson Fury vs Joe Joyce

Oleksandr Usyk vs Joseph Parker

Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr

For AJ, while the option of a trilogy against Ruiz will be of interest, a rematch against Whyte would be tantalising.

A second fight between the two Brits would certainly be enough of an attraction for Joshua to sell out another stadium in the UK.

That's the over-arching point of this tournament as well. It gives back to the fans and every fight, whether that be a quarter-final or the final itself, will be a major event with a stacked undercard.

This is aimed at pushing boxing beyond its supposed limits and these major events will help to propel the sport to a new high in terms of popularity.

AJ vs Whyte II would be another belter, just like their first fight was in 2015. Both have improved substantially since that night at The O2.

The outcome would likely be the same. While AJ and Whyte are both at risk of getting stopped, in a similar way to how he beat Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua will prevail via knockout in the later rounds.

Also, on that side of the draw, Usyk will face Joseph Parker. This would be a very different fight compared to the opener of the tournament.

It would be a much more tactical affair, which Usyk would likely win comprehensively on points. Simply he would be too good of a boxer for the New Zealander and he will advance via unanimous decision.

Over to the other side, Fury will pick his stablemate, Joyce, to face first. The Gypsy King would relish the challenge of giving his colleague the opportunity of dethroning him on the big stage.

It would be another good fight as their styles should mix well. Both men are durable and can both punch, just look at their respective stoppages against Wilder and Dubois last year.

Fury's the superior boxer though and in the end, it would prove pivotal as he would stop his tireless opponent in the eleventh round.

The final quarter-final bout would pit Wilder against Ruiz. Now, this has the hallmarks of an enthralling fight. Two former world heavyweight champions looking for a route back to reclaim their crowns.

This fight is perhaps the toughest to call out of the first four, but if I had to choose a winner, I would go for Ruiz Jr.

He would take centre ring and look to dismantle Wilder similarly to how Fury did so in their rematch. While he may not be able to do it as convincingly, he showed against AJ that he is capable of picking apart a taller opponent who can be hurt with his hand speed and he would do that against Wilder.

Semi-Finals

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk

Tyson Fury vs Andy Ruiz Jr

Onto the semi-finals now and the first will be AJ vs Usyk - a fight due to take place on September 25 in the real world.

Let's say this tournament bout also takes place at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as it's an appropriate backdrop for a fight of this size.

Even after rematching Whyte and taking into account his win over Klitschko, this will be Joshua's toughest fight so far.

Usyk is the real deal and he will test the Brit as no one has before. This is even with his size disadvantage, which should edge the fight in AJ's favour.

The Ukrainian has shown throughout his career that he often grows into fights and he takes apart his opponent both physically and mentally.

Should Usyk take Joshua into the later rounds, the champion could be in big trouble. He knows he must start strong against the past WBSS winner and Joshua will do just that.

After a scintillating first few rounds, AJ will move up a gear in the sixth, capitalising on him landing a flush right to stop Usyk late in the round with his power being too much to handle.

His opponent in the final will be decided at Madison Square Garden as Fury steps into the ring with Ruiz Jr. This is yet another fascinating match-up and the two elite level heavyweights should be able to deliver a superb fight.

Ruiz will be full of confidence heading into this one after he dispatched Wilder in the quarter-finals. This will see him look to take the fight to Fury.

It is fair to say that the American was miles away from his best in his rematch against AJ, but this bout against Fury should follow a similar script.

Ruiz will throw more than he did in Saudi Arabia, but Fury will use his quick reflexes to evade these bombs and use his spiteful jab to keep his challenger at bay.

The former world champion will give a good account of himself, but he will succumb to the Gypsy King on the cards. Fury should come out with a comfortable enough victory, being three rounds ahead on each of the judge's scorecards.

Final: Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury

Now, a quick disclaimer, my choice of the winner will be divisive no matter who it is.

In the context of this piece, the winner is not overly critical. It is more important just that the two Brits finally step into the ring to see who is the better man.

After months of talks involving a 2021 fight in Saudi Arabia, it is also vital that the final takes place in front of 90,000 at Wembley.

While the financial benefits may be better for all involved if was set for Saudi Arabia, it sends a clear message to fans - not just of boxing - but sport in general, that this event is about more than money. It's a legacy fight.

It is about driving boxing forward to a place where it is held in high regard among the wider public. Simply, a fight of this grandeur has to take place in front of a deafening, jam-packed home crowd. It would be the final ingredient of what will be one of the biggest sporting events in history, with eyes descending on Wembley from across the globe.

On the undercard, it would be nice to have a Matchroom vs Queensberry promotions theme running through it. A fight pitting Whyte vs Joyce or Daniel Dubois in support would be a terrific co-support.

Joshua and Fury will fight for all four heavyweight belts as well as the prestigious Muhammed Ali Trophy. In this scenario though - in an added titbit - the four belts will be binned in favour of one chief world heavyweight title belt.

This would make the fight even bigger than it was already and it would add more prestige to the world title belt. Also, there are far too many belts around nowadays, so it would be lovely to just get rid of a few - no offence to the WBA...

Back to the fight itself now and by the time the two men stepped into the ring, the anticipation will be stronger than ever.

After boxing fans were spoilt with six separate Fight of the Year contenders during the tournament, the heavyweight WBSS final will be the talk of the sporting world. Joshua vs Fury is a fight unlike no other, as it has divided boxing fans down the middle in terms of who they think would win.

In my view, Fury would come out on top. It would be a brilliant chess match. Given the quality of both fighters, it should be the best bout of the tournament. Joshua's best chance of winning is by stoppage in the first six rounds, but if it goes longer, the advantage switches to Fury.

The Gypsy King would stop AJ in the latter rounds after dropping his fellow Brit a couple of times earlier in the fight. And there we would have it. Fury would be crowned the WBSS winner - the holder of the Muhammed Ali trophy.

But more importantly, he would be the sole world heavyweight champion. Maybe he could even serenade us with his rendition of Don McLean's American Pie to round off the heavyweight WBSS tournament in eloquent style.

What a joyous journey folks. I hope you've enjoyed my vision of how the big hitters could give back to the fans. I'm now off for a lie-down…

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