By Jon Uddin✏
After suffering setbacks in their last outings, these five fighters will be looking to bounce back when boxing returns.
Setback: February 22, 2020, L TKO(7) Tyson Fury
While Wilder has vowed to “Rise again” and regain the Heavyweight title, the loss suffered at the hands of Tyson Fury was dominant and definitive. The belt wasn’t the only thing lost for Wilder in the ring on February 22nd, as Fury implemented his game plan of taking the fight to Wilder as he had promised, stripping the Bronze Bomber, and his right hand’s aura of invincibility. This became an “I told you so” moment for Wilder detractors as his title was filled with highlight reel knockouts but also heavy criticism for being a one trick pony that would eventually be exposed against a skilled boxer. When boxing returns the third fight will take place, and while many have stated that Wilder’s loss was one sided enough that a third isn’t needed, the storyline for Wilder and where he goes should Fury own him again is extremely compelling.
🇺🇸Andy Ruiz Jr.
Setback: December 7, 2019, L UD(12) Anthony Joshua
The great underdog story for Andy Ruiz came to a close in December when he found himself totally outclassed by Anthony Joshua in their rematch. The focus became the confirmation of what many had predicted coming into the fight, that Ruiz had spent months partying and packing on the pounds, resulting in a late and lackluster training camp. The lopsided loss was followed by Ruiz and head trainer Manny Robles parting ways, and as of yet Ruiz has not announced who his next trainer will be. There’s many who believe we saw the pinnacle of Ruiz’s career last June in New York, but at the age of 30 there’s still time for Ruiz to put himself back in the title mix if the focus is there.
Setback: January 18, 2020, L TKO(5) Jeison Rosario
The hometown title defense couldn’t have went much worse for Philadelphia’s Julian “J-Rock” Williams. The unified Junior-Middleweight champion was a runaway favorite heading into his fight against Dominican Jeison Rosario, and the fight was viewed by many as a formality to a rematch with Jarrett Hurd. Those plans went sideways from the second round on as a cut and swelling over the left eye of Williams began to trouble him and Rosario took advantage, unloading and getting the stoppage in the fifth. It was an extremely disappointing outcome for Williams, but in a division where many of the top fighters have taken their lumps, he can regroup and once again find himself in the mix to regain the world title.
Setback: November 23, 2019, L RTD(7) Rene Alvarado
After winning and defending the WBA World Super-Featherweight title in 2019 with back to back knockouts over Alberto Machado, Andrew Cancio was living his dream and was even presented with the key to the city in his hometown of Blythe, California. In November, Cancio headed into his second defense of the title and was looking to close the year out strong in his rematch with Rene Alvarado, whom he had previously knocked out in 2015. Alvarado turned out to be a nightmare matchup as Cancio had no answers for the rapid fire flurry of punches the determined Nicaraguan fired off, losing his belt by seventh round stoppage. Things got even worse for Cancio following the loss, as three days later he was released from Golden Boy Promotions, whom he was having disputes with regarding his marketing. Cancio found a new lifeline in January when he was presented with a contract from promotional giant Top Rank, who holds nice matchup opportunities in the super featherweight division. He was originally scheduled to make his debut with Top Rank in April before the Coronavirus shutdown.
Setback: November 30, 2019, L TKO(3) John Riel Casimero
It was a year of disappointment for South African Bantamweight Zolani Tete in 2019. To start things off, Tete suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to withdraw from the World Boxing Super Series Semifinals matchup with Nonito Donaire in April. “Last Born” would make his return to the ring in November, in what was the fourth defense of his WBO World Bantamweight title against John Riel Casimero. In a surprising outcome, Tete was floored by a right hand from the Filipino in the third round, and though he attempted to fight on, he was never able to recover and the fight was stopped. The rangy 32 year old southpaw is still one of the most respected in the division, and with plenty of solid fights available, the comeback trail to title contention shouldn’t be a long one.