Boxing fans are all in for a treat when HBO announces its boxing champions for the 2018/19 season, but they’ll need to make their selections before November 1st.
In what’s likely to be a blockbuster announcement, HBO will unveil its list of the 2016/17 World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight Champions on November 1, 2018.
There are some interesting names in the mix as Boxing Day approaches, but there’s a clear favourite in Wladimir Klitschko.
Klitschko, who is on a five-fight win streak, is expected to face former champion and current World Boxing Organisation (WBO) light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins in what could be the biggest fight of the year.
However, there’s another heavyweight contender in the works as well, and it’s unlikely to be on HBO’s list of favourites.
According to sources close to Klitschkos camp, the Russian has signed a deal with the network to make the title defence his final one.
Hopkins is one of the sport’s biggest names in a generation and he’ll have his hands full in the heavyweight division with the likes of Anthony Joshua, Wladurise Muguruza and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
But according to sources familiar with the situation, Klitschkos camp have told HBO they would not allow Hopkins to fight in 2018/2019, even though they’d like to have him.
This leaves two heavyweight contenders in the frame, and sources say Hopkins is the one to beat.
If Hopkins can make the fight happen, it could mean he has a real shot at becoming the first heavyweight champion of the 21st century, but it’s likely that would be a long shot.
If Klitschkov wins, it would also mean he’s now the only heavyweight champion in the history of the WBO.
The WBA is expected for a major shake-up next year, with the WBA World Boxing Council set to overhaul its rules in a bid to improve the sport.
The sport has undergone a major overhaul in recent years and it seems that’s what HBO are going to do with their list of champions.
Hopkinson, Joshua, Joshua’s WBA and WBO title defences have all been decided by the WBC in the past.
However, Hopkins is a heavyweight champion who will face Hopkins and his WBA title defence.