‘Bosh!’ The key test standing between Johnny Fisher and the lucrative heavyweight party

by Admin
‘Bosh!’ The key test standing between Johnny Fisher and the lucrative heavyweight party

Johnny Fisher is one of a dozen British heavyweights waiting to fill the void when Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury finally call it a day.

Fisher is just 25, unbeaten in 11 fights and this Saturday he has sold over 4,000 tickets for the Copper Box, or the “Copper Bosh” as his father John Fisher calls it, for a fight with Croatia’s Alen “The Savage” Babic. No British boxer since Ricky Hatton has sold so many tickets for his fights; Fisher seems to hand-deliver just about every ticket. His fans live just a few stops down the line from Stratford, so the Olympic Park venue is ideal.

“The fans have been amazing from the start,” Fisher said. “They have increased with each fight – enough came out to Las Vegas for the last fight.” The fight in Las Vegas lasted less than a round.

Fisher has that perfect touch with his fans and that’s why they have multiplied during his short career. He has also stopped or knocked out 10 of the 11 men he has beaten and that helps.

Babic is a character in the business: a heavyweight stuck at the bottom of the weight, but with guts and far more skill than he has ever been given credit for. He will thrive on 4,000 Fisher’s fans booing his arrival to the Copper Box ring. He is a classic pantomime villain and loves that role.

“He is a boy,” Babic said. “He is under all the pressure on the night. Me? I have no pressure. Let’s see how he does when I don’t fall over.” Fisher, so far, has won with ease in simple fights; Babic is a test of his character and his ability.

Johnny Fisher is looking to stay unbeaten against Alen Babic (Action Images/Reuters)

Over the next few weeks a lot of British heavyweights will fight, including obviously Daniel Dubois against Anthony Joshua in September. There is the Derek Chisora and Joe Joyce fight later this month and David Adeleye against Solomon Dacres. It’s a thriving and open scene; Joshua, Fury and Dubois are clearly the top three; the rest are scrapping to be in a good position for future glories. Every heavyweight in the world wants to be part of the plans in Saudi Arabia – there might be a league and there will be more heavyweight fights. Since October last year, over 20 heavyweight fights, most of significance, have taken place in Riyadh. Fisher has, so far, not been involved in the party.

“Johnny works on things in the gym and he keeps working until he gets it right,” said Mark Tibbs, who trains Fisher at a gym in Rainham, Essex. Tibbs is big on getting the small things right, building a boxer correctly from the start. Too many modern heavyweights are constructed in reverse; raw power, social media following and marketability are all considered more important than balance, a jab and a boxing brain.

The Babic fight will undoubtedly have its moments, but Fisher has a size advantage that will show after a few rounds. For Fisher, and most of the other leading British heavyweight contenders, the journey from here is interesting, especially in the current boxing business where risks are being taken; some of the fights over the last year would have never been made in previous years. Actually, most of the heavyweight fights in the last year would have never been made without the Saudi influence.

“It’s wide open at the moment,” said Fisher. “We all know each other – most of us have sparred with each other. It’s a great time to be a British heavyweight. I’m ready to fight anybody.”

Of the top 12 or so British heavyweights, only the unbeaten teenager, Moses Itauma, is younger than Fisher. There is Chisora, who is 40, and has met over 20 of the world’s leading heavyweights, and then at the opposite end of the spectrum there is Itauma, who is 19, unbeaten, untouched in nine fights and still an unknown commodity.

Johnny Fisher and Alen Babic face off in Brentwood, Essex (Getty)

In the middle is British champion Fabio Wardley, who is routinely and mistakenly overlooked as a white-collar warrior, Olympic medalists, Joyce and Frazer Clarke; Hughie Fury, cousin of Tyson, is still only 29, and a contender. It’s an open field, a group of men with the willingness to risk it in fights they could very well lose. In March, Wardley and Clarke fought each other to a savage standstill in a British title fight in a British ring. It was a draw and an unforgettable fight. And a big risk for both unbeaten men.

Fisher should be too big, too smart and too determined for Babic at the Copper Box on Saturday, and then it starts to get interesting. Fisher’s fans on tour in Saudi Arabia would be a one-fighter tourist invasion.

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