Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain settled a fierce grudge at the O2 this past weekend. Although the cruiserweight clash did not live up to the hype, the event may have an impact on boxing history for another reason. It brought a lot of Britain’s top heavyweights together in one building, any time that happens, fights start to get made.
Boxing history was in the air on Saturday night. The O2 has a magical ability to create history in the sport of boxing, almost as potent as Wembley. It pulled old foes together on Saturday. Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua fought out their own bitter rivalry in that very building.
They returned to the battlefield on Saturday night, this time in a spectator role. The same is true of David Haye and Tony Bellew. Their blood feud came to a head in that building and they are scheduled to meet there again for the rematch in March. However, they too were back in that same building at the same time, in civilian garb. Quite fortuitous.
IFL TV captured two instances of fights being made in that most hallowed arena. After the bout, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte were posing for photographs at ringside. Despite the fact that their fight in that arena almost boiled over, they were amicable. Tense perhaps, yes, but civil. They even posed for a picture together with a fan.
Joshua could then be seen asking Whyte: ‘Are we?’ and then shadow boxing in front of him. Whyte seems game, wishing him good luck in his next bout and telling him that they will talk soon. This would be their third meeting in the ring, a rubber match as Joshua beat Whyte at the O2 and Whyte beat Joshua prior to that in the amateurs. There are always fireworks when those two step into the ring.
David Haye also ran into an old foe in the bowels of the arena. That previous opponent took the shape of Derek Chisora. Haye had his son in tow as well as Joe Joyce, an Olympian that has joined his promotion as a pro. Haye, who is now friends with Chisora embraced him with well wishes.
It was not long though before he started angling for Joyce’s second pro opponent. Haye intends to throw his prodigy in at the deep end against a crafty old campaigner in Chisora. For what it’s worth, Derek verbally agreed to a bout against Joyce should the money be right and they sealed it with a handshake.
British heavyweight boxing just gets more exciting by the day.