With 2022 within the rearview mirror, 2023 brings plenty of promise to the boxing world.
Followers are optimistic fights between the most effective fighters within the division can happen, regardless of community offers and ties to promoters. On the flip facet, followers are pessimistic for a similar causes.
That doesn’t imply followers can not nonetheless play armchair matchmaker, however for fights that may realistically occur this yr.
Here’s a listing of fights that may nonetheless occur later this yr (fingers crossed). Not included are fights which have already been verbally agreed to or have been signed.
1. Terence Crawford-Errol Spence:
Wash, rinse, repeat. Yearly, this listing begins with this struggle. And yearly, it’s written within the hopes it’s the final time this struggle tops the listing. Every has their model of why this struggle has not been finalized, though it was penciled for November 19. Crawford ended up defending his WBO world welterweight title towards David Avanesyan. Spence has a struggle penciled towards Keith Thurman in April. The hope is Crawford-Spence, Spence-Crawford takes place in September or October.
2. Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol:
The winner of this all-Russia matchup can be the undisputed champion at 175 kilos. Beterbiev has to face and defeat Anthony Yarde on January 28. Bivol doesn’t have something lined up after defeating obligatory challenger Gilberto Ramirez on November 5. Each have been open about this struggle going down. The one glitch may very well be which community would air/ stream the struggle. Beterbiev is aligned with Prime Rank, which has an unique cope with ESPN and Bivol’s final a number of fights, together with his win over Canelo Alvarez on Could 7, have streamed on DAZN.
3. Gennady Golovkin-Jaime Munguia:
This struggle had been within the works for the reason that spring of 2018. Do you keep in mind? Canelo Alvarez had examined constructive for clenbuterol and the rematch between Alvarez and Golovkin was placed on the shelf. Munguia was provided a struggle towards Golovkin, however the Nevada Athletic Fee didn’t approve of the struggle. As an alternative, weeks later, Munguia challenged then-WBO world junior middleweight titleholder Sadam Ali. Munguia might need a struggle lined up in a number of months towards Shane Mosley, per rumors, however there is no such thing as a motive why Munguia wouldn’t face Golovkin, who remains to be the unified middleweight titleholder after dropping to Alvarez on September 17.
4. Jermall Charlo-Demetrius Andrade:
DAZN’s Chris Mannix proposed this struggle months in the past. On the time, few gave it consideration, however this struggle may turn into a actuality. Andrade is now preventing at tremendous middleweight and underneath the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner after being promoted by Matchroom Boxing, which has an unique cope with DAZN. Charlo, the WBC world middleweight titleholder, has not fought since June 2021. Ought to he transfer as much as 168 kilos, which has been rumored, Charlo dealing with Andrade may very well be a pretty struggle. Each have the present of gab and will promote this struggle to the boxing public.
5. Emmanuel Navarrete-Oscar Valdez:
This struggle was scheduled to happen on February 3 in Glendale, Arizona, however Valdez needed to withdraw from the struggle resulting from an harm throughout coaching camp. Navarrete will now face Liam Wilson for the vacant WBO world junior light-weight title. A Navarrete win will result in a Valdez conflict later this summer season, which ought to create a buzz amongst boxing followers. Each throw a high-volume of punches and make for fan-friendly fights. The WBO belt was held by Shakur Stevenson, however was stripped of the title resulting from lacking weight for his world title protection towards Robson Conceicao on September 26.
6. Jermell Charlo-Sebastian Fundora:
Charlo was set to make his first protection of his undisputed junior middleweight championship towards Australia’s Tim Tszyu on January 28, however withdrew from the struggle resulting from a hand harm suffered in coaching camp. Ought to he defeat Tszyu, a struggle towards Fundora can be compelling. Fundora has confronted and defeated a number of the greatest fighters at 154 kilos, together with his all-out battle towards Erickson Lubin final yr. Who is aware of when Charlo-Tszyu will likely be rescheduled, however, within the meantime, Fundora may face a contender like Tony Harrison. Fundora is coming off a call win over Carlos Ocampo on October 8.
7. Teofimo Lopez-Jose Ramirez:
A struggle between both Lopez and Ramirez towards newly-crowned WBC world junior welterweight titleholder Regis Prograis is just not occurring anytime quickly, resulting from promotional and community ties. So, why not have Lopez face Ramirez? It is sensible. Each struggle underneath the Prime Rank banner and the winner would legitimize his standing at 140 kilos and be the obligatory challenger for Prograis’ WBC title. Ramirez faces former world light-weight titleholder Richard Commey on March 25 in his hometown of Fresno. Lopez final fought on December 10, defeating Sandor Martin in a really shut struggle. A struggle between Lopez and contender Arnold Barboza may be in play as Barboza can be promoted by Prime Rank.
8. Hekkie Budler-the winner of the approaching conflict between Kenshiro Teraji and Jonathan Gonzalez:
Teraji, the WBC and WBA world titleholder, and Gonzalez, the WBO titleholder, may have a struggle lined up this spring. It might be a unification struggle at 108 kilos. The winner may then face South Africa’s Budler, who’s coming off a hard-fought win over former world titleholder Elwin Soto, who misplaced the title to Gonzalez in October 2021. The IBF world titleholder is Sivenathi Nothshinga, who gained the title in his final bout on September 3.
9. Amanda Serrano-Alycia Baumgardner:
Each will struggle in separate bouts on February 4 inside The Hulu Theatre at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis. Serrano will face Erika Cruz of Mexico Metropolis in a unification bout at 126 kilos and Baumgardner will sq. off towards Elhem Mekhaled of France for the undisputed junior light-weight championship. Serrano is rumored to face undisputed light-weight champion Katie Taylor later this yr in a rematch of their epic struggle on April 30. Baumgardner defeated Mikaela Mayer in a really shut struggle. The rematch between Baumgardner and Mayer may occur subsequent yr, whether or not at 135 kilos, the place Mayer may have her subsequent struggle, or at junior light-weight. Serrano-Baumgardner would do stable ticket gross sales at Madison Sq. Backyard.
10. Seniesa Estrada-Yokasta Valle:
Estrada, the WBA world titleholder at 105 kilos, has a unification struggle towards WBC titleholder Tina Rupprecht on March 25 in Fresno. After profitable the IBF and WBO world title belts in her final struggle on November 26, Valle has determined to maneuver again right down to struggle at 105 kilos and defend her two world title belts. Each Estrada and Valle have utilized a confrontation in latest days, however a struggle between the 2, whether or not at 105 or 108 kilos would promote in Southern California, the place each reside and/ or prepare. This struggle may happen throughout the summer season. Estrada is now promoted by Prime Rank and Valle by Golden Boy, who used to advertise Estrada.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has coated boxing in Southern California and overseas since 2000. Francisco additionally covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He will be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing