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The Year In Boxing 2018: HERE’S WHAT IT COULD LOOK LIKE

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How do you follow a year like 2017? Ask any boxing fan, analyst, trainer, fighter, promoter, or ring girl and they’ll tell you that 2017 was one of the best years for the sport in a very long time. With the level of success the sport saw this year it must be asked: how does boxing look in 2018?

There is no shortage of potential. I’ve been saying since Terence Crawford announced his decision to move up to 147 that 2018 could be outpace 2017 before we hit the halfway point. Let’s review the possible fights that are coming down the pipe.

Anthony Joshua is going to (probably) fight Joseph Parker in a heavyweight unification bout. The beauty of heavyweight boxing, especially when the fighters involved can box worth a damn, is how monumental it feels to everyone – not just boxing fans. Ask around your local pub, and Anthony Joshua is probably known to more people than any other boxer not named Floyd Mayweather. The fight itself is intriguing enough, but the ramifications are what really matters.

Joshua is ascending a mountain not climbed since Tyson gutted the division more than 20 years ago, and his path to the summit is perhaps the easiest of anyone who has taken on the challenge. His climb will not involve the prospect of fighting a Frazier, or Douglas,  or Lewis. He simply has to dispatch of Parker, then Deontay Wilder and AJ will be all alone. Promoters will be doing all they can to conjure up challengers seen as genuine threats to the champ.

First, however, Joshua must win. I pick Joshua in the fight, if only because Parker has looked uninspired since claiming his portion of the title. The Kiwi is a good boxer, no doubt, but he does not have the weight of history behind him. Nor is he as fast as Joshua. Both of those things will matter.

Coming back to Crawford, he is set up for one of the biggest years a boxer could have. When he dispels the myth of Jeff Horn, which he will, Bud will be in line to make fights with anyone at 147. The likes of Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Kell Brook represent a few of the easier (I use the term relatively) fights that Crawford can make. He also has potential unification bouts with Errol Spence and Keith Thurman, where he would be favored in both.

Moving on from Crawford, there is Vasyl Lomachenko. He has potential fights with Mayweather’s pet project Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia, and maybe Jorge Linares. Even if none of those happen in 2018, Lomachenko showed in 2017 that he is bringing high level boxing back to the networks with the systematic beating he put on Guillermo Rigondeaux earlier this month. We don’t need a stud in front of Lomachenko for him to make a good fight, just a person willing to lace up a pair of gloves and give him a few rounds of target practice. That may wear thin at some point, but for now I think we’d all be content to watch him lay waste to everyone 135 and below.

Let us not forget the highly anticipated rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. The fight seems to be gaining traction with a May 5th date, and the outcome of that could determine the kingpin of the red-hot middleweight division. Aside from this fight, Billy Joe Saunders has entered the fray as potential star, along with Daniel Jacobs, Jermall Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade. There are a number of fights at 160 that would be thrilling to watch, and I suspect we’re going to see them.

Finally, we have the next installment of Superfly, where Srisaket Sor Rungvisai will be looking to keep the momentum from his dethroning of Chocolatitio going against Juan Francisco Estrada. The Monster, Naoya Inoue, will also likely be returning on that card, looking to build an American audience as he ascends the division. He is probably hoping to get the winner of Sor Rungvisai and Estrada, and I’m certain Tom Loeffler would be willing to set up a third iteration of this event.

This is just some of 2018 could have in store. There’s no doubt that 2017 is a hard act to follow, but next year could set a new standard for the fight game.

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About Thomas Peter John Penney

Thomas Penney is a freelance writer. He writes about boxing for NY Fights, and whoever else will have him. Send tips to tpjp28@mun.ca.

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