Boxing wishes for 2018 will be going through the mind of boxing fans the world over this holidays after what turned out to be an excellent year for the sport.
From the unthinkable to the wonderful, its pretty safe to say 2017 has been an exciting year for boxing and with a mouth-watering slate of in-the-works and confirmed match-ups for the new year we can all start eagerly looking forward to what is yet to come.
But, if the last three hundred and sixty-five days has taught us anything, it’s that in boxing we should never assume anything to be set in stone. So, with both optimism and caution in mind, here are five boxing wishes for 2018:
5: Josh Kelly Continues to Grow
There is a very reasonable argument that Josh Kelly is THE standout fighter of 2017. Since his debut in April, the British sensation has won all five of his bouts as a professional with, not only ease, but considerable technical prowess even to the point comparisons are already being made to Vasyl Lomachenko.
So much so that his show reel thus far, limited as it is, has been viewed literally millions of times online thanks to the far-reaching abilities of social media and YouTube. It’s unusual to see a novice obtain such a wide online following so early on, which is why big things are surely on the way in 2018 for ‘Pretty Boy Kelly.’
4: Lomachenko is Tested
Speaking of a certain Ukranian, Vasyl Lomachenko is an anomaly. A glitch in the fabric of reality, no question about it. His ability in the ring and his unique style have made him one of the most popular fighters of the year, and certainly the toughest to beat.
With his last five opponents all quitting on their stools, including the likes of Walters and Rigondeaux, the man who now calls himself ‘No-Mas-Chenko’ looks unstoppable. Which is why 2018 needs to deliver a genuine threat to his dominance, as dominance can only get you so far. If Vasili really wants to break out to mainstream audiences, he needs a good old-fashioned tear up. And he needs to come out on top.
3: The Return of the King
The boxing world stood in awe to see Tyson Fury’s hand raised against Wladimir Klitschko in Germany some two years ago. It was a well fought and well deserved victory at that. But, since then, Fury’s fall from grace has been torn to shreds by certain factions of the media.
Now it appears the Klitshcko-slayer is on his way back to being fighting fit once again, making a 2018 return a real possibility. He remains the Ring Magazine champion and he’ll always be the man who beat the man. Tyson, if you’re reading this, we can’t wait to have you back.
2: Joshua v Wilder
There wasn’t a jaw off the floor when Anthony Joshua took on Wladimir Klitshcko back in April. The pair made history at Wembley Stadium when Joshua was forced to pull himself off the canvas to stop the wily veteran in what is, by many people’s standards, the fight of the year.
But, now that Joshua has put the Klitshcko factor to bed, the only other prevalent name on his radar must be that of Deontay Wilder. Also unbeaten, Wilder is arguably the only man with a genuine chance of stopping Joshua. They may be looking at other opponents right now, but don’t be surprised if this clash of the titans gets made for mid to late 2018. It needs to happen.
1: Linares v Garcia
This might be down to personal preference more than anything else, but it’s a match that many people are desperate to see.
Both Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia have looked very special indeed this year in matches where they not only secured solid victories but also looked impressive whilst on the job (the exception perhaps being Linares v Campbell which was a very close fight).
As we move into 2018 this is a fight many are already pegging down as a fight of the year candidate should it happen. The speed of Linares vs the power of Garcia would make for sensational viewing. They’re both tied up in the new year, but an autumn or winter showdown would surely suffice. Gentlemen? We’re waiting.