Boxing fans in the United Kingdom can look forward to another massive few months as the New Year promises some immense match-ups both confirmed and in the making.
On the back of one of the biggest events of recent years in London featuring the UK’s own Kell Brook and middleweight superstar Gennady Golovkin, plus Amir Khan’s challenge against Canelo Alvarez and Carl Frampton’s two-division exploits, even more huge fights are in the offing in 2017.
According to the odds at 888sport, British boxers will have the upper hand in the early exchanges as the calendar ticks over from 2016 and into what could be the most exciting period for some time.
James DeGale v Badou Jack
The year will begin with super-middleweight champion James DeGale bidding to unify the 168 pound vision against Badou Jack. The mouth-watering clash has been some months in the making and could set-up a massive all-UK two-belt battle with Callum Smith in the summer should ‘Chunky’ come out on top, as expected.
Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz II
Frampton’s second clash with Leo Santa Cruz on January 28 will no doubt be a carbon copy of the first and give spectators at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas twelve pulsating rounds of featherweight action.
A win for the Belfast man would have the boxing world licking their lips at the possibility of Frampton taking on pound for pound star Vasyl Lomachenko later in the year.
David Haye v Tony Bellew
Mark the March 4th date down in your diaries as this one could blow the roof off The O2 Arena.
Haye begrudgingly gave in to Bellew’s demands to secure a crack at the former world heavyweight champion, fresh from demolishing Ilunga Makabu and BJ Flores at the 200 pound limit.
The winner is in line for a potential world title shot at Anthony Joshua in late 2017 as most predict an early finish to what has all the makings of a fan-friendly encounter.
Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko
With a set for April 29, a unified heavyweight title bout between Joshua and Klitschko has been made to ease the disappointment of Tyson Fury’s decision to leave boxing behind.
Joshua will put his IBF strap against Klitschko and the vacant WBA ‘super’ and IBO versions as two of the best top division operators on the planet meet to decide the new king.
Other potential match-ups in 2017 include rematches of Billy Joe Saunders v Chris Eubank Jr. and Jorge Linares v Anthony Crolla, plus George Groves fighting Fedor Chudinov for the WBA super-middleweight crown.