The five fights we need to see before the end of the year

Anthony Joshua next fight
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Jack Figg lists the five best fights yet to be made in 2018

1. Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder

The prospect of boxing seeing the first unified heavyweight champion to hold all four of the major organisations’ world titles seemed to be a formality. However, squabbles in the negotiations to build a Joshua-Wilder fight seem to be standing in the way. Boxing fans have long been torn over who would come out the victor between the ever improving Joshua and powerhouse Wilder. There is a glimmer of hope however, as it seemed Wilder has accepted Joshua’s terms for the fight to take place in the UK, with promoter Eddie Hearn stating a contract will be sent out to him. If however, this fight can’t be made both Joshua and Wilder will likely meet mandatory challengers before we can feast our eyes on the spectacle that would be ‘AJ’ versus the ‘Bronze Bomber.’

2. Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford

With IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence and newly crowned WBO 147lbs world champion Terence Crawford are both hovering around the pound-for-pound discussion. This match up offers everything a super-fight can wish for – it unifies the division while pitting two undefeated fighters against each other, a rarity in boxing. Spence owns very tidy, slick technique with the ability to go to the body only bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue can rival. Crawford on the other hand, possesses a loose, switch hitting style, often managing to defend while in the process of mounting an attack. A fight between these two talents would not only decide the number one in the 147lbs division, it will remind boxing fans of a time when the best fought the best.

3. Vasyl Lomachenko v Mikey Garcia

In Lomachenko’s limited but successful professional career, the Ukrainian has picked up world titles in three different weight divisions. Despite losing to Orlando Salido in his second fight, the Ukrainian has bounced back and looked almost unbeatable, with only one man suggested who could defeat him. That man being four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia, who recently won the IBF super-lightweight title, but will now unify his WBC lightweight title against IBF holder Robert Easter. The intrigue behind Lomachenko-Garcia lies at the weight, as the Ukrainian, who debuted at featherweight, looked to feel the size and power of Jorge Linares in his last bout, while Garcia has cited he may even look to test the welterweight division. If Lomachenko cannot be matched by skill and technique, he can be challenged by size and power, departments were Garcia would hold an advantage over him. If Garcia can come through the challenge of Easter, a WBC, IBF and WBA unification bout between two of boxing’s hottest properties can take place, with a position on the mythical pound-for-pound chart also at stake.


4. Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz

Frampton and Santa Cruz are tied one apiece in their rivalry. Firstly, Frampton met Santa Cruz in July 2016 where he would claim the Mexican’s WBA featherweight title in New York. However, six months later Santa Cruz took revenge in Las Vegas showcasing a slick, educated style of boxing, not so prominent in their first encounter, to regain his title and hand Frampton his first professional loss. After the second fight, both boxers expressed an interest in a rubber match to settle their scores. Despite this, Santa Cruz has defeated Chris Avalos and old rival Abner Mares while Frampton overcame Horacio García and Nonito Donaire. Trilogies in boxing are historic, this could be one of them. Boxing fans love trilogies too, especially between two of the best in the division, and right now Frampton and Santa Cruz make up the best the featherweight division has to offer.

5. Amir Khan vs Kell Brook

A fight British boxing fans had almost given up hope on seems right round the corner again. A classic tale similar to one of Ricky Hatton and Junior Witter; two domestic rivals, in the same division and both confident of beating one another, who fail to fight each other. Khan and Brook have enjoyed a fierce rivalry over the years but as Brook held a world title at 147lbs, Khan seemed more interested in pursuing fights with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. All hopes of a this domestic showdown taking place seemed lost after Khan was decisively knocked out by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016 while in the same month Brook was defeated by middleweight king Gennady Golovkin and later lost his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence. However, in January 2018 the unthinkable happened; Khan signed with Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn, leaving indications this fight could finally materialise. Currently Hearn stated he has plans for both Khan and Brook to have one more fight separately, and then he will look to build the grudge match British boxing fans have waited for.

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