5. Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia
WBA welterweight king Thurman will meet WBC boss Garcia on March 4, though a venue has not yet been confirmed. It is one of the best fights that could’ve been made – both are hard-hitting, unbeaten champions and it’s devilishly hard to call. The only slight drawback is that neither man is yet a huge name – however that could all change for the winner.
4. James DeGale vs Badou Jack
Another brilliantly matched unification fight, this one pits IBF super-middleweight champion DeGale against WBC champion Jack on January 14. DeGale is widely considered the best at the weight right now, while Jack is one of the most improved fighters in world boxing and has consistently upset the odds. Stylistically, it’s unlikely to be a barnburner but there’s a lot at stake for this one.
3. David Haye vs Tony Bellew
It should be noted that, on paper, this is the least competitive fight on this list – but it’s also must-see. WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew – another vastly improved operator – is moving to heavyweight to take on compatriot Haye, and there’s an excessive amount of bad blood between them. Two of the best talkers in boxing today, the promotion has already generated enormous amounts of attention and the fight is still months away (they meet on March 4). There are some who aen’t buying into the feud, but there are many, many more who are.
2. Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II
Frampton and Santa Cruz produced one of the best fights of 2016 when they warred over 12 technically brilliant rounds in July, when Frampton became a two-weight world champion by taking Santa Cruz’s WBA featherweight title. They’ll resume hostilities at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on January 28. There’s no animosity between them and no history (beside their first encounter), it’s just an old-school, mouth-watering rematch.
1. Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
The young upstart against the former kingpin. The student against the teacher. Two generations collide when IBF heavyweight champion Joshua takes on former division ruler Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, with the vacant WBA title also on the line. It’s a colossal event – Joshua is British boxing’s brightest star and Klitschko established himself as a money-making machine long ago. Up until now, Joshua hasn’t really been tested – will Klitschko be the man to do so? How much does Klitschko have left? There is huge intriuge around this one. Yes, Klitschko will have been inactive and coming off of a loss to Tyson Fury by the time the fight comes around – not to mention his age (41 in March) – but you would struggle to find somebody not fascinated by this fight.