Hellraiser Boxing News | 2017 Review: Good Year- Bad Year
Paul Duckworth looks at 2017 and puts forward who thinks had good years, and those who will want to improve in 2018.
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2017 has again been an exciting, action packed, yet unpredictable year for fans and boxers alike. Memories have been made that will never be forgotten, depending on who you are or who you follow these will be seen as both "good" and "bad" however these are entirely my own opinion. 2018 is sure to follow suit and create many more stories with matches already announced and intriguing feuds ongoing.
January was the month where Garcia provided an early candidate for KO of the year, dethroning Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC lightweight title and followed up with another impressive victory over Adrian Broner in July. 2018 could see Garcia face Jorge Linares and possibly Lomachenko. Both would be mouthwatering clashes.
At the fourth time of asking, in May, George Groves became world champion, stopping Fedor Chudinov at Bramall Lane to lift the WBA super middleweight title. Entering the World Boxing Super Series Tournament, and given the prestigious number one seed he chose to face Jamie Cox. A body shot in Round four ended the proceedings, whilst setting up a tantalising encounter with fellow Brit Chris Eubank Jr.. 2018 is sure to be a big year for Groves as he aims to be the winner of the Super Series Tournament before possibly setting his sights on unifying the division.
CHRIS EUBANK JR
Crowned super middleweight IBO Champion in February 2017, initially there was skepticism over the validity of this world title. However after defeating Arthur Abraham before then entering the World Super Series Tournament and demolishing Avni Yildrim in Germany, Eubank silenced some of the doubters whilst setting up a massive all British dust up against George Groves in February 2018. Next year could be an extremely "good" year for the Brighton boxer.
2017 will be forever etched in Katie's memory bank as the year she was crowned WBA champion. After a successful first defense against Jessica McCaskill in December, Taylor will be hoping to continue her unbeaten streak and pick up further titles. A possible bout against fellow UK Olympian Natasha Jonas could also be in the pipeline for next year.
Australian Horn announced himself on the World scene when he defeated Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane in a result which few predicted. Successful in his first defense against Britain's "Hellraiser" Gary Corcoran in December, possible future opponents that have been mentioned range from Connor McGregor to Amir Khan. Terence Crawford could also be a very real possibility.
In 2017 Jorge Linares cemented his place as one of the current Pound for Pound elite by defeating both Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell whilst making his debut headlining on American channel HBO. He will be looking to ensure further exposure in 2018 and has stated he would like to fight Mikey Garcia.
Beginning the year as WBC super middleweight champion in an exciting draw with James DeGale he then chose to vacate and move up weight divisions where he proceeded to destroy Nathan Cleverly for the WBA light Heavyweight title sending Clev into retirement. Potentially next year will see Badou face Crawford in a blockbuster affair.
Impressed with his victory over Kell Brook when he travelled to Brook’s back yard in Sheffield en route to becoming IBF welterweight champion. Former sparring partner Lamont Peterson could be 2018’s first encounter for the young American.
Did not read the script on what was Miguel Cotto’s last fight before retirement; Sadam impressed by beating Cotto on points to be crowned WBO light middleweight champion. He surely will be looking to capitalise on this year's success and face the divisions best in 2018.
Continues to demonstrate just why many regard him as one of the current Pound for Pound elite with three victories, each of which has seen his opponent throw in the towel. Most recently Guillermo Rigondeaux retired citing a damaged hand. Loma will be looking to solidify his position and create more of a legacy in the year to come.
AJ’s Wembley win over Wladimir Klitschko was regarded for many British boxing fans as one of the moments of 2017. The fight in front of a record attendance of 90,000 saw AJ sent to the canvas for the first time in his professional career. The Brit then dug deep to survive and turn the tables, knocking down Wlad before the referee stepped in to call time on the match, and ultimately the Ukrainian’s long career. Another victory over late replacement Carlos Takam meant AJ remains undefeated. 2018 offers the possibility of Wilder, Parker and Tyson Fury. Next year will go some way in defining AJ’s career and legacy in the sport.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
After a frustrating period of inactivity Saunders returned got two wins this year, the last of which was a majestic performance as he travelled to Canada to face the renowned puncher and home town favourite David Lemieux. Billy Joe's near perfect performance meant he recorded a shutout victory on points silencing the crowd and Lemieux in the process. Saunders is now again seen as a legitimate threat and a fighter capable of possibly finding and executing a game plan against the likes of Canelo and GGG in 2018.
This year was a definitive year for the young Northern Irishman, Burnett was crowned IBF bantamweight champion, beating Lee Haskins in Belfast before he then picked up the WBO strap beating Zhanet Zhakiyanov in October. The latter win showed that Burnett can vary his fighting style when required as he ground out another impressive victory.
Became the first unified super lightweight champion since Kostya Tszyu by stopping Julius Indongo in August. Bud is highly regarded as one of the current pound for pound greats and next year could see him face Jeff Horn.
After his proposed fight with Luis Ortiz fell through, Wilder faced Bermane Stiverne in a rematch. Wilder put on a performance worthy of a heavyweight champion as he smoked Stiverne in the first round, lethal punches knocking the Canadian down twice before leaving him folded on the canvas. The public hopes next year will see the unification between Wilder and AJ with the winner potentially facing the returning Tyson Fury.
A huge upset in December saw American Truax travel to London and pull off a stunning points upset which few had predicted. A 16/1 underdog, Truax put the pressure on DeGale who himself was returning from injury after a brief hiatus. Truax will be a wanted man in 2018 with DeGale already stating his desire for a rematch and others will perhaps see Caleb as one of the weaker champions. However Truax has already proved he is more than capable of upsetting the apple cart and his confidence will be high. 2018 could turn out to be a very lucrative year.
January 2017 started off well with a draw against Badou Jack on American soil. Despite this good performance however he lost his front teeth in this fight and an operation on a shoulder injury kept him out for most of the year meaning he was unable to participate in the WBSS Tournament. On his return in December, in what was billed as his homecoming following several years fighting out of the country, he was unexpectedly humbled by American Caleb Truax, losing his IBF super middleweight title in the process. DeGale surely be looking to avenge this defeat at the earliest opportunity next year before his thoughts again turn towards the George Groves rematch as well as other lucrative bouts.
Two defeats this year for Burns, firstly losing his lightweight title against Julios Indongo in his home country of Scotland before travelling South of the border to face popular Manchester native Anthony Crolla and again coming up short in a points defeat. Somewhat at a crossroads in his career it will be interesting to see which direction his career takes in 2018.
2017 begun with Frampton losing his rematch in January in Las Vegas to Leo Santa Cruz, before strange circumstances in July where he firstly weighed in one pound over the division limit before Andres Gutierrez then had an accident in the shower leading to a postponement. In the months afterwards he announced his split from trainer Shane MCGuigan and with Cyclone promotions. His first fight under the tutelage of Jamie Moore was not as blistering as he had anticipated, and he will be hoping for an improved year in 2018.
A close defeat to Dillian Whyte last December, was followed by another defeat in his quest for the European Heavyweight belt in Monte Carlo when Chisora faced unbeaten Agit Kabayel. Requires wins next year if he wishes to remain in contention. A rematch against Dillian Whyte will be on his agenda with the first fight entertaining the public and receiving widespread praise.
Beaten by Tony Bellew and injuring his achilles in the process leading to surgery, he was then forced to postpone the rematch as he injured his bicep in an accident falling down the stairs. The Bellew rematch will now take place in May 2018 and Haye has already said he will retire should he get beat. Haye has changed his trainer and is keen to recapture his previous form which saw him crowned two weight world champion.
Lost his IBF welterweight strap at his beloved Bramall Lane Sheffield also injuring his eye in the process requiring surgery. Still pushing for a match with Amir Khan he will be hoping 2018 is the year this is finally made. Has a March date with Sergey Rabchecko at his new 154 pound weight.
Beaten in Brisbane by Jeff Horn, Pac Man's long career may be coming to an end, although a muted match with Connor McGregor may provide one last big payday.
May I take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year and Thank You kindly for reading. Paul Duckworth
Posted: 29th Dec 2017
NEXT UP: The Power and The Glory
2nd Feb 2019 16:00 - 23:00, York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, E2 9PI
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