Let’s play mythical matchmaker. 2022 was a decent year for boxing, but it sure could have been better. We were treated to some great fights and we saw some major talent in action. Superb fighters such as Dmitry Bivol, Devin Haney, Naoya Inoue, Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury, and others entertained us, but a number of massive fights that were seemingly on the verge of being made failed to get done – Terence Crawford-Errol Spence, Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua being the two most notable disappointing no-shows. And this did cast a shadow of gloom over the fistic year as it approached its end
2023 can and will be better
In the real world, we will likely get the following big fights next year: Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk, Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko, and we might, finally, get the Spence-Crawford showdown, and maybe, but less likely, Joshua-Deontay Wilder.
So this is where the Dream Fight stuff comes in.
Here are a number of potential thrillers, in fact, all but guaranteed thrillers, that would surely make any fight fan happy if they took place next year:
Deontay Wilder – Joe Joyce
This one, a genuine battle between an irresistible force (Wilder’s raw, savage punching power) and an immovable object (Joyce’s granite cranium) would be nothing short of fascinating. And extremely violent, perhaps disturbingly so.
Dmitry Bivol – Artur Beterbiev
This fight could happen, and who isn’t hoping the all-Russian, for all the belts 175-pound clash does go down? Bivol is as excellent a boxer as Beterbiev is a savage, seemingly indestructible punching machine. Who on earth wins this fight!
Jaron Ennis – Vergil Ortiz Jr
These two are arguably the best young and unbeaten welterweight contenders out there. Sure, there seems to be no chance of this fight taking place, not until one or both guys holds a world title, but, hey, this is a Dream Fight list. Ennis has looked sensational in his recent fights, as has Ortiz Jr. Both men are fast closing in on a world title shot, and maybe we will get to see these two possible stars of the future get it on one day. But what a declaration of self-belief both talented fighters would show by agreeing to face each other right now.
Deontay Wilder – Anthony Joshua
Before both former heavyweight champions walk away from the sport, they have to fight each other. This is a guaranteed explosion of a fight, maybe a quick explosion but one that would rock the sport, that has been called for for years now. Recently, Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott said this one would be a three round fight. Yeah, maybe a heavyweight version of Hagler-Hearns!
Naoya Inoue – Juan Francisco Estrada
“Monster” Inoue had made it clear he will be moving up in weight in his next fight, this to super-bantamweight, the Japanese superstar having cleaned out the bantamweight division. But Estrada, currently the WBC super flyweight champ, has spoken of his desire to move up and fight Inoue. Maybe Inoue could stick around at 118 pounds for this one, a possible classic in the making. Estrada is an inch shorter than Inoue, the Mexican warrior has never been stopped, and he has power along with skills. Could it be that Estrada would test Inoue like no other fighter ever has? I don’t know about you, but I’d pay to watch this fight to find out.
Jared Anderson – Daniel Dubois
Two exciting young heavyweights, both big punchers with natural aggressive tendencies and suspect defensive abilities. Anderson has never tasted defeat, while Dubois has, and he has also shown heart in coming back from adversity. Knowing the way Anderson fights, looking for the KO each and every time, and knowing how much dynamite Dubois carries in his fists, this fight couldn’t fail to be a sizzler.