The best fights to be made in 2023 and how likely they are to happen

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed clash, a Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua slugfest… and will we FINALLY see Errol Spence face Terence Crawford? The biggest fights that can be made in 2023 and how likely they are to happen

  • Boxing provided some dramatic and memorable fights over the past 12 months
  • Sportsmail has taken a look at the best match-ups that can be made in 2023
  • Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury are set for an undisputed heavyweight battle
  • Anthony Joshua could slug it out with Deontay Wilder for a shot at the winner
  • Fans are also praying for Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford to finally go ahead 

As the curtain closes on another dramatic, memorable year in boxing, all eyes turn to 2023 and the potential mega-fights it could bring.

Over the past 12 months we have seen Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury maintain their grip on the heavyweight division – and edge closer towards an undisputed battle that simply has to happen next year – by brushing aside Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora.

Canelo Alvarez was brought crashing back down to earth against light-heavyweight force Dmitry Bivol, while Devin Haney flexed his muscles as the lightweight king by cruising to successive victories over George Kambosos Jr.

Oleksandr Usyk (L) and Tyson Fury (R) maintained their grip on the heavyweight scene in 2022

Canelo Alvarez (R) was brought crashing down to earth by light-heavyweight star Dmitry Bivol

Sportsmail has taken a look at some of the biggest fights that can be made over the next year

We were treated to some incredible scraps in 2022, but what are the biggest match-ups to be made next year? 

Sportsmail has taken a look at the best fights that could materialise in 2023 and how likely they are to happen.

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk

At long last, the coast is finally clear for boxing to crown its first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000, with no more obstacles preventing Fury and Usyk from deciding who is top dog next year.

Both men overcame mandatory defences against Whyte and Joshua respectively in 2022, before Fury kept himself busy with a one-sided victory over Chisora earlier this month.

Now the two men are poised to battle it out for heavyweight supremacy in a bout which would crown the first ever undisputed king of the four-belt era.

Fury and Usyk are all set to battle it out for undisputed heavyweight glory early next year

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum recently confirmed they have reached an agreement to face Usyk, telling Sky Sports that their showdown could take place on March 4.

‘The two fighters have agreed to fight each other next,’ Arum said. ‘With Fury and Usyk we’re dealing with two adults, not a lot of [rubbish] back and forth. 

‘Usyk is a good friend of mine, he’s very intelligent and Tyson is Superman, both as an athlete and as an intellect.

‘So they want the fight. Both of them want the fight and so there’ll be very little, if any, [messing] around. So we’ll be able to make that happen. 

‘I’m very, very confident. As I said the fighters have both agreed to fight each other next without any interim fights.’

Fury recently kept himself busy by cruising to a one-sided victory over old foe Dereck Chisora

Usyk last competed back in August, when he earned another points win over Anthony Joshua

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum (centre) says the two men have already agreed to face each other

There have been countless false dawns in boxing’s quest for an undisputed heavyweight contest of late. It was only 20 months ago that Fury and Joshua agreed a two-fight deal to slug it out for all four belts, before the Gypsy King was ordered to face Deontay Wilder instead and Usyk ripped three titles away from AJ.

Yet with no mandatories or arbitrations on the horizon, all that could prevent Fury and Usyk from meeting in 2023 is the two fighters themselves – and fortunately, that seems highly unlikely.


Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford 

When Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally locked horns in one of the highest-grossing PPV events of all time in 2015, the general consensus was that their super-fight came several years too late.

Fans had been clamouring for the future hall-of-famers, who previously reigned supreme as boxing’s pound-for-pound masters, to settle their rivalry from as early as 2008. Though as is often the case in the sport, boxing politics prevented them from clashing at the peak of their powers.

Terence Crawford (L) and Errol Spence have been on a collision course for the last four years

But they risk emulating Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao by not fighting at their peak

Crawford recently blamed Spence for their mega-fight collapsing earlier this year

Fast forward seven years and a near-identical scenario is playing out between welterweight champions Errol Spence and Terence Crawford. The unbeaten pair, two of the most talented and accomplished active fighters on the planet, have been on a collision course ever since Crawford joined Spence up at 147lbs and clinched the WBO title.

Just like with Mayweather and Pacquiao, Spence and Crawford’s failure to agree terms for a blockbuster fight craved by so many has left boxing fans pulling their hair out on numerous occasions.

The most infuriating setback came as recently as November, when negotiations which had progressed further than ever before came crashing down at the final hour.

Crawford blamed Spence and Spence blamed Crawford. The latter, a former champion at lightweight and unified king at light-welterweight, pointed the finger in a fiery video message shortly after, before his bitter rival hit back by refuting that version of events on Twitter.

Despite their beef, we’re still holding out hope that both parties can find common ground in 2023 and get this undisputed match-up over the line.

Little remains for either man to prove other than beating the other. Both Crawford and Spence, who holds three of the four recognised welterweight straps, are already amongst boxing’s leading pound-for-pound fighters after becoming unified and multi-weight champions. 

The only box left to tick is a legacy-defining grudge match for undisputed glory. Although the bragging rights may be even sweeter.


Crawford is considered by some as the leading pound-for-pound fighter on the planet

But Spence is also one of the world’s best, meaning a showdown between them would be epic

Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua

Given Fury and Usyk are set to be tied up for the majority of 2023 – with a rematch clause meaning the pair will likely share the ring twice next year – the best of the rest at heavyweight must fight amongst themselves to work out who gets first crack at the winner.

Joe Joyce has been named mandatory challenger for Usyk’s WBO belt, so expect the Juggernaut to be duly awarded a shot at that when the undisputed saga draws to a close.

However, Joyce could find himself competing for a vacant title if Wilder and Joshua finally slug it out next year.

Deontay Wilder (L) and Anthony Joshua (R) could finally meet in a heavyweight barnstormer

The crestfallen ex-champions, who both let their crowns slip in 2021 against Fury and Usyk respectively, can propel themselves straight to the front of the queue by knocking out the other in a heavy-handed encounter which is almost six years in the making. Given they both put more bums on seats than Joyce, it would be no surprise to see Fury or Usyk disregard the WBO and meet the victor of their clash instead.

Granted, when a meeting between them was previously mooted both fighters were dominant forces at the top of the heavyweight tree. Now neither man is in possession of a world title, but their knockout power and vulnerable defences, combined with superstar appeal, mean belts are surplus to requirements.

Wilder vs Joshua remains one of the greatest match-ups that can be put together in the sport, and with both heavyweights in need of a swift route back to the summit it makes more sense than ever.

Eddie Hearn insists team AJ are open to the fight, having received correspondence from Wilder’s representatives in November.

Wilder is on the comeback trail after suffering back-to-back defeats against Tyson Fury

Joshua, meanwhile, is plotting his return to the ring after losing to Oleksandr Usyk in August

 ‘I actually sent Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s promoter] an email back in August to talk about a deal and he actually replied to me yesterday,’ Hearn said at the time.

‘I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week, they can’t come, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight [back] for Anthony Joshua in all honesty, but he’s up for fighting anyone.

‘If he waits, he may go straight into that fight, it all depends on when he returns, if he returns early in the year, he’ll fight someone else first and if not he’ll go straight into the [Dillian] Whyte or Wilder fight.’

As things stand, Joshua will not be returning to the ring early in 2023. Does that mean we could be set for two heavyweight headliners next year?


Eddie Hearn has given the green light for his man to lock horns with Wilder in his next bout

Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol

Certain match-ups are impossible to call simply because it is too difficult to envisage a loser. And Beterbiev vs Bivol, the unstoppable force against the immovable object at light-heavyweight, falls straight into that category.

It may not generate the same number of ticket sales or PPV buys as the aforementioned contests, but there are few greater pugilistic battles to be made than this one right here.

Beterbiev, the Russian wrecking machine who still boasts a 100 per cent knockout ratio after 18 fights, has destroyed every opponent that has dared to take him on and, after amassing three of the four belts at 175lbs, looks virtually unbeatable right now. 

If any light-heavyweight is capable of toppling him, though, it is Bivol, the man who made Canelo Alvarez look mortal again by dominating the pound-for-pound great over 12 rounds in May.

Artur Beterbiev looks virtually unbeatable after claiming 18 knockout wins out of 18 so far

But if any light-heavyweight is capable of toppling Beterbiev it is fellow Russian star Bivol

But while that triumph made the casual audience sit up and take notice, the Russian is still seeking a true statement victory against someone his own size after 21 fights, along with another title to add to the WBA championship he has held since 2017.

Beterbiev, too, has so far only emerged victorious from fights he was widely expected to win, meaning all roads lead to an undisputed clash next year.

There is one last hurdle for Beterbiev to overcome, with a trip to London’s Wembley Arena in store next month for a title defence against Anthony Yarde, however the Brit is unlikely to throw a major spanner in the works.

Should he prevail as expected, the three-belt champion will be free to turn his attention to Bivol and an undisputed encounter which would pit Batman against Superman at light-heavyweight.


Beterbiev must first get past Anthony Yarde, but if he does a clash with Bivol should come next

Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia 

According to both parties, American lightweight sensations Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia have already signed off on a mouthwatering grudge match for 2023.

Davis and Garcia took to social media in November to confirm they will collide in Las Vegas next April, providing the former comes through his tune-up bout against another Garcia, Hector, on January 7.

Should the mega-fight go ahead as scheduled, it will undoubtedly represent the toughest test of each man’s career thus far.

Davis, the former Floyd Mayweather fighter who has amassed world championships in two weight classes, is a devastating puncher with 25 knockouts coming in 27 professional victories.

Ryan Garcia (L) and Gervonta Davis (R) have confirmed they will take to the ring in April 2023 

As for Garcia, the 24-year-old has showed flashes of his breathtaking speed and power in impressive wins over Javier Fortuna and Luke Campbell, though he is yet to taste world glory.

His first title shot now beckons against Davis in Sin City, with the WBA Super lightweight strap set to be up for grabs so long as the champion enjoys a successful defence next month.

Davis believes his rival is missing an opportunity by not taking a tune-up fight beforehand, ramping up the mind games by branding him ‘lazy’ ahead of their eagerly-awaited showdown.

‘I think Ryan’s being lazy not taking a fight before our fight,’ he said. 

Davis is a devastating puncher who has claimed 25 knockouts in his 25 professional victories

Garcia also has power in both hands, but the 24-year-old is yet to pick up a world title

‘I don’t know. When he was coming up, he was in the gym and everything, and now he’s got some money and a little bit of fame, and he’s partying and stuff like that. 

‘It happens to a majority of us, but it’s for him to tighten up before it’s too late.’

Fittingly, boxing has the tendency to floor you when you least expect it and send pre-arranged plans crashing to the canvas. Hopefully that won’t be the case where Davis vs Garcia is concerned and we will see the pair step into the ring as anticipated.


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