Best Boxing Bouts to Look Forward to in 2023
This is the year for boxing to shine. After a relatively slow 2022 made slower by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the sweet science is due for a breakout 2023 campaign. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be treated to some of the best boxing bouts we’ve seen in a while, featuring the biggest names and the best fighters in the world.
We’ve already got some amazing matches lined up for you at Bodog Sportsbook. Here’s our list of the top five bouts that have officially been added to the calendar, plus two more that promise to be this year’s marquee main events – if they can get everyone to sign on the dotted line.
January 7: Gervonta Davis vs. Hector Luis Garcia
We begin right away with Saturday’s battle on Showtime PPV between Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), the reigning WBA World Lightweight title-holder, and challenger Garcia (19-0, 3 NC, 10 KOs), who also holds the WBA Super Featherweight belt. The larger Davis is naturally carrying a lot of chalk into the ring as Bodog’s –1800 favourite at press time.
Garcia (+775) is no tomato can, though. He’s the world’s No. 2 fighter at 130 pounds according to Ring Magazine, behind only Oscar Valdez; Garcia has fought over 300 times as an amateur, and can use that experience to his advantage in this southpaw vs. southpaw battle at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
January 21: Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Liam Smith
There will be no shortage of star power at the AO Arena in Manchester when Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs) makes his long-awaited return after nearly a year away from the ring. The former champion at middleweight and super-middleweight will face Smith (32-3-1, 19 KOs) in what he hopes will be a stepping stone to a fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
First, Eubank (–260) has to get past the former WBO Light-Middleweight champion. Smith (+195) has his own motivation for taking this fight: If he wins, the rematch could be in his hometown of Liverpool, in front of 50,000-plus fans at Anfield – which could easily go down as one of the best boxing bouts in recent times. Smith’s recent move up to 160 pounds should also be less of a factor than advertised once both fighters bulk up after the weigh-ins.
January 28: Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde
Three light heavyweight titles will be on the line at London’s OVO Arena Wembley when WBC, IBF and WBO champion Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) touches gloves with Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs), the local hero and current Commonwealth champ at 175 pounds.
Again, Beterbiev is the heavy favourite at –1000 as we go to press, but Yarde has the speed and punching power to be considered a serious “live dog” in this fight. Beterbiev officially became a Canadian citizen last year, having fought out of Montreal for 15 years, but he’s very much linked to his native Chechnya; if –1000 is too chalky for you, Beterbiev is –300 to win by KO/TKO/DQ and extend his unbroken stoppage streak.
February 11: Rey Vargas vs. O’Shaquie Foster
Our next big fight is in San Antonio, where Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) will take on Foster (19-2, 11 KOs) at the Alamodome for the vacant WBC Super Featherweight title. Vargas is already the WBC champion at 122 and 126 pounds; the boxing odds for this matchup are pending at press time, but he should easily be the favourite over Foster, who will be in his first-ever major title fight – he’s the current WBC Silver champ at 130 pounds.
March 4: Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall
There are mixed reports whether this fight has been made official yet, but by all accounts, it looks like Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) and Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) will finally get their rematch at the OVO Hydro Arena in Glasgow – the same venue where Taylor staved off Catterall’s challenge for the undisputed light welterweight title in a highly controversial split decision in what was one of the best boxing bouts of 2022.
Taylor was the –1400 favourite on the boxing lines at Bodog for their first match, but those odds should be considerably longer after Catterall out-boxed Taylor last February. Let’s hope this fight actually comes through; it’s already been delayed twice, first by Taylor injuring his knee, and again when Sky Sports decided they didn’t want this PPV happening so soon after Eubank-Smith.
BONUS: Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk
All five fights we’ve mentioned thus far are must-see events for boxing fans, but this is the one everyone’s looking forward to the most. Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) is the reigning WBC Heavyweight champion and one of the most popular figures in the sport. Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) is the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer according to Ring Magazine, and holds the other major heavyweight titles after back-to-back wins over Anthony Joshua in 2021 and 2022.
The tricky thing about this match is the money. Both fighters are negotiating with the Saudi Arabia government to fund this contest, with Usyk reportedly already closing his side of the deal and Fury still in talks at press time. All indications are they’ll meet sometime this spring in a title unification bout for the ages.
BONUS: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford
This dream welterweight fight has to happen sometime. They almost went at it last November in Las Vegas, but Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs), the WBO champion and No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter at Ring Magazine, pulled out because of issues over the contract offered by No. 4-ranked Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), the WBC, IBF and WBA champion.
These two gentlemen did have an agreement at one point, though, and there’s no reason to think they can’t smooth over their differences and deliver one of the biggest fights to ever hit the boxing odds board at Bodog Sportsbook – even if we have to wait until the tail end of 2023.