Talking Boxing

Interviews, opinions, features and news from the greatest sport in the world!

January 2, 2017

Mark Your Calendar: January 2017

Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas

by Shaun Brown

Happy New Year!

Now that’s out of the way we can look forward to boxing in 2017. Big fights, unifications, prospects on the rise, the cruiserweights – God love ‘em, and much more. Plenty to look forward to, plenty for your teeth to be removed from the gluttony of the festive period and to get stuck into what looks like a bumper year for the sport.

We kick things off with January. From Brooklyn to Preston, Vegas to Macau there is plenty to look forward to. Get out your phones, your tablets or even the old-fashioned kind that you put on your wall. Mark Your Calendar!

When: Friday, January 13
Where: Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, Hialeah, Florida
Who: Erislandy Lara v Yuri Foreman
Titles: WBA/IBO super welterweight titles

Okay, so January doesn’t exactly kick off with a bang. Lara v Foreman doesn’t exactly set the pulses racing, and God only knows how Foreman is getting a title shot but there’s no denying the skill set of Lara and he will be looking at this to be a stop gap before bigger and better things in 2017. Former world title holders Anthony Dirrell and Juan Carlos Payano appear on the undercard.

When: Saturday, January 14
Where: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, New York
Who: James DeGale v Badou Jack
Titles: IBF/WBC super middleweight titles

Now you’re talking. The two best super middleweights in the world putting it all on the line to determine who is number one. Not only that but a real 50-50 to many despite the awfully skinny odds of 4/11 on DeGale, and the tempting 2/1 on Jack. A main event that is well supported by the fascinating Jose Pedraza-Gervonta Davis IBF super featherweight title clash, and the appearance of Ukranian middleweight star Ievgen Khytrov who could be looking at a world title shot in 2017.

When: Friday, January 20
Where: Grand Casino, Hinckley, Minnesota
Who: Rob Brant v George Carter Jr
Titles: WBA-NABA middleweight title

Rob ‘Bravo’ Brant is beginning to catch people’s attention. A National Golden Gloves champion, Brant almost put DeCarlo Perez completely through the ropes at the Casino Del Sol, Tucson at the start of 2016 with a KO of the year candidate. Brant’s stock is on the rise and was linked to a world title shot against WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders in 2016. Brant sits at 3 and 5 inside the WBA and WBO rankings respectively.

When: Saturday, January 21
Where: Guild Hall, Preston (UK)
Who: Robbie Davies Jr v Willie Limond
Titles: WBA Continental super lightweight title

Before Chris Eubank Jr makes his debut on the newly established ITV Box Office channel, the free-to-air ITV4 will stage this fascinating 140lbs clash between rising star (Davies Jr) and veteran (Limond). Davies Jr. is part of a blossoming stock of super lightweights in the UK featuring Josh Taylor, Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies. Limond has been there, done that and has the capabilities to be a banana skin.

When: January 28
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Who: Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz
Titles: WBA Super world featherweight title

Their first encounter back in July was a 2016 fight of the year contender, and saw Frampton become a two-weight world champion. The rematch promises the same fireworks, possibly even more. If that’s not enough for you then how about Dejan Zlaticanin v Mikey Garcia (WBC lightweight title) on the undercard, Lee Selby v Jonathan Barros (IBF featherweight title) and prospects Josh Taylor and David Benavidez. What a night in store.

When: January 28
Where: Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California
Who: Francisco Vargas v Miguel Berchelt
Titles: WBC super featherweight title

Vargas took the fight of the year honours for 2016 along with Orlando Salido after the pair provided hellacious action out in Carson. Vargas-Berchelt might not reach similar levels of Jim Lampley superlatives but it won’t be dull. Takashi Miura, who was involved in a 2015 FOTY contender with Vargas, returns to action against Miguel Roman after a very quiet 2016 (a KO1 v Jimmy Borbon). Tureano Johnson returns to the middleweight fold after an enforced period out, keep an eye out for Diego De La Hoya on the undercard too.

When: January 29
Where: Macau, China
Who: Jerwin Ancajas v Jose Rodriguez
Titles: IBF super flyweight title

Ancajas joined the deep waters of champions at 115lbs after a thoroughly impressive win over McJoe Arroyo in September 2016. With the IBF strap in hand, Ancajas’ first defence looks decidedly easier against Rodriguez, who has lost more often than not each time he has stepped up in class. Ancajas, Kal Yafai, Naoya Inoue and Roman Gonzalez make up a fab four of world champions at super flyweight. Some unifications in 2017 would be nice!