By: Michael Cooke
2017 was a historic year for the sport of boxing. From the heavyweight division all the way down to the Flyweights we saw the best fighting the best, and great fight after great fight. Joshua vs Klitschko, Canelo vs GGG, Thurman vs Garcia, Superfly 1, Lomachenko vs Rigo, Spence vs Brook, and of course the rematch between the top 2 Light Heavyweights and top Pound 4 Pound fighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Despite being knocked down early in their first fight Andre Ward came back to win on scores of 114-113 across the board. The decision was highly disputed and led to a 2017 rematch that saw Andre Ward out-work Kovalev to the body and eventually winning by stoppage in the 8th round despite the Krusher never hitting the canvas.
After that fight Andre Ward vacated the WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles and announced his retirement from boxing; leaving the Light Heavyweight division completely up for grabs. Adonis Stevenson holds the WBC title but hasn’t fought a top contender in what seems life forever, and the rest of the titles were left vacant following Ward’s retirement.
Even though Light Heavyweight lost their top guy in Ward there was no shortage of talent at the top. Sergey Kovalev has since regained the WBO title, Artur Beterbiev has claimed the IBF title, and Dmitry Bivol has dominated thus far and has won WBA title in the process.
Which brings us to where we are right now: Outside of the champions we have former WBA and former Super Middleweight champion Badou Jack is challenging Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title, the talented Sullivan Barrera has only lost to Andre Ward and will now challenge the young talented Dmitry Bivol on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev’s WBO defense against Igor Mikhalkin. American prospect and former Olympian Marcus Browne is ready to challenge for a title, and so is the talented Oleksandr Gvozdyk. The division is on fire right now, and if the best continue to fight the best than the 175 lb division looks like it may be able to compete with 147 as the most exciting division in boxing.
WBC: Champion: Adonis Stevenson vs Badou Jack on May 19th
WBA: Champion: Dmitry Bivol vs Sullivan Barrera on March 3rd
IBF: Champion Artur Beterbiev – No Fight Date/Opponent Currently
WBO: Champion Sergey Kovalev vs Igor Mikhalkin on March 3rd
Other Top Contenders: Marcus Browne, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Eleider Alvarez, and Joe Smith Jr
Prospect to Watch : Anthony Yarde