It can’t be overstated how big of a year 2023 was for boxing. We saw the best fight the best. Not one but two boxers became undisputed champions in two weight divisions with Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue. And we had undisputed champions fight each other including the first men, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Jermell Charlo, in the four-belt era. So how do the 2024 boxing futures shape up? It looks promising to start.
It Starts With the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship
Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk finally fight to unify all the belts in the heavyweight divisions on February 17. Fury will put his WBC title on the line while Usyk defends his WBA (super), IBF, and WBO titles. The winner will become the first ever undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era and the first since Lennox Lewis over 23 years ago.
Thus far, the early boxing odds favor Fury slightly at -140. But this is not unfamiliar to Usyk who upset Anthony Joshua to win the unified titles as a 2-1 underdog in their first bout. Should Usyk pull it off again, he’ll become the third boxer to become undisputed champion in a second weight class in the past seven months.
Crawford-Spence II Headlines Big Rematches For 2024
Speaking of undisputed titlists, Crawford should defend his newly won welterweight belts in a rematch versus Errol Spence Jr. some time this 2024. The 2024 boxing futures should have Crawford as a wider favorite this time given the beating he gave Spence. It’s still unclear when this happens though it is a given that the former unified champ exercises his rematch clause.
Inoue, on the other hand, is eyeing bigger fights alongside his manager Hideyuki Ohashi. The latter threw out places like the Tokyo Dome and Saudi Arabia as potential venues for the newly-minted undisputed super bantamweight champion.
Quickly rising as one of the greatest boxing fighters of his era, Inoue has mentioned the likes of Luis Nery, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, and John Riel Casimero as potential opponents. All three are former champions. Akhmadaliev was formerly the unified super bantamweight champ while Casimero is a three-division champion and one who has beefed with Inoue since 2019.
On the women’s front, we can expect Katie Taylor to complete the trilogy with Chantelle Cameron. They split their two fights in 2023, which also saw Taylor become an undisputed champion in a second weight class. The underdogs won on both bouts. If this trend continues, Cameron should recapture her belts as the +105 underdog per the early lines.
Canelo, Devin Haney, and the Best of the Rest
A look at the 2024 boxing futures will not be complete without an update on Canelo. He does not have an opponent booked though he is expected to compete on May 5, which is the celebrate “Cinco de Mayo” for Mexicans. This should be one of the bigger boxing events of 2024 so a high-profile opponent like David Benavidez is the likeliest fight. Early odds have Canelo favored at -210.
Devin Haney, on the other hand, could go a variety of ways after winning a title in a second weight class. He could look to unify against three of the other four champions. But a fight with Teofimo Lopez, the WBO champion, could be the biggest here.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis has also hollered at both Haney and Shakur Stevenson, the undefeated three-division champion. Fans would love nothing more than to see these three tussle at some point. But only God knows who Davis and Stevenson will fight next. The latter has dominated lesser-known opposition while Davis just thrashed Ryan Garcia in a lopsided “superfight”.
In other circles, Jake Paul and Francis Ngannou should continue to figure prominently in the boxing scene. Paul, the celebrity-turned-boxer, continues to make quick work of low-ranked boxers while Ngannou’s next bout is highly anticipated after he came close to upsetting Fury as a +950 underdog.