These eight fighters listed below are, for the most part already known the majority of fight fans, but year 2013 should hopefully be a year where all of them will either have a big year, or make significant steps in their careers.
Frampton had a solid 2012, fighting four times and getting himself into the IBF world rankings with a win over previously unbeaten Mexican, Raul Hirales. However it was his win over former world champion Steve Molitor that was most impressive. For six rounds Frampton bullied him and beat him up. What is most telling, to me, is that Frampton has displayed that he is comfortable on the front-foot and off the back-foot. It’s this versatility that will serve him well as he moves forward. Next up for Frampton is Kiko Martinez in February for the European title. I’m not expecting Frampton to challenge for world honours this year, but I expect him to make significant strides towards that goal.
Quigg picked up the WBA interim belt with a 6th round stoppage over Rendall Munroe. Quigg, still unbeaten, is now moving into territory where his opponents will become tougher and present different challenges. This should be a big year for Quigg and I expect him to fight a known world-ranked opponent. A bout with fellow super-bantamweight Carl Frampton has been spoken about, and it’s a fight that I’d love to see. I understand the whole ‘if you wait then it becomes a bigger fight’ thing, but I say get it on. I’d rather see them fight now than not at all.
Right, let’s be clear from the start here. If you follow me on twitter (@boxingbill4) you’ll know that, to say the least, I am a fan of James DeGale. But he’s not in here because of that. He’s in here because I believe this is the year that he will push on and show us what he can do; hopefully with improvements in his game. He’s under a new promoter now – Mick Hennessy – who seems intent on keeping him busy and getting him fights that will steadily improve him as a fighter. There’s a long way to go before James is ready for a world title shot, but I’m expecting a name of some value to stand across from him at some-point.
James DeGale’s real-life rival George Groves had, all things considered, a fairly decent 2012. He suffered with injuries, thus only fought twice, but he made strides in his career. He was introduced to the American public with his win over Francisco Sierra, and he bested Glen Johnson over 12 rounds in December. With a high ranking in the WBO, don’t be surprised to see him become a mandatory challenger for Arthur Abraham and fight him in the summer.
The announcement of Price’s fight with Tony Thompson shows a step-up in opposition. But that isn’t saying much. I’m not convinced Thompson will test Price and I’ll be surprised if the fight lasts longer than five rounds, but it’s a step-up, and a ‘name’, for Price. The hope is that this year Frank Maloney puts Price in with live opponents as opposed to just ‘names.’
The British bantamweight is only 6 fights old in the sport but he’s impressed in every one of those fights. Domestically his division is weak, aside from Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins, but a fight with Stuart Hall at some-point is a good one to make and will tell us a lot about him.
He’s an easy guy to dislike for numerous reasons, but he can fight. He had a fairly decent 2012 with-out doing anything spectacular, but he’s getting himself into top condition for his fights now and looks to have his mind fully on the job. A world title fight may not be too far away for Fury, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fight for a belt at the end of this year.
Billy Joe Saunders
Having just captured the British title, it’s likely he’ll make a routine defence and then, hopefully have a showdown with John Ryder. I expect Saunders to move onto the European scene by the end of the year and challenge for that honour.