Cooper’s One’s To Watch In 2018
2018 is upon us and we have some great action already in our diaries for the coming weeks. 2017 was a great year for our sport, we were certainly spoilt with a lot of great fights and great nights. There were a plethora of fighters who’s stock rose over those 12 months. Today I want to give my take on 5 fighters I think could do the same this year.
1) Marcus Browne – We get to see Browne very early on this year on the undercard of Spence/Peterson in just a few weeks’ time. Browne who debuted alongside Errol Spence Jr and Dominic Breazeale in 2012 came back in 2017 with a vengeance. A long layoff after a poor performance in 2016 reinvigorated the Staten Island Native. Demolishing both Sean Monaghan and Thomas Williams Jr in a combined total of 8 rounds last year. With 20 wins and 15 KO’s to his name, Browne will hope to get a title shot this year. His best chance of which seems to be trying to take on the winner of fellow PBC fighters Adonis Stevenson or Badou Jack.
2) Chris Eubank Jr – 2018 could be this young man’s breakout year. Last night on 3KingsBoxing.com’s affiliate, Truth and Facts about Boxing* (link below) we discussed what 2017 did for his career. 3 fights and 3 wins in 2017 saw Eubank Jr enter the Super Middleweight division, claim the IBO title and ascend to the semi-finals of the WBSS. He takes on George Groves in a little over a month, with Groves WBA title on the line. A place in the final and the possibility of adding the WBC diamond title. Whilst I have been critical of him in the past. His sheer work rate and self-belief have convinced me that this year could really be the making of him.
3) Shakur Stevenson – What a debut year this young man had. He’s already fought on the big stages in his young career fighting at the Stub Hub and MSG. There is an awful lot to like about this young bull. He’s quick, he’s slick and he’s got an awful lot of pop. Personally I’d like to see him take on Michael Conlan at the end of the year. A fight I hope Mr Arum makes.
4) Josh Kelly – This is my guy for the future of British Boxing. 5 fights in 8 months, 3 stoppages, 1 KO and a lot to like. You can tell he is an Adam Booth trained fighter, the way he moves around the ring is very reminiscent of what you used to see in David Haye, and still see in George Groves. I expect him to be pushed on and possibly in the British Welterweight Title picture by the end of the year where fighters like Sam Eggington or Frankie Gavin await.
5) Josh Taylor – What a 2017 for the Scotsman! A debut in Vegas, retaining his Commonwealth title and upsetting and upstaging one Ohara Davies. His stock rose just on the basis of how much Davies is hated. A KO victory of former lightweight champ Miguel Vazquez answered a few questions but Taylor wore him down. His first stop in 2018 should be trying to chase down a shot at British Champ Jack Catterall, but given Warren is Catterall’s promoter and Hearn is Taylor’s I could easily see him chasing euro glory.
By: Aaron Cooper