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The Year Comes To a Close: Reasons To Be Cheerful

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By Tris Dixon

It’s that time of year, where you mix moments of reflection with segments of unadulterated optimism.

It’s when you cast your mind back, as fight fans, to the highs that justify your faith in this, the noblest of arts, while kicking yourself at how the sport managed to again kick itself in the shins.

Yet for every disaster, erroneous scorecard or failed attempt to create a match of our dreams, we somehow often manage to shovel negativity to the rear of our mind’s eye and positively stare into next year, looking for triumphs from boxing on a weekly basis.

And, of course, there are grounds for optimism. Even the most deluded of us always have grounds for hoping the next year will be the best one yet.

But potentially 2018 really could be something special.

Start from the big guys and work down. There are positive noises about Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker staking their claims to dominate the heavyweight division while Tyson Fury looms large as the lineal champion saying all the right things about a spring comeback.

At cruiser, the WBSS will continue to give the fans what they want. Usyk faces Briedis and Gassiev meets Dorticos in contests for the purists.

At light-heavy, the names in the hat include Sergey Kovalev, Badou Jack, Sullivan Barrera, Bivol and Beterbiev.

The WBSS also caters for the fans at 168lbs, where the mouthwatering clash between Groves and Eubank is set to illuminate British boxing while Callum Smith’s imperious rise is scheduled to continue against Braehmer.

Down at middleweight, will we see Canelo-Govokin again? Does the timing now favour the Mexican? Will there be further controversy? Will Danny Jacobs make a big move, and what now for Billy Joe Saunders, who dazzled so brightly against David Lemieux? Will Jermall Charlo be able to put a dent in the division?

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Six pounds south, will his brother Jermell continue to clean up, will Kell Brook be able to get his mojo back north of 147 and will Jarrett Hurd land a big fight? 

Back down at welter, where Keith Thurman returns from a long injury layoff, Danny Garcia kicks off his ’18 campaign against Brandon Rios and Errol Spence meets Lamont Peterson next month. Amir Khan is also set to return, in the UK, having not fought since his spectacular loss to Canelo.

Then things really start to pick up when you move down in size, entering the likes of pound for pounders Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia, Vasyl Lomachenko between junior-welterweight and junior-lightweight.

Will there be a featherweight tournament, with the likes of Lee Selby, Carl Frampton, Kid Galahad, Nonito Donaire and Leo Santa Cruz getting involved?

Will Zolani Tete land a meaningful fight at bantamweight, and will it be against Irish hotshot Ryan Burnett? At super-flyweight, who else is excited to see if Sor Rungvisai can carry on from where he left off, hopefully against Nayoa Inoue should he successfully negotiate his way by Juan Franciso Estrada.

Of course, talents will emerge and aging champions will fall and retire. This year alone we have bid farewell to Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather, Wladimir Klitschko, Timothy Bradley, Andre Ward and Miguel Cotto.

We know there might not be much time left in the boxing career of Manny Pacquiao, too.

Torches will be passed next year and boxing will endure.

Time might be running out for the likes of Adonis Stevenson, Jorge Linares and Erislandy Lara. It won’t be all good; it never is. But 2017 leaves us with enough hope and cautious optimism to make one stop and think that things might be improving.

You may be cynical and need to look hard for it but, hey, it’s Christmas Eve. Close your eyes and hope for the best.

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by The D3vil on 12-26-2017

I'm so grateful for this is the greatest boxing year in many. I remember being so disappointed after 2015 & 2016, but 2017 has saved the sport. You mark my words, in 20 years from now, we'll talk about 2017…

Comment by Hot Shyt on 12-26-2017

Benavides/Gavril rematch should be good too

Comment by Shadoww702 on 12-25-2017

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;18360282]The first four you listed are all great matchups. 2018 is already off to a great start with that alone. And people are sleeping on Errol Spence Jr vs Lamont Peterson in January. I expect that to be a competitive…

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 12-25-2017

[QUOTE=Randall Cunning;18360364] Though Im ****ing drunk at the moment. Got a pair of wellys and socks for xmas, bull**** make any man salty.[/QUOTE] :lol1: My condolences.

Comment by Randall Cunning on 12-25-2017

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;18360282]The first four you listed are all great matchups. 2018 is already off to a great start with that alone. And people are sleeping on Errol Spence Jr vs Lamont Peterson in January. I expect that to be a competitive…

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Top Headlines Horn's Promoter Warns: Crawford Will Regret Moving Up To 147! Beterbiev Looks Forward To Kovalev Bout, Denies Rejecting Him Video: Errol Spence Talks Peterson, Welterweight Division Video: Freddie Roach Talks Pacquiao-Lomachenko, Crawford Arum: Lomachenko's Father Must Approve 140 For Pacquiao Bout Crawford-Horn, Pacquiao-TBA is Fully Ruled Out For Las Vegas Gvozdyk vs. Amar For WBC Interim-Title on March 17, ESPN Lomachenko Voted in as BWAA 2017 "Fighter of The Year" Fortuna Fails to Make Weight Again; Easter's Title Not at Stake Photos: Browne vs. Ntetu, Kownacki vs. Kiladze - Official Weights Mikey Garcia vs. Sergey Lipinets Rescheduled To March 10 Photos: Robert Easter, Javier Fortuna - Ready For Fireworks Battle Photos: Errol Spence, Lamont Peterson - Ready For Barclays War O'Sullivan Hopes For Jacobs, Confident He'll KO Eubank in Rematch Murray Ready For Saunders: I Have One Legit Loss at 160 - GGG Jose Ramirez, Amir Imam Deal Reached Before Purse Bid Fortuna Blames Weather for Missing Weight for Easter Fight Hearn: If Tyson Fury Wants Joshua in The Summer - No Problem Ohara Davies Inks Pact With MTK, Very Apologetic Over Mishaps Horn's Promoter: I Hope Teddy Atlas NEVER Gets New Job On-Air! LIVE STREAM: Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson Official Weigh-In Kell Brook Eyes Khan, Hopes To Make Big Splash at 154-Pounds Paul Butler Back On Okolie vs. Chamberlain Card, Feb 3 In London Billy Joe Saunders vs. Martin Murray on April 14, O2 Arena Tyson Fury To Regain His License To Box From BBBoC Jamal James Reflects on KO of Chaves, Open To Face Jessie Vargas Easter: Lomachenko Wouldn't Beat Me; Don’t Think It'll Happen Spence: Thurman, Garcia, Porter Wouldn't Answer Call to Fight Me Browne: Whyte is Like Mundine - Sh*t Talks His Way Into Fights! Josh Taylor: I Think Humberto Soto is Tougher Fight Than Vazquez Gorman Feels Dubois Fight is "Bound To Happen Down The Line" Parker: Trash Talk Helped Make Fight, But I Feel I Can KO Joshua Filip Hrgovic vs. Tom Little Added To Usyk-Briedis Card Sanchez: GGG Couldn't Go To Body, Canelo Was Nearly Running! Can Spence Overpower Peterson, Demolish Him Way Matthysse Did? James DeGale To Trigger Rematch Clause With Caleb Truax Team Horn Embrace Fighting Terence Crawford at MSG in April Fortuna: No Excuses From Easter - The IBF Belt Will Come To DR Trainer: Spence is Hardest Puncher I've Seen - Breaks Faces, Ribs! Mijares Reacts To Berchelt, May Face Papito Vazquez on March 17
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