Boxing’s biggest stars will return to action next year and The Panel have revealed their dream wishlist of fights for 2018.
Gennady Golovkin is expected to battle Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for a second time, while America’s No 1 Terence Crawford will pick his next opponent, and Britain’s best fighters can also continue their rise.
We asked our panel of experts to pick the fight they most want to see in the next 12 months…
Heavy pre-fight favorite George Groves retained his WBA super middleweight title with a fourth-round knockout of Jamie Cox at the Wembley Arena in London on Saturday and now looks forward to a World Boxing Super Series semi-final against Chris Eubank Jr.
Groves, who is rated No. 3 by THE RING at 168 pounds, ended the fight with a catch and shoot counter punch. Cox, a southpaw, led with a right hook which Groves deflected off the gloves before unleashing a sickening right uppercut to the solar plexus. Referee Steve Gray counted Cox out and the official time was 1:42.
“I didn’t want an easy fight and I knew Jamie was tough,” said Groves in his post-fight interview with ITV Box Office. “I was landing big body shots and you can’t keep giving me a target to the body because I might get you down and you might not get up.”
It was an entertaining fight while it lasted. Groves was controlling the opening session with quick shots from the outside when a sharp left hand from Cox landed flush. The pair slugged it out for the remainder of the session and Cox had displayed serious intent.
The challenger trapped Groves against the ropes in the second and released a series of rapid-fire combinations. Not all of them were landing, but Groves was under pressure and looked eager to establish time and distance.
In the third, Groves succeeded in slowing the pace and when Cox attempted to go through the gears again in the fourth, the air was sucked from his lungs with a superb punch.
The 29-year-old Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) won the vacant title in May at the expense of former titleholder Fedor Chudinov. It was his fourth attempt at world honors and a poignant moment for the Englishman and his team at Bramall Lane soccer stadium in Sheffield.
Chris Eubank Jr. confirmed his place in the WBSS semi-final by blasting out the previously unbeaten Avni Yildirim in three rounds last week. It was arguably a career-best performance by the enigmatic Eubank and a matchup with Groves promises to be a thunderous collision. They will face off in early 2018.
“Eubank has been a sparring partner of mine in the past,” said Groves when Eubank confronted his countryman in the ring. “A lot was made of the size difference in this fight and I knew Jamie couldn’t beat me. The same goes for Eubank Jr., he’s not big enough.”
This was Cox’s first defeat. At 31 years of age, he can come again.