Thirteen reasons to be cheerful

Luke G. Williams
24/02/2017 2:10pm

Boxing in 2017 has begun with a bang, and there's plenty more intriguing and potentially explosive action in store over the next few weeks... Luke G. Williams picks out 13 key clashes between now and June...

Feb 24: Oslo - Cecilia Braekhus vs Klara Svensson:
The world's number one pound-for-pound female boxer in Braekhus puts her titles and status on the line against her Nordic rival Svensson aka the 'Swedish Princess'. A crowd of over 10,000 is expected as the Scandinavian boxing renaissance gathers pace. Prediction: Braekhus by closely contested points decision

Mar 4: London - Tony Bellew vs David Haye:
A controversial choice, perhaps, as for many people this contest is an irrelevance or an embarrassment. I beg to differ - grudge matches, hype and press conference histrionics have long been a part of boxing and will remain so. Here we have two explosive punchers with bad intentions - it may not last long but it will surely be entertaining while it lasts. Prediction: Haye by stoppage within five

Mar 4: New York - Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia:
A welterweight showdown between two unbeaten and accomplished pugilists with free-to-air coverage in the United States. Perhaps the most important fight of the year for the sport in the USA. Prediction: Thurman on points after a back and forth tussle

Mar. 18: New York - Gennady Golovkin vs Daniel Jacobs, Roman Gonzalez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Carlos Cuadras vs. David Carmona:
A hard to better triple header here - GGG faces the biggest challenge of his career so far, while Gonzalez and Cuadras are showcased as we build towards a rematch of their memorable showdown from last year. Prediction: GGG by late stoppage after a gruelling battle, Gonzalez and Cuadras with relative ease

Mar. 25: Manchester - Jorge Linares vs Anthony Crolla:
An intriguing rematch of their thrilling showdown from last year, with Mikey Garcia or Terry Flanagan perhaps lying menacingly in wait for the victor. Senitmental favourite Crolla will look to summon hometown support as he seeks to write a further chapter in his fairytale career. Prediction: Crolla to make the necessary adjustments and gain revenge on points

Apr 1: Joseph Parker vs Hughie Fury:
Parker seems to be making something of a habit of taking on unproven but undefeated prospects - just the sort of thing we welcome in the heavyweight division. His success in becoming WBO champion has caused a major splash in New Zealand and this will be another huge event 'down under'. Prediction: Parker on points

Apr 8: Oxon Hill - Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jason Sosa:
Quite simply Lomachenko is the most exciting figure in world boxing today. Watch and marvel. Prediction: Lomachenko by stoppage within six

Apr 15: Glasgow - Ricky Burns vs Julius Indongo:
Intriguing unification clash between salt of the earth local hero Burns and rags to riches, one-punch wonder Indongo. A genuinely unpredictable match-up, largely because all most of us have seen of Indongo was less than one minute of action in Russia last year. Prediction: Indongo by mid-rounds stoppage

Apr 29: London - Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko:
In the absence of Tyson Fury the victor here has a good case to be seen as the best active fighter in the heavyweight division. With around 90,000 in attendance this is the biggest boxing event of the year. Prediction: AJ by mid-rounds stoppage

May 6: Las Vegas - Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.:
A novelty contest, sure, but it's a pretty interesting novelty. Seeing how Canelo shapes up with (even more) bulk will be interesting, as will whether Chavez Jr bothers to prepare properly. This all-Mexican showdown brings the guarantee of a great 'Cinco de Mayo' atmosphere. Prediction: Alvarez by late stoppage

May 27: Sheffield - Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr.:
Perhaps the best match-up of them all - after tussling with GGG, Brook returns to welter with questions about whether he will be weight-weakened. Spence looks the real deal but we don't yet know for sure... Prediction: Spence by tight points decision