Boxing has long been criticised for one-sided matches where the best do not fight against the best. 2023 has done its best to buck that trend, crowning a number of undisputed champions throughout the course of the year.
However, the one division fight fans wanted to see unified remains divided. That, of course, is the heavyweight division. At the start of the year, it looked as though a unification clash between Britain’s WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and the man who holds the rest of the straps, Oleksandr Usyk, was a mere formality. Fast forward nine months and a deal between the two is nowhere near fruition. The Gypsy King is slated to face off against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, while the talented Ukrainian champion recently defended his straps with a controversial victory over Daniel Dubois.
But while the heavyweight division remains divided, plenty of other divisions are not. Let’s meet boxing’s current undisputed champions.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez - Super Middleweight
Canelo is boxing’s biggest pay-per-view draw, and he unified the super middleweight division in 2021. He picked up titles with stoppage victories against Billy-Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant, adding the WBO and IBF titles to the WBA and WBC straps he already owned. His next bout will take place on October 1st, and websites providing Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo betting currently make him a 1/4 favourite to retain the gold.
Whether he remains in the division for much longer remains to be seen. The Mexican star suffered a shocking loss to Dmitry Bivol in the light heavyweight division last May, and many experts have speculated that a rematch with the talented Russian could well be on the cards. If he does choose to remain at 168 pounds, then a ready-made challenger in the form of the 6'2 David Benavidez is also an opponent that has been mooted.
Jermell Charlo - Light Middleweight
Speaking of Canelo's next opponent, Jermell Charlo is an undisputed champion in his own right. He reigns supreme at 154 pounds having picked up all the marbles in his division in recent years. He lost his WBC title in a shocking upset against Tony Harrison, before regaining the green belt with a knockout victory in their rematch in December 2019. Since then, he has knocked out both Jeison Rosario and Brian Castaño to be called the undisputed champion.
Terence Crawford - Welterweight
For years, the debate as to who is the best welterweight fighter in the world raged on. Icons of the sport in the form of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquaio turned the 147-pound division into a marquee weight class. But who was the new king?
Was it former undisputed light welterweight king Terence Crawford or was it the talented Errol Spence Jr.? Well, that debate was settled in convincing fashion earlier this year as the pair squared off for all the gold. With many experts predicting an even fight, Crawford dominated his younger opponent, dropping him three times en route to a ninth-round stoppage victory.