5 Underrated Featherweights To Watch Out For In 2023
The featherweight division is a stacked division full of some potentially memorable match ups. At Big Fight Weekend, we are looking at the most underrated featherweights to look for in 2023. We have already shown you various weight classes in our underrated series, and the featherweight division is full of some potential mouth watering contests. Will Oscar Valdez bounce back after his points loss to Shakur Stevenson? Will Michael Conlan avenge his loss to Leigh Wood? 2023 promises to be an eventful year for the division.
Featherweights to Look For in 2023
"Leigh Wood deserves a rematch." 🤝
— iD Boxing (@idboxingnews) March 20, 2023
Leigh Wood has enjoyed a truly memorable time since his points loss to Jazza Dickens in early 2020. He won the vacant British featherweight title with a ninth round TKO win over Reece Mould. “Leigh-thal” followed this up with a sensational last round TKO victory over Xu Can. The memorable win ensured the Nottingham fighter captured the WBA regular featherweight world title. Wood was in front on all the scorecards, and boxed superbly throughout and showed plenty of heart and courage, and his shot selection was excellent the whole flight.
Despite the recent loss against Mauricio Lara, which saw Lara stop “Leigh-thal” with a thudding left hook near the end of the seventh round. Woods trainer Ben Davison decided to throw in the towel, which saw his fighter lose his world title. Despite the recent disappointment, there are plenty of opportunities for Woods in 2023 to bring him back into the world title hunt.
Michael Conlan enjoyed a successful amateur career, which saw him win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and that triumph was preceded by a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. “Mick” had a brilliant start to his professional career winning all 16 contests.
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) March 22, 2023
The Belfast fighter deservedly earned a shot at the WBA (regular) champion Leigh Wood. Conlan started brilliantly, scoring a knockdown in the first round. The southpaw fighter showed his impressive power, fast hand speed, and effective jab, which troubled Wood from the outset.
As the fight wore on, Wood’s heart and desire clawed him back into the fight. Conlan seemingly tired in the later rounds, which ended with Wood knocking Conlan through the ropes in round twelve.
Despite having to endure 16 months of inactivity after defeating Enrique Tinoco, Joe Cordina has experienced a brilliant start to his professional career winning all 15 of his fights. Cordina is due to fight fellow unbeaten fighter Shavkat Rakhimov on April 22, in what looks to be his toughest test thus far.
Cordina is brilliant at fighting on the back foot, and picking his punches. His foot movement is impressive which often sees him slip punches and pick his opponents off at will. The future looks bright for Cordina, and a win over Rakhimov, will catapult him into contention for some massive fights.
Shavkat Rakhimov is currently preparing for the Joe Cordina fight. “Shere Khan” has enjoyed a great start to his professional career, winning 17 of 18 fights, with one draw.
The Tajikistani-born southpaw possesses excellent footwork. He’s adept at slipping punches and turning his opponents at will, making him a difficult target to hit. He also has a busy and varied jab which helps him keep his challenger in range. Rakhimov possesses impressive power, and when he smells blood, he has the capabilities to capitalise.
Luis Alberto Lopez
Luis Alberto Lopez is the current IBF featherweight champion. He won the title on December 10, 2022, defeating Josh Warrington via majority decision. “El Venado” has won 27 of 29 fights, with just two defeats.
Also Read: 5 Underrated Middleweights to Watch in 2023
The Mexican fighter is fearless and is often known for travelling into his opponent’s backyard, as proven by his upset win over Warrington in Leeds. Lopez looks set to take on Conlan next on May 27. His bravery and come-forward style will mean Conlan will have to be at his best.
Despite not having a high KO percentage, the Mexican showed in his KO win over Issac Lowe that he possesses plenty of power with that brutal fight-ending body shot in the seventh round.