5 Underrated Light Heavyweights To Watch Out For In 2023
The light heavyweight division is full of some brilliant boxers. At Big Fight Weekend, we are looking forward to what the next year has in store for the division’s biggest stars, such as Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. However, we wanted to continue our series looking at underrated fighters to watch out for in 2023. We have already shown you the 5 underrated middleweights, 5 underrated heavyweights and welterweights to watch out for this year. We are now bringing you the light heavyweights.
Light Heavyweights to Look For in 2023
Dmitry Bivol could be defending his WBA light heavyweight title against #1 ranked Joshua Buatsi next in May or June if Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn gets his way.#boxing #mma #wrestling #news #media #fight #GoodfellaSports pic.twitter.com/qUZG5SiPdW
— GOODFELLA SPORTS.🥊 (@gfsports92) March 3, 2023
Light Heavyweights to Look For in 2023
Joshua “Just Business” Buatsi has won all 16 of his professional fights, with 13 wins coming by knockout. He enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His most notable professional wins thus far have occurred against Ricards Bolotniks and Craig Richards.
Buatsi carries impressive punch power, which he has shown throughout his career. He has a great chin and carries on coming forward, even on the rare occasions he is tagged. When he lands with either hand, it’s normally lights out for his opponent. “Just Business” clearly has a bright future as he moves up in class. His power will take him far, but he will need to sharpen up on his defence if he hopes to eventually dethrone fighters such as Bivol and Beterbiev.
Callum Smith comes from a family of talented boxers with brothers Paul, Stephen, and Liam, all achieving success in professional boxing. Smith enjoyed great success at super middleweight, beating George Groves and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. However, “Mundo” lost his WBA and The Ring super middleweight titles to Canelo Alvarez in a one-side unanimous points defeat.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) March 2, 2023
Following the loss to Canelo, Smith decided to move up to light heavyweight. Throughout his career, he has used his rangy jab on a number of occasions to control fights. He also possesses great punch power, to the degree he is capable of ending a fight in a split second. His move up to light heavyweight has seen him win both contests in impressive style.
Dan “Super” Azzez has enjoyed a perfect start to his professional career, winning all 18 contests. He has impressed throughout his rise up the ranks, beating Hosea Burton and recently a methodical, destructive performance against Rocky Fielding. He has shown an ability to systematically wear down his opponents before inflicting a brutal stoppage.
𝐀𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐨𝐩 🙌
— BOXXER (@boxxer) March 2, 2023
Azzez possesses impressive ring IQ. He is also adept at finding ways through tight defences, with his concussive power, which he has shown throughout his career thus far. Azeez portrays a brilliant work rate whenever he fights. He also moves his head well and possesses an effective jab. “Super” also switches well between the head and body of his opponents, which he showcased against Rocky Fielding. The suffocating work rate exhibited by Azeez means he will be a nightmare for any opponent.
Ali Izmailov is fast making a name for himself in the light heavyweight division, and it seems just a matter of time before the masses will be talking about his exploits. He enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning multiple international tournaments. He’s won all nine of his professional bouts, with six coming by knockout.
He’s deceptively quick and possesses real knockout power, often wearing opponents down with his accurate, heavy punches. Izmailov seems destined for a bright future under Dmitriy Salita’s promotional banner.
“The Beast from the East” is a renowned heavy puncher, as proven with 22 of his 23 wins coming by knockout. Anthony Yarde has come up just short on the two occasions he has stepped up to a world-class level, losing by TKO in the 11th round against then-WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. He also recently lost to unified light heavyweight champion Beterbiev. He won praise from many quarters for his bravery and ring IQ shown in that fight.
Yarde has shown his bravery, going deep into Russia to take on Kovalev while bravely going toe to toe with Beterbiev. He also brilliantly avenged his loss against Lyndon Arthur, destroying his domestic rival in the fourth round of their rematch. He possesses quick hand speed, which along with his improved footwork, saw him have success in his most recent fight, despite ultimately losing. Since bringing in former British and European super middleweight champion James Cook to his backroom team, there has been noticeable improvements in Yarde. His footwork has improved, and he and his team will need to keep improving for him to become a world champion.