5 Underrated Welterweights To Watch Out For In 2023
The welterweight division looks set for an eventful year in 2023. At Big Fight Weekend, we are looking forward to what the next year has in store for the division’s biggest stars, such as Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford. 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 and 5 underrated heavyweights to watch out for this year. We are now bringing you the welterweights.
Welterweights to Look For in 2023
Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. has made quite the name for himself in the welterweight division. He has amassed a perfect record, winning all 19 of his professional fights, with all his wins coming by way of knockout. Ortiz enjoyed an eye-catching win over Egidijus Kavaliauskas, whom he defeated by TKO in round 8.
The American fighter is a devastating puncher, as proven by his 19 knockouts. He is still very raw, and at 24, he seems to rely on his punching power. His lack of ring craft would make it difficult for him to compete with Spence Jr. or Crawford. It will be fascinating to watch how he develops as he moves up in class. His next fight is scheduled to be against another underrated fighter on our list Eimantas Stanionis. The fight is due to take place on April 29.
Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis is moving up the welterweight rankings and has amassed a record of 30 wins in 31 fights, with one no-contest. ‘Boots’ has also recorded 27 of his wins by knockout.
He recently recorded an impressive unanimous points win against Karen Chukhadzhian. Ennis has a vital weapon in his arsenal, where he can switch between the orthodox and southpaw stances. He also possesses lightning reflexes, which often bamboozles his opponents.
— Boots (@JaronEnnis) February 16, 2023
His ability to switch between stances was used to brilliantly when he beat Russian boxer Sergey Lipinets. He is great at using an aggressive jab during his fights, which he implements early to gain control in his contests. Ennis also operates behind an impressive defence, that enables him to evade his opponents effectively. His defence is based on his ability to move around the ring and utilise all the space available to him.
Eimantas Stanionis is a 28-year-old Lithuanian who has recorded 14 wins in 15 fights with one no contest, and nine of his wins have come by knockout. Stanionis won gold at the 2015 European Championship during his amateur career.
Since moving into the professional ranks, his most notable win was a split decision over Radzhab Butaev, where his constant effective jab seemed to win over the judges. Stanionis operates behind his jab before unloading on his opponents with shots to the body and head, which showcase his punching power. Stanionis will take on Ortiz Jr. on April 29, where we will see these two prospects face off against each other in what promises to be a fascinating encounter.
Cody Crowley is currently ranked number four in the WBO rankings. The Canadian boxer has won all 21 of his professional fights. His most recent victory was a win over former WBA welterweight and WBC junior middleweight title challenger Josesito Lopez.
Crowley’s work rate is exceptional, as is his ring craft. He mixes his shots well and throws a variety of punches, often to an eye-catching effect. He has also shown determination and bravery, which he showcased in his fight against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, where he climbed off the canvas to batter his opponent on the way to a comfortable points win.
Roiman Villa, the tough Colombian welterweight, has won all but one of his 27 fights. He also possesses impressive knockout power, with an 88.89% KO percentage rate.
Villa has only tasted defeat once, with a split-decision loss against Marcos Villasana in 2019. He showed his toughness in his stunning win against Rashidi Ellis, where he was outclassed for much of the fight before rallying late and knocking Ellis down twice in the final round. The eventful final round saw the judges award Villa the decision, sealing his upset win over his American opponent. He is relentless and seems to never stop coming forward, which sees him often wear his opponents down.