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5 Underrated Heavyweights to Watch Out for in 2023

‘That Exposed His Weakness’: Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang Final Presser Recap


5 Underrated Heavyweights to Watch Out for in 2023

Julian Finney / Staff

5 Underrated Heavyweights to Watch Out for in 2023

2023 looks set to be a fascinating year for the heavyweight division. Anthony Joshua looks set to return to the ring against Jermaine Franklin. Negotiations look set to continue between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. At Big Fight Weekend, 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 to watch out for this year. We are now bringing you the 5 heavyweights to look for.

Heavyweights to Look For in 2023

Heavyweights to Look For in 2023: Joe Joyce

The “Juggernaut” is the first name on our underrated heavyweight list. Joe Joyce enjoyed a successful amateur career, which included him winning a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games in the super-heavyweight division. He followed this up with an Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro, losing via a controversial split decision loss to Tony Yoka of France.

Since turning professional in 2017, Joyce has won all 15 of his fights, with 14 coming by way of knockout. He has shown tenacity and knockout power, combined with a granite chin, which has seen him propel himself into the world heavyweight title mix. He has stopped Joseph Parker, Daniel Dubois, and Carlos Takam. His relentless style often sees him wear opponents down before he stops them. “Juggernaut” is due to return to the ring on April 15 against Zhilei Zhang from China, in what promises to be an explosive encounter. A victory for Joyce will surely see him get that world title shot, and the widespread recognition he deserves.

Frank Sanchez

Frank Sanchez, the 30-year-old Cuban heavyweight has made a name for himself in the division, winning 21 of 22 contests, with 14 by way of knockout, and one no-contest. The Cuban fighter has reached number 2 with the WBO. Sanchez was a brilliant amateur who won over 200 contests before making his professional debut in 2017. He is aggressive in the ring but technically impressive as you would come to expect from any Cuban fighter.

“The Cuban Flash” possesses good speed and technical ability, which has seen him amass an impressive record. Despite not being a devastating puncher, he has shown an ability to pick his punches. He’s a confident fighter, who we will seemingly see a lot more of, making him one of our heavyweights to look for in 2023

Martin Bakole

Martin Bakole, the younger brother of cruiserweight fighter Ilunga Makabu has been making a splash in the heavyweight division, since his professional debut in 2014. Bakole has won 18 of his 19 fights, with 13 by knockout and only one defeat, which was a 10th-round TKO loss to American Michael Hunter. Since that first loss, the Congolese fighter has won seven consecutive fights, with noticeable wins against Mariusz Wach, Sergey Kuzmin and Tony Yoka.

Bakole is an aggressive fighter, who is adept at walking his opponents down, wearing them down, before enforcing a stoppage. In his fight with Wach, he showed his ability to put together effective powerful combinations, which troubled the Polish fighter. Bakole showed against Tony Yoka that he can box over 12 rounds, and maintain his power from start to finish, as his heavy combinations and high work rate troubled the Frenchman right from the first bell.

Agit Kabayel

The German boxer has a 100% record in the professional ranks, winning all 22 of his fights, with 14 by knockout. Agit Kabayel has been largely inactive since 2020, only fighting once in 2021 and 2022 respectively. His most well-known victories have come against British fighter Derek Chisora and veteran American Kevin Johnson. The German works at a good pace during his fights and works well behind an effective jab, which helps keep his opponents at bay.

Despite remaining unbeaten, the inactivity will have undoubtedly hurt Kabayel, and he will need to impress quickly when he returns to the mix if he hopes to move on to a world title shot. He is a heavyweight that could have a great year and is without a doubt one of our heavyweights to look for in 2023.

Filip Hrgovic

Filip Hrgovic currently has a 100% record in the professional ranks, winning all 15 of his fights. He also possesses plenty of power with 12 of those wins coming by knockout. The Croatian heavyweight is considered in some circles to be avoided. These notions of him being avoided were supported recently when the IBF ordered an interim title fight between Hrgovic and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz. The American declined to enter into negotiations and walked away from any potential fight with the Croatian.

Hrgovic enjoyed a successful amateur career winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He boasts impressive amateur wins over Tony Yoka and Joseph Parker. Since turning professional he has found it difficult to find the opportunities his ability deserves. The Croatian heavyweight in his last fight was victorious on points against Chinese fighter Zhilei Zhang. He showed braveness by dragging himself off the canvas in round one and still winning via unanimous decision. Until he is rewarded with that career-defining fight, Hrgovic will seemingly remain underrated, but he remains one of our heavyweights to look for in 2023.

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Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer, spending most of his time waiting for the Tyson Fury vs Usyk announcement. Also watches YouTube videos of Lennox Lewis fights on a daily basis.

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