Note: This is part four of a four-part series. For the rest: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3!
(T) is for TRANSGENDER BOXING
The WBC is proposing a new category to include transgender boxers in the sport.
The WBC won’t necessarily sanction a new championship or title belt – primarily they want to create an event so transgender fighters can take part in the sport.
“What we want to do is create a transgender boxing program. Not necessarily a belt, or a championship. Simply a competition, so they can be included in boxing and not excluded,” explained Mauricio Sulaiman at the start of the year.
As is always so important to promote inclusivity in sport: if you can see it, you can be it.
(U) is for UNDISPUTED HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT
Without wanting to be held ransom by the alphabet titles, we simply must see Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title in 2023.
(V) is for VEGAS, BABY
Nothing hits quite like a big fight weekend in Las Vegas.
Heads may well be turning east to the Gulf States for big money opportunities, but hopefully this doesn’t dampen the appetite for the superfights heading to the Vegas casinos.
(W) is for WOMEN LEADING THE WAY
Taylor vs Serrano, Mayer vs Baumgardner and Shields vs Marshall all displayed the fruits of matching the best with the best in boxing.
It’s something that has plagued the men’s code for too long as excuse follows excuse to why the top twos across divisions can’t reach agreements.
(X) is for XANDER ZAYAS
Xander Zayas is just 20 and continues to grow as one of boxing’s very best prospects.
He has racked up 15 pro wins in rapid timing and is pushing towards world title opportunities at the back end of the year.
“I already have my goals set up for 2023,” Zayas said following his December win against Alexis Salazar. ”I should be in the top three by the end of next year and in the beginning of 2024 just get that world title.”
(Y) is for YORK HALL
More British title fights inside London’s York Hall.
There is nothing quite like standing on the balcony in east London, hanging over the action as sweat drips down the walls of the historic venue.
With a capacity of just over 1,000, a capped revenue limits some of the fighters that can afford to still fight inside York Hall.
(Z) is for ZAUR ANITA
The former six-time Georgian champion is the brains behind Ireland’s amateur boxing success.
Since Zaur Anita’s arrival from Eastern Europe nearly 20 years ago, the “Shy Georgian Genius” has helped the sport land more than a quarter of Ireland’s 35 Olympic medals since the 2008 Beijing Games – and he’s not looking to stop there.
Nicknamed the “A-Team”, his Irish women’s team won seven medals at the European Women’s Championships in Montenegro last year and Anita will be gunning for more glory at the 2023 AIBA World Championship this summer.
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles