A guide to the New Year: 10 fighters to watch out for in 2024
With nine world title fights already scheduled in January alone, it's safe to say that 2024 is set to be a stellar year for boxing.
In February there's a chance boxing will have their first undisputed heavyweight world champion of this century, plus a rematch between welterweight kings Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. to look forward to once more. But that's naming the behemoths of boxing, what about some of the up and coming talent that fans should be watching out for? See GBN's list of exciting fighters everyone should follow in 2024:
Caroline Dubois (8-0, 5KO)
Younger sister of heavyweight Daniel Dubois, "Sweet Caroline" ended 2023 as the IBO World lightweight champion in just her eighth fight, and will complete her second full year as a pro with a maiden title defence on February 3rd. The smiling southpaw is stylish and slick with enough spite to have stopped five from eight opponents. 2024 will see her begin the year's campaign with a title defence, then hopefully a unification soon after.
Moses Itauma (7-0, 5KO)
From Chatham, Kent, heavyweight southpaw Moses Itauma, at 19, is the brightest prospect in British boxing. After a short but successful amateur stint that saw him go 22 bouts unbeaten, Moses already made a splash by holding his own against world champions in sparring whilst still a novice amateur. As a pro, he set the standard with his debut KO win that took just a couple of punches and 23 seconds, then he ended his inaugural year with seven victories and five first-round knockouts. 2024 will see him take a step up in rounds and title fights.
Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19KO)
Unbeaten Aussie Jai Opetaia became the IBF World cruiserweight champion by defeating the formidable Mairis Briedis in his home nation in 2022. He obliterated his first challenger Jorden Thompson in four rounds, then he gave up the belt for a big payday in Saudi Arabia, where he stopped Ellis Zorro with his first big punch, 176 seconds into the 12-round fight – that's two unbeaten Brits beaten in just 12 minutes time. Now that he starts 2024 as a unbeaten former world champion who never lost his title in the ring. Anyone with a world title around their waist had better watch out!
Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19KO)
Japan has really burst onto the boxing scene recently, with the likes of Naoya Inoue and Kazuto Ioka leading the revolution, but Junto NAkatani is not far behind as he chases greatness in his flourishing career. Already a two-weight word titlist and scored one of 2023's most stunning KO when the southpaw set up a thudding overhand left that knocked out Aussie Andrew Moloney cold with the single shot.
Subriel Matias (20-1, 20KO)
Puerto Rican Subriel Matías has held the IBF super-lightweight title since February 2023, which he won and defended by fifth-round retirement within the same year.
With four different world champions in his talent-laden weight division, 2024 should see some big unifications within his exciting weight category.
Tim Tszyu (24-0, 17KO)
The son of boxing legend Kostya Tszyu, Tim 'The Soul Taker' has carved out his own career and colossal fanbase with his exciting style and heavy hands. Since his win over Jeff Horn in 2020, the 29-year-old has beaten big name after big name until he was finally crowned WBO super-welterweight champion against Brian Mendoza in October 2023. With the IBF belt vacant and Jermell Charlo running out of places to hide, this ambitious Aussie will stop at nothing to become unified or undisputed in 2024.
Jaron 'Boots' Ennis (31-0, 28KO)
Although he was handed the IBF welterweight title under dubious circumstances, you can bet that this unbeaten 26-year-old will rightfully earn it for himself and hopefully force an undisputed clash with Terence Crawford, should he beat Errol Spence again, which is one of the biggest fights that could be made in 2024.
Andy Cruz (2-0, 1KO)
Tokyo 2020 Olympic lightweight champion may have only had two fights so far, but he has an air of Vasiliy Lomachenko about him. The Cuban's amateur career is glistening with around a dozen gold medals in major tournaments, winning the Worlds three times! Just like Loma, he begun his pro career by winning a title against a world title contender, which he has already defended against a former world champion, both times in 2023. The 28-year-old is already ranked in the top 15 in the world with the WBA and IBF, so all eyes will be on his ascendance during 2024.
Jesse Rodriguez (19-0, 12KO)
Two-weight world champion, Jesse Rodriguez, completely dismantles unbeaten Brit, Sunny Edwards, in his last fight to unify the flyweight division. It was a big year for Bam after vacating the WBC super-flyweight belt; he became the WBO flyweight champ in April, then unified with the IBF in December when he forced 'Showtime' Sunny to retire after nine brutal rounds. WBA flyweight titlist Artem Dalakian already has a fight lined up in 2024, so fingers crossed the 23-year-old southpaw will be able to meet WBC king Julio Cesar MArtinez during 2024.
Dave Apolinario (19-0, 13KO)
Just 24, the 'Doberman' is a former IBO World flyweight champion unbeaten in 19 bouts with 13 KOs. The thrilling Filipino is part of a thriving 112lbs division where he is expected to fight for a world title during 2024, currently ranked WBC #15, WBA #2, IBF #3, WBO #8, IBO #9.