To no great surprise, the Naoya Inoue-Marlon Tapales 122-pound unification showdown was made official today for December 26 in Tokyo, Japan. A great fight, for Inoue mostly, expected as “The Monster” is to win, thus scooping up the two super-bantamweight titles he does not yet have, this one could prove to be a real year-end highlight.
But fans are already getting excited about how massive the final few days of 2023 could be for the sport of boxing. If we get the Tyson Fury Vs. Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight unification showdown on December 23 – as Fury insists will be the case as he and Usyk have signed on for the fight then, Fury stating how Usyk will “get sued” if he doesn’t fight him on the date – what a three-day spell it will be for fight fans!
And then, as is the custom in Japan on New Year’s Eve, there will be a darn good match-up of a fight taking place, with Kazuto Ioka and Juan Francisco Estrada to fight a two-belt unification at super-flyweight. We could, then, get three great fights over the space of eight days.
When it works in boxing, it really is the greatest sport in the world. If these three fights come off as they are looking as though they will come off, what a great end to the year it really will be.
Inoue might be a big favorite to beat Tapales, but plenty of fans see the Fury-Usyk fight as a hard one to pick, maybe even close to a 50-50 affair, with the edge going to Fury. And the super-flyweight battle is a genuine pick ’em fight.
In the meantime, we have the Fury-Francis Ngannou affair to look forward to! This Saturday’s big event in Saudi Arabia has been promoted very well, and some fans, those not expecting a great or in any way competitive fight but a show, are genuinely looking forward to the fight. Also, the undercard, stacked as it is with heavyweight supporting features, ain’t bad at all.
But of course, the big one we want is Fury Vs. Usyk. Usyk is expected to be at ringside on Saturday, and we hope for an official announcement after Fury has his way with Ngannou.