Joe Joyce – Heavyweight, 7-0, KO7 – Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion
Joe Joyce is a 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist, narrowly losing out to eventual Gold Medallist, Tony Yoka in the final in Rio. He turned professional a year later, and his management team seem intent on trying to trying to fast track the Putney man as he is already 33. He has had a busy 2018, fighting six times. He picked up the Commonwealth Title in May, stopping Jamaican, Lenroy Thomas in two rounds at the O2 Arena in London.
He hasn’t defended since, instead focusing on breaking America. In September, he stopped Iago Kiladze in five, and in his last outing, on the big Wilder v Fury bill in Los Angeles, he picked up the WBA Continental Title by blasting Joe Hanks out inside a round.
2019 could see Joyce face some stiff tests. This could be much in the mould of David Price, when he stepped up too soon and lost twice to Tony Thompson. It is sure to be a sink or swim year for Joyce, and I’d like to see him in with fringe world class operators at least to show us his true potential.
Jaime Munguia – Super Welterweight, 31-0, KO26, WBO Super Welterweight Champion
Tijuana, Mexico’s Jaime Munguia came from nowhere in May this year to become a feared and established World Champion. A freak for the 154lbs division, he had built a 28-0 record fighting only once outside his homeland. He is only 22 years old with 31 fights on his ledger, so comparisons to his countryman, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, are inevitable.
He ventured outside his Mexican surroundings in May to spectacularly steamroll Sadam Ali, a man who had previously taken the WBO Title from the great Miguel Cotto. Munguia was a late replacement, as Liam Smith had to pull out of the fight with Ali due to illness. At the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, Munguia grabbed his opportunity with both hands, ruthlessly knocking Ali down twice in the first round, and once in the second, before a final fourth round knockdown drew an immediate stoppage.
Muguia followed this up in July with a solid win over the aforementioned Smith, scoring a knockdown in the sixth before comfortably winning on the cards. In his last outing in September, he savagely stopped the hapless Brandon Cook in three rounds.
His next scheduled contest comes on the 26th January at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas. Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, KO7) will be the next sacrificial lamb for the Mexican. 2019 could be a breakout year for Munguia, with options at his current weight, or even a move up to Middleweight, makes him one to keep an eye on in 2019.
Josh Taylor – Super Lightweight, 14-0, KO12, WBC Silver Super Lightweight Champion
Prestonpans, Scotland resident Josh Taylor has blasted onto the scene in a three year career, and 2019 could be the year he makes real waves. In 2018, he started with a three round stoppage of Winston Campos, but it was his July victory over former WBC Champion, Viktor Postol which impressed the most. In an up and down fight, a lot closer than It looked, Taylor knocked the Russian down in the tenth on the way to a wide enough points win.
This paved the way for Taylor’s entry into season two of the World Boxing Super Series, and he impressively beat down the unbeaten American hope, Ryan Martin in seven rounds to advance to the semi-finals.
2019 will see him fight for a World Title. Belarussian Ivan Baranchyk, the IBF Champion will be his opponent in the last four. By the end of the year “The Tartan Tornado” could be a unified Champion, as well as World Boxing Super Series Champion, as the WBA Title will also be up for grabs from the winner of Champion, Kyril Relikh and tournament favourite, Regis Prograis’ semi-final match.
Alberto Machado – Super Featherweight, 21-0, KO17, WBA Super Featherweight Champion
Going under an apt ring moniker of “El Explosivo” Puerto Rican puncher Alberto Machado is a man going places. He won the WBA Title he currently holds in October 2017. Behind on the cards, and knocked down in the fifth, Machado displayed his punch power to knock out Jezreel Corrales in eight. Rafael Mensah was pounded from pillar to post in his first defence in July where Machado won every round, scoring a knockdown in the opener.
His coming out party was on a DAZN show at the end of October. Inside Madison Square Garden in New York, he shudderingly knocked down Yuandale Evans three times in the first round, the final one, a cracking uppercut knocking the Ohio man out.
He is under the management of his great countryman, Miguel Cotto, and 2019 could see him take on some big fights. Current Champions at his weight are Miguel Berchelt (WBC) Tevin Farmer (IBF) and Masayuki Ito (WBO).
Andrew Selby – Flyweight, 11-0, KO6, British Flyweight Champion
Welshman Andrew Selby will be hoping that 2019 will be the year of opportunity for him after a frustrating 2018 campaign. He is Wales’ most decorated amateur boxer, and a precocious talent.
At the back end of 2017, he won a WBC Title eliminator, but he has had a year to forget personally, which has set him back somewhat. Selby had been unable to box after having had his licence stripped at a British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) hearing, following an altercation with a taxi driver. The incident led to a court conviction for a public order offence in May 2018. He also fractured an ankle, and had personal problems with the death of his mother, and a messy fall out with the mother of his child.
His only outing of this year came in a six round run out in Newport in October, stopping the overmatched Adam Yahaya in two.
He has been mandated for a shot at the European Title against the Champion Vincent Legrand, and this would be a good first step in 2019 for him. He has already beaten recently dethroned WBC Champion, Cristofer Rosales, and with the right promotion, could find himself fighting for world honours later in the year.