Notable Underdogs that Might Take Boxing to the Next Level in 2023

Written by TrevStone

Everyone loves an underdog story—the plucky fighter who supposedly doesn’t stand a chance but snatches a win against the experienced champion. In boxing, these incredible stories are written time and time again. It’s what makes the sport so engaging and exciting.

As we start to wrap things up for 2022, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2023 and what inspiring stories might come out of the ring next year. We’ve done a round-up of some exciting underdogs to watch because they could be 2023s next big boxing stars.

  1. Joey Spencer

At just 22 years old, Joey Spencer is just getting started. He may not have the experience of many of the fighters on this list, but that’s what makes him the perfect underdog. This junior middleweight has already clocked some great wins, especially defeating James Martin in 2021 after recovering from a broken hand in record time.

  1. Jaron Ennis

AKA Boots, Jaron Ennis is a firecracker coming out of Pennsylvania. He is only 24 years old and is now perched on the precipice of the elite rankings. Ennis fights in the welterweight division but his 147 pounds makes him a bit of a risk to those who do sit in the elite rankings. He has been working hard alongside his manager to crack the nod for a fight for the top spot.

  1. Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia has been going from strength to strength in his career, regularly winning against the odds in big-name fights. Most recently, he took on an in-form Javier Fortuna and won. This was after beating Emmanuel Tagoe earlier this year.

Garcia is training under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions, run by 11-world title-winning boxer Oscar De La Hoya. This means that the young lightweight boxer certainly has the training and is likely to surprise a lot of people as he continues to “punch above his weight”.

  1. Tony Yoka

You might think it strange to include an Olympic gold medalist for boxing on a list like this. But Tony Yoka seems to have never quite lived up to his potential in the professional arena. The question everyone is asking is whether or not this fighter has the potential to become the first heavyweight champion that France has ever produced.

Yoka will need to succeed soon if he is going to make it into contender status. He isn’t the youngest on the circuit at the age of 30 and he hasn’t managed to reach the level of other contenders, who typically have wins in four or five matches in a year. Yoka tends to only have two in a year.

  1. Daniel Dubois

Hailing from the UK, Dubois was on a very steep and exciting upward trajectory with his career, until 2020, when a loss to Joe Joyce put a halt on things for him. It’s been a shaky two years getting back to form, but under the training of Shane McGuigan, the young star seems to be getting his career back on track.

  1. Arslanbek Makhmudov

A heavy hitter out of Russia, Makhmudov has a reputation for some serious knockouts. However, many say he hasn’t actually faced an opponent who can handle one of his punches, putting a question mark over how good he really is when it comes to sparring. 

Makhmudov is now in his early 30s and is trained by Marc Ramsey—the same Marc Ramsey who trains light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.

  1. Danny Garcia

At the age of 34, Garcia is the oldest on this list and has been fighting well for a long time. However, Garcia has been struggling with his form since 2020. At the end of a difficult year for just about everyone, Garcia faced a heavy defeat to Errol Spence Jr. 

In 2022, however, he started on the road to making a comeback with a majority decision win over Jose Benavidez Jr. This was an emotional win for Garcia and looks like it could be the start of something great.

  1. Teofimo Lopez

Another fighter on the comeback trail is 24-year-old Teofimo Lopez. He took a heavy defeat against George Kambosos Jr in 2021 and has only faced one fighter since then—Pedro Campa. This was not exactly a fair fight, and Lopez managed to knock Campa out fairly early.

Lopez is now looking to get back to matching up against fighters in his own weight category and start climbing the rankings once again. He has a bit of confidence to regain, but it’s clear he means business in 2023.

  1. Anthony Joshua

After two sensational title battles against Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022, Anthony Joshua is definitely going to be looking for some payback.

In 2021, Joshua lost his three titles—WBA, WBO and IBF—to Usyk. This year’s fight was meant to be his redemption but Usyk came out strong and defended his titles. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2023.

  1. Adrien Broner

The comeback trail has been hard for Adrien Broner. The 33-year-old fighter has struggled to find a convincing win since he started competing at 140-147 pounds. This year, he had planned to face Omar Figueroa Jr in the ring for a junior welterweight bout but he pulled out at the last minute citing mental health concerns. It still remains to be seen if he will come back swinging in 2023.

All Hail The Underdog

2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year with so many fighters looking to make a name for themselves, make a comeback, or hit the champion mark at last. There are plenty of rumors of upcoming fights and exciting match-ups. 

But the best part about it is there’s no telling exactly what will happen. The industry trends and stats for 2022 give us an idea of what to expect, but boxing is a hugely unpredictable sport. When it’s just two fighters in the ring facing off against each other for glory and redemption the outcome can change in a split second. If you want to place your bets on who will be victorious, you’d better do your research.

About the author


Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.