The beginning of 2023 hasn’t been without its highlights. The Artur Beterbiev-Anthony Yarde scrap is already on the board as a fight of the year contender and the Gervonta Davis-Hector Garcia show packed the house in Washington, DC. 

To say the schedule has still been a little light would be fair. It’s gradually picking up with some gems coming in the year’s shortest month. On the men’s side, the Jr. lightweight title picture is set for a shakeup with two vacant titles on the line, the Jr. welterweight division will fill a vacant belt with what could be an action packed affair between Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce, and featherweight has a possible gem in Mauricio Lara-Leigh Wood.

On paper though, the best or at least most significant action in February may be on tap in its first weekend with two of the biggest names in women’s boxing going for undisputed crowns:

    02/04: 126 - Amanda Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KO, WBC/IBF/WBO) vs. Erika Cruz Hernandez (15-1, 3 KO, WBA)

    02/04: 130 - Alycia Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KO, WBC/IBF/WBO) vs. Elham Mekhaled (15-1, 3 KO); vacant WBA

This twin-bill on DAZN brings Serrano back to Madison Square Garden. It might not be the main floor as was the case for her 2022 lightweight epic with Katie Taylor, but the Theatre crowd will see her attempt to join Taylor, the only woman to defeat Serrano in more than a decade, as an undisputed queen. Serrano, with titles from 115 to 140 pounds has never cleaned up all the belts in a class. Hernandez is the last obstacle to her goal.

On the undercard is a potential rival for Serrano on division up. Alycia Baumgardner will look to add the vacant WBA title to the three belts she’s collected so far at Jr. lightweight as she makes her first start since defeating Mikaela Mayer for the IBF and WBO belts last year. Whether we see Serrano-Taylor II next or not should Serrano win this weekend, an undisputed champion sandwiched between the two makes Baumgardner an option before, after, or instead of that rematch.

It’s not a bad place to be. 

After this weekend, barring any draws, women’s boxing will have undisputed champions in every weight class from featherweight to super middleweight barring a Jr. middleweight class that is a Natasha Jonas-Terri Harper rematch away from joining them. That’s seven of eight weight classes in that spread.

Unification fever was a real thing in men’s and women’s boxing in 2022. It has not subsided as the new year begins.    

Cliff’s Notes…

The non-title picture shows promise in February as well…Luis Nery-Azat Hovhannysian is another banger in a run of them at Jr. featherweight. The winner will be in position to challenge the winner of the anticipated Stephen Fulton-Naoya Inoue clash…Fans of the Jake Paul show will find it’s latest episode in February along with the latest Floyd Mayweather post-career exhibition…The Arnold Barboza-Jose Pedraza Jr. welterweight fight this weekend will give some real insights on where both men are in their careers.      

Additional Title Fights in February


02/03: 130 - TBRB #2 (126) Emanuel Navarrete (36-1, 30 KO, WBO) vs. Liam Wilson (11-1, 7 KO); vacant WBO

02/11: 130 - #5 O’Shaquie Foster (19-2, 11 KO) vs. #3 (126) Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KO, WBC); vacant WBC

02/18: 126 - #1 Mauricio Lara (25-2-1, 18 KO) vs. #5 Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KO, WBA)

02/25: 140 - #8 Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KO) vs. Jeremias Ponce (30-0, 20 KO); vacant IBF

02/26: 200 - #3 Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KO, WBC) vs. Badou Jack (27-3-3, 16 KO)


02/25: 118 - Dina Thorslund (18-0, 7 KO, WBO) vs. Debora Anahi Lopez (20-1-1, 1 KO)

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.