Why the Super-Featherweight division is one to watch in 2017

09/01/2017

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While the higher weight divisions traditionally earn the majority of mainstream news coverage, and fighters are perhaps better known, there is bags of talent in the lower weights leading to plenty of intriguing potential match-ups. At Super-Featherweight, four men currently call themselves World Champions and we could see a number of exciting unification bouts this year.

Vasyl Lomachenko, the WBO World Champion, is regarded as the man to beat and in his last outing he forced the tough Nicholas Walters to retire on his stool. On January 28th, Miguel Berchelt challenges Francisco Vargas for the WBC World Title in a thrilling all-Mexican clash, live on BoxNation. Elsewhere, Jose Pedraza holds the IBF strap and the WBA belt belongs to Panamanian Jezreel Corrales. The combined record of all four men reads an impressive 73 wins, two losses and two draws.

Since turning professional, Ukrainian superstar Lomachenko instantly sought out the toughest challenges and after just eight fights in the paid ranks he is already a two-division World Champion. The only blemish on his record is a loss to Orlando Salido in March 2014 - his second contest as a pro. Salido was overweight and earned a scrappy split-decision victory. Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, is keen for a rematch this year but whether Salido would agree to a second bout remains to be seen.

BoxNation viewers are in store for a thriller later this month when Mexican warriors Vargas and Berchelt go to battle. WBC title-holder Vargas is no stranger to a war, his encounters with Takashi Miura (November 2015) and countryman Orlando Salido (June 2016) earned the fight of the year accolades from ESPN. Both he and Berchelt have an entertaining fight style and the challenger, who boasts 27 KOs from his 30 wins, will fancy his chances of ripping the belt away from the Champion.

Vargas v Miura

Prior to that clash in California, this weekend Jose Pedraza makes the third defence of his IBF Title against heavy-hitting 22-year-old Gervonta Davis. The Puerto Rican will be wary of Davis, who has earned four first-round stoppages in a run of seven straight knockouts. The unbeaten prospect has won 15 of his 16 outings before the final bell and fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner.

Liam Walsh will have a keen eye on the bout as the 30-year-old Cromer talent is currently ranked at number one with the IBF. In October, he dominated former-Pedraza foe Andrey Klimov with a punch-perfect win over 12 rounds and is edging closer to upper echelons of the weight class. Aside from Pedraza and Walsh, the only other man to beat Klimov is Lightweight sensation Terence Crawford, so the win over the tricky Russian was all the more impressive.

Frank Warren’s stable also includes a number of promising prospects at 130lbs. Boy Jones Jr recently lifted his first professional title in Brentwood, while Mitchell Smith is back on track after teaming up with Adam Booth. Last month, Zelfa Barrett extended his record to 14-0 and Lyon Woodstock has not put a foot wrong during his eight wins since turning pro in 2015.

For now at the top end of the Super-Featherweight division, the potential World Title unifications between the four Champions could make for terrific viewing. Lomachenko has discussed moving up in weight at some stage in the future but will want to lift another crown before doing so. The question is, will the other belt-holders agree to face him? Fight fans will certainly hope so.