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Who Will Rule The Welterweight Roost In 2021?

With potential unifications, rising starts and plenty of competition in the UK, 2021 could be a monstrous year for the 147-pound division.

Outside of the potential undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, the welterweight division has a potentially mouth-watering unification between two superstars.

Could 2021 be the year we see Spence and Crawford step through the ropes to face each other? (Photo credit: Talksport)

Featuring in most people’s top 10 pound-for-pound lists, a potential fight between Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence most certainly has boxing fans on the edge of their seats. Two undefeated champions, both with genuine P4P status, what isn’t to like about a fight between the pair?

Although it is one of the most highly talked about fights in the world of boxing, it still seems a long way away from becoming reality.

Elsewhere on the world scene, the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Mikey Garcia are still hanging about, hungrier than ever to prove that they are the best in the division.

With Spence currently holding the WBC and IBF belts, Crawford the WBO champion and Pacquiao the WBA king, boxing fans are hopeful of at least one unification fight in the coming year. Whether that be Spence v Crawford - the spectacle everyone wants to see - or either one of them facing the elder statesman of the division in Pacquiao.

Boxing fans all around the world are praying for Spence v Crawford, which is undoubtedly the biggest fight the sport of boxing has to offer at this moment in time, outside of the heavyweight division.

Ones to watch

Outside of the champions, the 147-pound division is still absolutely stacked. With rising stars from both sides of the Atlantic, there is every possibility that we could see some up and comers making their mark on the division in the coming year.

Could Josh Kelly fight for world honours before the year is out? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)

Firstly, two fringe title contenders who will be hopeful of securing a fight for world honours this year, battle it out on February 20th. David Avanesyan and Josh Kelly are finally set to meet in the ring in just a few weeks’ time, in what is the fourth time the pair have been scheduled to fight. Avanesyan’s European title will be on the line in what he will be hoping is a successful fourth defence.

Both men last fought in December of 2019, but have had over 12 months to concentrate solely on each other, as this fight was always going to happen next. The winner is surely not too far away from fighting for a world title, which makes this a compelling fight between two welterweight stars.

Another potential danger man in the division is Yordenis Ugas. Ugas has come back strongly since losing to another fringe contender in Shawn Porter almost two years ago, and last time out he captured the WBA ‘Regular’ title. The Cuban will be hopeful himself of possibly getting a shot at one of the champions in the not so distant future.

Although coming off the back of a comprehensive defeat to Errol Spence, Danny Garcia still has plenty to offer the 147 pound division, and it is likely we will continue to see his name floating around world level for another while yet.

Additionally, former super-lightweight king, Maurice Hooker, has stepped up to welterweight and is looking to get himself into the title picture imminently. However, that will be easier said than done as it is rumoured that he is set to face Vergil Ortiz Jr in March, who is one of the hottest prospects in world boxing.

2021 could be a big year for the highly touted Vergil Ortiz Jr, the youngster will be hopeful of a fruitful year. (Photo credit: Boxing Scene)

Ortiz Jr is currently 16-0, only 22 years old and along with Ryan Garcia, is the future for Golden Boy. A fight between Ortiz and Hooker is most certainly an intriguing one, with the winner catapulting themselves right into the mix for a world title shot in the coming year.

Another potential fight between a young gun and an under the radar killer, is that of Jarron Ennis and Sergey Lipinets. It is rumoured that the pair are set to face each other in the coming months, in what is most certainly a competitive fight. Ennis is another prospect who is tipped for big things in boxing, whilst Lipinets is experienced and as game as they come, looking to make an impression on a new weight division, just like Hooker is.

It is great to see fringe contenders all wanting to face each other, as is the current climate with the COVID-19 pandemic. No easy fights, and this is certainly no different for the contenders in the welterweight division.

Let’s also not forget about Kudratillo Abdukakhorov and Daniyar Yeleussinov, who themselves are both undefeated, young prospects with aspirations of making it all the way to the top. 2021 could be a big year for the Eastern European pair.

The British Welterweight scene

As well as being a stacked division on the world scene, the 147-pound division is also booming in Britain.

As mentioned previously, Josh Kelly seems to be flying the flag for the UK at this moment in time, and could see himself fighting for a world title before the year is out, if successful in his monster clash with David Avanesyan in less than a month’s time.

However, it isn’t just Kelly who has big aspirations. One man in particular, who has himself wanted the Kelly fight for some time now, is Conor Benn.

Benn is looking more and more impressive each fight, and 2021 could most certainly be a big year for him. (Photo credit: Boxing News)

The 24-year-old has gone from strength to strength over the past year or two, and is now seriously putting his name into the welterweight mix. Not so long ago, the British public weren’t sold on Benn, but he has evidently put the work in, grafted hard and is now reaping the rewards.

Last time out Benn comprehensively outpointed Sebastian Formella, in what was a more convincing win that Shawn Porter put on last time out against the same opponent. Up next for Benn is Samuel Vargas, which is another step up for the son of boxing legend, Nigel Benn.

Benn has shown signs of dramatic improvement in recent time, and who is to say that he won’t be right there in the world title mix come the end of the year.

On the domestic scene, there are a plethora of names who are hoping for a big 2021.

The current British welterweight champion, Chris Jenkins, hasn’t fought in over a year and will be hoping that he can defend his Lonsdale belt in 2021.

The likes of Chris Congo, Ekow Essuman, Lewis Crocker and Michael McKinson are all undefeated, young, hungry prospects, who themselves may fancy a shot at Jenkins British title in the next 12 months.

Although seemingly both coming to the end of their careers, a fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook is still on the lips of British fight fans. The fight has been talked about for years, yet has never been made for one reason or another. However, both men still express interest in fighting their long-time rival, so maybe 2021 is the year we see the pair finally face off in the ring, albeit, both past their once dazzling best.

There is certainly no shortage of potential domestic dust ups in the welterweight division for 2021, and the same can be said on the word scenes. One of the most talked about divisions right now in boxing is booming, so fingers crossed we get some competitive fights and exciting shows in the coming year from this talented welterweight crop.

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