Five Yorkshire boxers set for a big 2023 from Terri Harper to Hopey Price

Yorkshire came out of 2022 with one more world champion than it started with and 2023 could prove a big year for a number of the county’s top boxing stars.

Terri Harper and Maxi Hughes are flying the flag for Yorkshire as the county’s two world champions after the former claimed the IBO and WBA super welterweight crowns in September. Josh Warrington won the IBF featherweight title against Kiko Martinez in March but surprisingly lost it in his first defence when he suffered a majority decision loss to Mexican Alberto Lopez last month.

Many eyes this year will be on the hotly-anticipated undisputed heavyweight contest between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, with a meeting between the pair expected to happen in February or March.

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However, in the White Rose county there are plenty of stars to be excited about and we have analysed the five boxers to watch throughout the next 12 months.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Terri Harper celebrates with the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight Title belts after defeating Hannah Rankin in the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight title fight between Hannah Rankin and Terri Harper at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Terri Harper celebrates with the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight Title belts after defeating Hannah Rankin in the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight title fight between Hannah Rankin and Terri Harper at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Terri Harper celebrates with the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight Title belts after defeating Hannah Rankin in the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight title fight between Hannah Rankin and Terri Harper at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Terri Harper

The last 12 months proved a magnificent year for women’s boxing – and Harper was no exception. There was Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano’s mega-fight which headlined Madison Square Garden in April before the first-ever all-female card was staged at the O2 Arena in London as Claressa Shield defeated Savannah Marshall to become the undisputed middleweight champion.

Closer to home, Harper became a two-weight world champion as she beat Hannah Rankin by a unanimous decision in Nottingham. The Doncaster-born fighter lost to Alycia Baumgardner in November 2021 but has bounced back in style.

A potential undisputed super welterweight fight could await this year in a rematch with Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas. The 38-year-old drew with Harper in a super-featherweight world title fight in 2020, as the Yorkshirewoman held onto her belts.

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NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Maxi Hughes celebrates after defeating Kid Galahad in the IBO World Lightweight title fight between Maxi Hughes and Kid Galahad at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Maxi Hughes celebrates after defeating Kid Galahad in the IBO World Lightweight title fight between Maxi Hughes and Kid Galahad at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Maxi Hughes celebrates after defeating Kid Galahad in the IBO World Lightweight title fight between Maxi Hughes and Kid Galahad at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on September 24, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

After beating Rankin in September, Harper called for a rematch with Jonas, who holds the WBC, WBO and IBF straps.

"There is a fight that everyone knows can be made - it is one that me and my team want. I think Tasha wants it as well. It will probably be one of the biggest domestic female fights,” said Harper.

Maxi Hughes

After being crowned IBO lightweight champion in September 2021, the Doncaster man continued his remarkable rise with two successful defences in 2022. In 2023, he wants to become a unified world champion.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Dalton Smith in action during the British Super-lightweight championship fight between Dalton Smith and Kaisee Benjamin on the Boxxer fight night at Manchester Arena on November 12, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Dalton Smith in action during the British Super-lightweight championship fight between Dalton Smith and Kaisee Benjamin on the Boxxer fight night at Manchester Arena on November 12, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Dalton Smith in action during the British Super-lightweight championship fight between Dalton Smith and Kaisee Benjamin on the Boxxer fight night at Manchester Arena on November 12, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

He is now ranked 10th with the Ring Magazine – largely considered as the most accurate ordering of a division – and ninth with the IBF. After beating Ryan Walsh and Kid Galahad in 2022, Hughes wants to improve his ranking with the IBF and earn a world title shot.

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The lightweight was ready to retire from boxing four years ago but is now unbeaten in his last seven fights. Devin Haney is the current undisputed lightweight champion and is poised to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko early this year.

However, mandatory fights will likely mean he will be physically unable to remain undisputed as the separate sanctioning bodies demand challengers are fought. According to his promoter Bob Arum, if Haney beats Lomachenko, he could vacate all of his belts and move up a weight class – leaving the belt free for Hughes to take a shot at it.

Dalton Smith

Jimmy First. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer.Jimmy First. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer.
Jimmy First. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer.

The undefeated British super lightweight champion is set for a big 2023 after signing a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing last month.

In 2022, he moved his professional record to 13-0 with four wins from four fights and picked up the WBC international silver and British titles to further enhance his reputation as a potential world champion. Smith wants to add more titles to his collection throughout 2023 before fighting for a world title at Hillsborough, the home of Sheffield Wednesday, in 2024. With the way his 2022 has gone, it would be a surprise if he was not in line for a world title shot in 12 months time.

Jimmy First

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The 41-year-old shot to fame in December as he beat the undefeated Cory Gibbs live on Sky Sports, despite taking the fight at less than two weeks notice.

The Brighouse boxer won the central area title in 2022 and won all four of his fights to move his professional record to 14-0. In a hectic year, First broke his hand when it was run over by a car in the summer but bounced back in style to put himself in line for English and British title shots in 2023. He is one of boxing’s most active oldest professionals but things could just be getting started for the Yorkshireman.

Hopey Price

LEEDS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Hopey Price celebrates winning his fight at First Direct Arena on December 10, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)LEEDS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Hopey Price celebrates winning his fight at First Direct Arena on December 10, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
LEEDS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Hopey Price celebrates winning his fight at First Direct Arena on December 10, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old from Leeds is poised for a big year after moving his professional record to 9-0 in 2022.

He is no stranger to the big stage having fought on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight world title fight against Andy Ruiz in December 2019. He has also fought at the Manchester Arena, Sheffield Arena, Wembley Arena, Headingley and most recently beat Jonathan Santana at the Leeds Arena last month. In 2023, the self-proclaimed “best super bantamweight in Britain” is out to prove those are more than just words.