Space division multiplexing (SDM), incorporating multi-core fibers (MCFs), has been demonstrated for effectively maximizing the data capacity in an impending capacity crunch. To achieve high spectral-density through multi-carrier encoding while simultaneously maintaining transmission reach, benefits from inter-core crosstalk (XT) and non-linear compensation must be utilized. In this report, we propose a proof-of-concept unified receiver architecture that jointly compensates optical Kerr effects, intra- and inter-core XT in MCFs. The architecture is analysed in multi-channel 512 Gbit/s dual-carrier DP-16QAM system over 800 km 19-core MCF to validate the digital compensation of inter-core XT. Through this architecture: (a) we efficiently compensates the inter-core XT improving Q-factor by 4.82 dB and (b) achieve a momentous gain in transmission reach, increasing the maximum achievable distance from 480 km to 1208 km, via analytical analysis. Simulation results confirm that inter-core XT distortions are more relentless for cores fabricated around the central axis of cladding. Predominantly, XT induced Q-penalty can be suppressed to be less than 1 dB up-to −11.56 dB of inter-core XT over 800 km MCF, offering flexibility to fabricate dense core structures with same cladding diameter. Moreover, this report outlines the relationship between core pitch and forward-error correction (FEC).