Awards by www.britishboxers.co.uk – Our picks for 2012

British boxer of year: Carl Froch
Young boxer of year: Tyson Fury
British fight of year: Anthony Crolla vs Kieran Farrell
Round of the year: Kell Brook vs Carson Jones Round 10
Comeback of the year: Ricky Hatton
Most progress 2012: Brian Rose
Trainer of year: Rob McCracken
KO of the year: Carl Froch KO5 Lucian Bute
Promoter of year: Eddie Hearn
Upset of year: Garcia KO4 Khan
Event of year: London Olympics
Pick for 2013: Kid Galahad
Overseas fighter of year: Juan Manuel Marquez
Special mention:
The superb success our boxers at London 2012

Carl Froch with coach Robert McCracken

Britain’s current No1 fighter Carl Froch and our Boxer of the Year, ended 2011 with a loss, titleless and in that position of having to prove his credentials over again after losing to Andre Ward last December and with it his WBC belt, in the Final of the Super Six Tournament.

It is the true sign of a quality fighter that after losing at the highest level, they rebound and reclaim and in some cases become a more seasoned pugilist, a loss can make a fighter. Froch can indeed enter that club alright after bouncing back in 2012. The Cobra constricted his grip on a world title again in May he ripped the IBF version of the super middleweight title from unbeaten champion Lucian Bute in five brutal rounds. He finished his year in November with a third round blowout of Yusaf Mack to claim his place has the No1 pound for pound British boxer.
 
Another of our former world champions on the comeback path this past year was Amir Khan. After suffering that devastating knockout loss against Danny Garcia in July, the Bolton man changed trainers from Freddie Roach to Virgill Hunter and made his anticipated return in December stopping Carlos Molina to start his redemption to another world title shot and to follow in the footsteps of Carl Froch and prove he can comeback from the bottom to reach the very top again. 2013 will be a very important year for Khan.
 
Ricky Burns

Our established WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns seems to go from strength to strength and visibly is improving with age and every fight, filling the role as world champion in splendid fashion. The former super-featherweight champion stepped up to lightweight to become a two weight world champion by beating Michael Katsidis in 2011 and in 2012 defended the title twice, against Paulus Moses in March and then he stopped Londoner Kevin Mitchell in September a fourth round KO, which not many had predicted. Burns was expected to end the year with a third title defence in December but the boxers who were lined up to face the Coatsbridge champion pulled out and with no last minute opponent found the his night was cancelled. Ricky will be looking for big fights in 2013 and possibly a unification match up with American superstar in the making Adrien Broner.

Broner though will first be facing another former British world champion when he defends his WBC lightweight belt against ‘The Rock’ Gavin Rees on 16th February. Rees had a good 2012 winning the British and European lightweight titles. Rees started his professional career has a featherweight before going onto win the WBA light-welterweight title in 2007, at the last minute he stepped in to outpoint Souleymane M’baye. Rees lost the title in his first defence against Andriy Kotelnyk. Since then the Newbridge boxer has remained unbeaten in 11 fights on his road to getting another crack at a world title. Broner is without any doubt one of the highest regarded prospects in world boxing, but don’t write off ‘The Rock’ he gives anyone fight and Broner will soon realise they breed them tough in the valleys.
 
Nathan Cleverly

Nathan Cleverly our other current world champion also from the Welsh valleys, didn’t quite have the 2012 he would have hoped for and the really big fights did not materialise for him. But he managed to get in two world title defences the last one in Los Angles an 8th round KO over Shawn Hawk in November and with unification fights his main desire. 2013 will hopefully be the year that the talented Cleverly will gets the chance to prove how good he can be.

Former heavyweight world champion David Haye was another who made a 2012 comeback, be it among some of the worst controversy seen in the British game, proceeding the Munich presser brawl with Dereck Chisora, after ‘DelBoy had given Vitali Klitchko a good scrap for 12 rounds before losing on points in Germany in February. Haye and Chisora swapped ungloved fists at that infamous presser which set up their July grudge match at West Ham’s football ground.

Haye took the fight with Chisora which wasn’t affiliated with the British Boxing Board of Control but the Luxembourg Boxing Association. The Hayemaker knocked Chisora out in the 5th round to settle the score and win his respect. Haye’s boxing career is still in the balance, even though his popularity has risen in the mainstream after his appearance on TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ – Haye who said he would only ever return to fight a Klitschko brother, looks like he may get that chance this year against Vitali a fight that will be one of the biggest heavyweight fights for years.

British boxing can at present boast two of the brightest heavyweight prospects in world boxing with David Price and Tyson Fury. The Northwest pair lead the crop of big men lining up to take over the reigns when the Klitschko brothers finally call it a day. Price and Fury both unbeaten are destined to meet and most people want to see that fight now. But with both now breaking the top 10 world rankings when they do meet the stakes will be much higher than domestic level and a world title could be on the line. It is a fight that will brew and if both remain unbeaten will be the biggest British heavyweight contest since Lennox Lewis defended his WBC title against Frank Bruno in 1993 at the Cardiff Arms Park.
 
Both are doing just fine, Price is cleaning up the British heavyweight top 10, which should be done before embarking on the European and world stages and Fury still just 24, has stormed through the heavyweight rankings and this year he has won a WBC world title eliminator fight against world ranked Kevin Johnson and broke into the Ring Magazine top 10 heavyweight’s making him our Young Boxer of the Year.
 
2012 saw the unexpected return of Ricky Hatton in the comeback event of the year, the ‘Hitman’ decided he had to go to the well one last time in search of closure on a glittering career, that had ended abruptly and out of the Manchester warrior’s control, when Manny Pacquaio knocked him out in May 2009. Before Hatton had time to decide on his future, he had gained 4 stone, slid into a spiral of drink and drug abuse and bouts of depression that eventually saw his forced retirement from the ring.
 
The Hitmans comeback was Big News

But after beating his personal demons Hatton got himself back in shape, which was an amazing effort and transformation and even though he lost the fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko, getting stopped in the 9th round, with ironically a left hook to the body, Hatton’s own famous favourite shot. The Hitman came out of the ring that night last month a different man to the one who had lost to Pacquaio. This time everything was on his terms, the return, the fight, the loss and the immediate plan to retire.

Hatton can look pon himself now with pride, knowing he overcame his biggest battle. In the fight as always Ricky put on a good show and early on we saw the odd glimpse of the old Hatton, even though it all looked a bit surreal. But it was a shadow of the terrific fighter who became a national hero and fight fans favourite the world overand he will not be remembered for it, but for the years of unadulterated fighting excitement and .  Hatton’s legacy is already layed firm in the British boxing history books and it will take a special person and boxer to follow in his popular footsteps.

 
GB Boxing Squad 2012

Summer saw British boxing rise to unprecedented heights when our Olympic team secured three gold’s, a silver and a bronze to finish top of the boxing medals table – the best haul since 1908. With the amateur game receiving extra funding in run up to the 2016 games, GB Boxing looks like going from good to great. Coach of the year Robert McCracken has been a catalyst in the rise and success of the GB boxing squad and combined with his coaching of Carl Froch the former fighter is reaping the success from his dedication and quality coaching skills.

Every single coach in the country deserves a mention here too, both amateur and pro, for the continued work they do day in day out all year every year, to produce the boxers and the future champions that we enjoy to watch and who keep the sport alive and well.
 
Our three world class middleweights continued to avoid each other for another year. Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker and Martin Murray took separate paths on the world scene, Macklin got a deserved shot at middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez in March, but was stopped after a brave effort in the 11th. The Birmingham man came back in September with a good 1st round KO over Joachim Alcine keeping himself in world contention. Martinez also put paid to Barkers world title desires in 2011 stopping the Londoner also in the 11th round. Barker was out of the ring for 14 months after that fight, but came back to impressively stop former European champion Kerry Hope in 4 rounds to get his career back on track and set up 2013 nicely.
Martin Murray stops Jorge Navarro

Martin Murray’s 2013 starts just nicely indeed, the St. Helen’s man gets a much deserved shot at another world title after his draw with Felix Sturm this time last year. But Murray will have to tread ground that Macklin and Barker have tried and failed and that is the grounds of British middleweight slayer Martinez. Murray also has the task of facing the Argentinian champion in his home country on April 27. Murray will be up against it, but no one is more deserving of a crack at the big time.

Family man Murray is an honest pro who has paid his dues and will give his all against Martinez, it’s one hell of a mountain to climb, but at 38 bit time the fight happens maybe Martinez could get old over night and if we have a middleweight export capable of testing Maravilla’s years, then Martin Murray and his coach Oliver Harrison might just be father time for Martinez, bigger upsets have happened!

Another British middleweight who will be hoping to join the aforementioned trio is new British champion Billy Joe Saunders, unbeaten in 16 fights with 10 KO’s and is making good progress. But don’t forget another middleweight coming through the ranks in quick time, Chris Eubank Jnr.A succession of terrestrial TV fights that have been broadcast on Channel 5 and given the son of the former world champion Chris Eubank Snr exposure and a great stage to strut his stuff and up to now his skills have impressed. Many believe the boy of Simply the Best might be the second coming and just as good and they’ll be right. A fight with Saunders is one that looks likely somewhere down the line.
 
Kell Brook

Kell Brook is still unbeaten still getting the plaudits from the boxing fraternity, still being hailed has one of the most naturally gifted UK fighters produced for years and still destined for the top.

His world title eliminator fight against Carson Jones proved the Sheffield stylist wasn’t quiet the finished article by any means. But after being pushed to the limit by Jones in July in a terrific toe to toe battle, he shown heart and toughness to come through on the back of a points win over Matthew Hatton in March.

The Special One finished the year with a good 3rd round KO over big hitting Hector David Saldivia, a win that resulted in him getting a shot at IBF world welterweight champion Devon Alexander on February 23 in Detroit. It is time for Brook to show us that Special element which will see him take the step up to world champion, it will feel like his destiny and we are sure he will do it. But Alexander a two time world champion is a fighter of proven qualities and other than his loss to Timothy Bradley, has stopped 13 in his 24 wins. But this is the start of a new era in British boxing and as the old guard come to the end of their respected careers, Brook leads the new generation who will take the sport in this country safely into the next decade and expect him to find a way to overcome Alexander and bring that title back to Yorkshire. Mathew Hatton came back well from the loss to Brook with a first round stoppage over Michael Lomax in October and in March this year gets a shot at the IBO world title belt in South Africa against Chris Van Heerden, don’t write Hatton off just yet, he might now be entering the best couple of years of his career.

Frankie Gavin topped the British welterweight rankings when he finished off the year has British champion after outpointing Junior Witter. The former world amateur champion looks like finally fulfilling his professional potential and take 2013 by storm.
 
Our domestic scene is as healthy as its ever been, in fact on December 8th a new record was set for professional boxing in Britain when 58 fights took place on one night. The previous highest record was set 60 years prior on February 4 1952.
 
Brian Rose and Bobby Rimmer

British light-middleweight champion Brian Rose shown all that is great about the game in this country when he defended his treasured Lonsdale belt three times in 2012 to get the honour of keeping the strap outright, an honour British boxers have strived and become folk hero’s in achieving. Behind Rose is a story of setbacks he has had to endure and overcome to get to where he now stands. In 2009 Rose was involved in a Central area title fight with Doncaster’s Jason Rushton, Rose won the fight via a 10th round stoppage. After the fight Rushton collapsed and was hospitalised were he had to have surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain. Jason pulled through, but his boxing career was over.

The experience haunted Brian and he nearly quit boxing. But after counselling sessions with friend Emma James and coach and father figure Bobbby Rimmer, Rose got his head back into boxing or had he. In his first fight back he was knocked out cold by Max Maxwell in the 6th round in 2010 on the brink of a British title shot against then champion Sam Webb. It was evident that Brian had not got over his fight with Jason Rushton and he again had to build back his confidence and will to fight on to accomplish his boyhood dream of winning a Lonsdale belt.

Since that loss to Maxwell the Blackpool boxer has remained unbeaten in 8 fights, in which he eventually won the British title against Prince Aron who had defeated Webb. 2012 saw Rose avenge the loss to Maxwell, defend the title against Kris Carslaw and then go full circle by winning the belt for keeps by defeating Sam Webb in December to round off a great year for Brian and his coach Bob.

Carl Froch maintains firm hold not only over the British super-middleweight division but also the P4P British boxing list. But two fighters looking to jump in his place given half a chance are George groves and James DeGale.The pair who are staunch enemies in their own right have dared in 2012 to call out the elder statesman of their weight class and test the reactions of the Cobra. At the moment Froch has bigger prey to sink his fangs into and they will have to wait while he chases career defining fights against Mikkell Kessler and Andre Ward. Froch look likely to face Kessler in the summer of next year and if a rematch with Ward doesn’t come off then you never know, Groves and DeGale might just get their wish? But maybe first they may have to meet each other again. Both have progressed well in 2012 and improved no end, they are taking separate roads at present but in the next couple of years their path will surely cross.
 
Crolla outpoints Farrell in fight of the Year

British fight of the year goes to Anthony Crolla vs Kieran Farrell for the English lightweight title, which took place on December 7th at Bowlers Arena in Manchester. I was lucky enough to witness the fight live, although knowing both lads it was pretty hard to watch at times and even harder after it. 

When Farrell was rushed to hospital after collapsing having taken part in ten rounds of non stop action. Keiran is a born battler, boxing writer Terry Dooley recently presented him the ‘Heart as big as Arturo Gatti award and many other awards could be bestowed on the Heywood lad. Kieran awaits to hear from the medical advisers, to see if he will ever box again after the post fight complications. That night against Crolla he came up short on points, but his performance will live in the memory of those who were there or have watched it since, it’s just a good a fight on tape and one that will be remembered when discussing the classics, we wish Kieran a swift recovery.
 
Anthony Crolla is almost monopolising the fight of the year awards, his fights have either been there or there abouts for the last three. Crolla may not come across has your typical hardened professional in the toughest game of all. But when this guy gets in the ring, he is as ruthless and cold as they come and if you can beat him or push him all the way in a championship fight, then you will likely have been in the fight of the year! 2013 starts for Crolla with a rematch against Derry Mathews on March 30 at the Echo arena and make no mistake this one will be another corker with the Commonwealth lightweight title on the line.
 
Derry Mathews

Derry Mathews himself is a boxer never in a dull fight and always brings his all to every encounter. This year alone he has been in at least three fight of the year contenders. His obvious toe to toe war with Crolla in which he scored a 6th round stoppage typified Mathews’ makeup. He then pushed former world champion Gavin Rees all the way in defence of his British title and challenge for the European. It was again a war of attrition, just has Derry likes it, but he came up short in the end and was stopped by the impressive Welshman in the 9th. And don’t forget these fights were sandwiched between his great battle with Emiliano Marsili and his brave effort in the Prizefighter tournament in October. Cut over both eyes Mathews made it to the semi finals but lost to eventual winner Terry Flanagan.

Mathews had retired from boxing in 2009 after losing three fights on the bounce, since his ring return he has had 16 fights all an occasion. Win lose or draw this tough Liverpudlian is a proper fighter who since his second coming has brought non stop entertainment to the British game, we will miss him when he’s gone!

Another Liverpool boxer who had a great year was Liam Smith, one of the City’s famous fighting Smith brothers, whotook the commonwealth light-middleweight title in his 14th fight when he outpointed Steve O’ Meara in December in what was a mature and competent display by the 24 year-old. Prior to this fight Smith had won a British title eliminator and in 2013 he will have his eye on that Lonsdale belt. With current holder Brian Rose ready to give the belt up after recently winning it outright, Smith will be ready to get his hands on the vacant Lonsdale belt if the chance comes his way in the new year.

Callum Smith

There was another Smith brother introduced to the pro ranks this year courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith. The youngest of the boxing siblings, former top amateur Callum Smith, who made his debut in November and had his second in December, both impressive performances and this Smith looks like he could keep the family name going for many years.

Paul and Stephen Smith will hope to get their careers off and running again in 2013 and looking for domestic honours again. Lets hope in the future a show can be put together that will feature all of the Smith’s on the same card in one night.

Ola Afolabi was involved in one of the fights of the year in Germany when he drew with Marco Huck in May and was unlucky not to take the WBO Cruiserweight belt. But if you get a draw in Germany, you could physiologically see that has a win and Ola will be seeking a rematch with Huck in the new year. It would be great to see the Brixton born fighter now based in the States, fight for the British title, a fight with him and John Lewis Dickinson would be a great fight and bring Ola back to his roots and give his UK fans the chance to see him in action again.

Scott Quigg proved he is the No1 super-bantamweight in the country when he stopped Rendall Munroe in a rematch in November after their first fight ended in a technical draw after a cut. Quigg proved too hungry and too sharp for Munroe who after giving boxing a great service retired in December.
Scott Quigg

The former British and European champion and world title challenger had a career to be proud of and can hang up his gloves proud of his achievements. For Quigg now unbeaten in 26 fights, 18 wins by KO, and the holder of Interim WBA title, world chances are just around the corner for the Bury lad and Quigg is our tip as the fighter who could break into the world class bracket and become a big world name in the next few years.

Belfast’s Carl Frampton is a name Scott Quigg will forever be linked with until the pair eventually meet. The Commonwealth champion Frampton fights for the European belt against Kiko Martinez in February and is hot on the heals of Quigg and when the two eventually do meet it will be a big fight and a potential classic.

Other British title holders who rose to domestic prominence in 2012 were cruiserweight king John Lewis Dickinson who defeated Matty Askin and then successfully defended against Shane McPhilbin. He will make the second defence in February against David Dolan.Mancunian southpaw Terry ‘turbo’ Flanagan had a year to be proud of, winning the English super-featherweight title before triumphing in the Prizefighter lightweights II in a memorable year that saw Flanagan take part in 8 fights to take his career tally to 19-0 – He will take some beating at domestic level and a British title fight is surely around the corner for Turbo.
 
Terry Flanagan

2013 could be the breakthrough year for Flanagan who has quietly made his way through the rankings and in Prizefighter managed to overcome two former British champions in Derry Mathews and Gary Sykes. In defence of his English belt against Troy James in September he overcome an inspired challenger in one of the small hall fights of the year. Keep your eye out for Flanagan he could just turn into something special.

World ranked Tony Bellew remained unbeaten in 2012 after bouncing back from his 2011 loss to Nathan Cleverly, the Liverpool tough guy had three testing wins in 2012 against Danny McIntosh (KO5) Edison Miranda (KO9) and then claimed the WBC Silver title by outpointing the hard hitting Roberto Bolonti (UD12) after coming through a tough fight with a cut, Bellew shown his class and the ability to adapt when the going gets tough. The loss to Cleverly was as close as it comes and the Everton favourite will be looking to push on to another world title shot this year.

Edinburgh’s Kenny Anderson finally got the British title shot he deserved when he was matched with veteran former world champion on the comeback trail Robin Reid. Anderson had to work hard to overcome a determined Reid and did so to become champion with a 5th round stoppage.

Darren Hamilton

Darren Hamilton shown what can be achieved with desire and determination, when the former homeless man rose to the top of the British picture in May outpointing Ashley Theophane to get his hands on the coveted Lonsdale light-welterweight belt, a nice guy who deserved his success in 2012.

Welsh warriors Gary Buckland and stable mate Lee Selby remained British title holders and under coach Tony Borg our Coach of 2011, remain dominant in their domestic divisions and will see 2013 as a year they attempt to win the belts outright before moving upto European level.


British, European and Commonwealth Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell continued to reign supreme with a European title defence against Ivan Pozo (KO2) and then won a IBF world title final eliminator fight against Darwin Zamora (RT8) and the Doncaster dynamo is on the cusp of a world title fight. McDonnell may go under the radar a bit considering he is a 3 time champion and at the top of his game, but 2013 can be his breakthrough year and if he gets his chance at the big one, write this gritty Yorkshireman off at your peril.

Paul Butler

After just 9 fights, 4 in 2012, Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler marauded his way to the British super-flyweight title in November, after stopping John Donnelly in the first round. ‘The Baby Faced Assassin’ is just that and has skills, power and a real viscous streak when he steps in the ring and it is going to take a special super-flyweight to stop Butler’s rise to the top. The Anthony Farnell trained boxer will most likely move through the weights as he develops over the years and could be up there with the big names in the next five years.
 
Another Merseyside boxer in a hurry in 2012 was Kevin Satchell who like Butler claimed a British title in just his 9th fight, when he stopped Chris Edwards in 6 rounds. Satchell starts the year with a defence against Luke Wilton in February and it will be interesting to see how far he can go this year, certainly one to watch.

Have gloves will travel and fight anyone heavyweight Michael Sprott finished 2012 with an unexpected but great win against unbeaten in 22 fights, world ranked German prospect Edmund Gerber in Germany. It now propels Sprott into a possible European title fight against Robert Helenius in the new year.

Overall 2012 was a good year for British boxing and pound for pound we are more than punching our weight with the best boxing countries in the world. Heres to a great 2013 and another year to make our game proud. If you are still reading, then Id like to thank-you for your support over the last four years since we started this website and hope we can continue to bring you story‘s interviews and current news and topics from around the British boxing scene.

RIP: The sport lost some legendary names in 2012 in this country and abroad and we would like to remember everyone of them for the memories and history they gave us and boxing, a full list of the names who have passed can be viewed here

Up and coming prospects to watch out for in 2013

Kid Galahad
Callum Smith
Bradley Saunders
Craig Evans
Steve Williams
Jack Catterell
Sean Dodd
Ryan Doyle
Kal Yafai
Jimmy Kelly
Jazza Dickens
Mitch Buckland
Scotty Cardle 
Frank Buglioni
Gary Cornish
Chris Eubank Jr.
Chad Gaynor
Rhys Pagan
Thomas Costello
Iain Butcher
Matty Fagan
John Thain
Tomi Tatham
Mitchell Smith
Liam Hanrahan
Wadi Chamacho
Adam Etches
Sam Sheedy
Bradley Skeet

This is in fact only a short list of talent coming through and I’m convinced that in the next few years some of these fighters will be the big names of the sport.

By Chris Maylett
www.britishboxers.co.uk

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