Former British lightweight champions Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla are never in a dull fight, so it was inevitable when they met each other last year we were in for a fight of the year candidate.
Both have been trying to monopolise the FOTY selection process for the last few years. So when the two signed to fight again on May 30th, boxing fans welcomed the news, knowing a return has all the ingredients for another epic encounter, a fighters fight and one every serious fight fan is looking forward to.
So with this contest being made quiet easily and both willing to lay it all on the line again including their careers, we take a look at other domestic all British showdowns that would lighten up our game no end.
1: Tyson Fury (Manchester) v David Price (Liverpool)
Both failed to agree a deal to fight and a meeting looked far away as both went on their separate routes to the top. Unfortunately Price (15-1, 13KOs) was knocked out in his last fight against Tony Thompson losing his unbeaten record and scuppering any immediate plans to face Fury has he rebuilds. But is a fight with Fury still as big as it was before his loss to Thompson? Fury’s next fight is against Steve Cunningham in April on his American debut, it is a world title eliminator and Fury (20-0, 14KOs) will not be looking back if he wins big against Cunningham. But if Price can get a few wins under his belt, Fury v Price is still a big fight and one everybody would want to see regardless.
2: Amir Khan (Bolton) v Kell Brook (Sheffield)
These two have already publicly stated their dislike for each other and the rivalry simmers with a future meeting one day hopefully coming to boiling point. Khan (27-3, 19KOs) is concentrating on re-claiming his light-welterweight world titles and chases a rematch with Danny Garcia who dethroned him last year. Brook meanwhile is lined up to challenge IBF Welterweight champion Devon Alexander in May and is primed to prove he really is the ‘Special One’ – If Khan can regain his titles at 10st his plan is to move up to welterweight to chase his dream of winning world titles at two different weights. Or maybe if Brook (29-0, 18KOs)defeats Alexander and Khan’s rematch with Garcia doesn’t materialise maybe he could be tempted to move up sooner rather than later. If time lines cross favourably, things here could get real!
3: Carl Froch (Nottingham) v George Groves (London)
British super middleweight king Carl Froch’s career success, may well have eased the frustration he once held at never getting to fight his predecessor and former super-middleweight ruler Joe Calzaghe, when the Welshman was coming to the end of his reign and the ‘Cobra’ was looking for his break out win against his fellow Brit who was holding the top spot he craved. Calzaghe retired undefeated 46-0, 32KOs) in 2008 after defeating another ring legend Roy Jones, a month before Froch won the vacant WBC title against Jean Pascal. Froch (30-2, 22KOs)
continued to call Calzaghe out of retirement but he never took the bait and was content to retire with his legacy intact. But does the fact they never met leave a void in the linage and how much does it still nark Froch? Does it bother him enough to not let history repeat itself and will he give the new No1 British challenger to his status the chance that Calzaghe never presented him? Groves (17-0, 13KOs)
is without doubt a worthy challenger, he proved his credentials against DeGale and as looked fantastic in recent performances, a world title shot is certainly coming into sight and signing with Matchroom, the same promoters as Froch makes the fight easier to make. But for now the Top man in British boxing has bigger fish to fry and is fully focused on his rematch with Mikkel Kessler in May and then will look to get a return with Andre Ward if he gets through the tough Dane. But Groves will always be there and will always dream of his chance to fight the old guard just like Froch did, will history repeat? Will Froch let it?
4: Scott Quigg (Manchester) v Carl Frampton (Belfast)
This could well be the fight British boxing fans would most like to see at the moment if prompted. It is a fight that could be made and should be made. The No1 and No2 super-bantamweights in Britain are both unbeaten and both and the verge of world title fights. Manchester’s Quigg (25-0,18KOs) is the current British champion and holds the title as the WBA Interim world champion. Frampton (16-0,11KOs) from Belfast boasts the European and Commonwealth crowns as well as the IBF Inter-continental belt, both ultra talented professionals, its hard to slip a cigarette paper between them and only when the pair meet can the arguments stop. This fight will happen but when? Should it wait until it is worth bigger stakes? Or will it ever get any bigger than it is now?
5: Ricky Burns (Glasgow) v Scott Harrison (Glasgow)
WBO world lightweight champion Ricky Burns just cant seem to tie an opponent down at the moment, his last two fights fell through, resulting in him switching promoters from Frank Warren to Eddie Hearn. Burns (35-2, 10KOs) is set to fight in Glasgow in May, but an opponent is yet to be confirmed, although topping a shortlist is No1 contender Jose Gonzales. But there is one man just up the road who would jump at the chance to face the new Scottish boxing hero and that is Fellow Glaswegian and former world champion Scott Harrison. “I am ready to give the fans the fight Scotland wants to see – me against Ricky Burns. It would be a cracking fight for the fans.” Harrison (27-2-2, 15KOs) told the press this week. Could Matchroom give Scotland and the rest of the UK the big domestic lightweight fight they want to see?
6: Nathan Cleverly (Cardiff) v Tony Bellew (Liverpool)
Ever since these two battled in 2011, fans have been calling for a rematch. In that epic first meeting between the two immovable light-heavyweight Brits. Cleverly (25-0, 12KOs) took a majority points decision after 12 action packed rounds. It was one of them fights that people saw one way or the other and many had Bellew as the winner. Bellew (19-1, 12KOs) has comeback well since that close loss and is on the brink of claiming another shot at a world title. For Cleverly though, a return with Bellew is not on his mind at present and his focus is fully on a unification showdown with the remarkable 48 year-old IBF champion Bernard Hopkins and by the sounds of it, that fight will be made, if the Welshman gets past German Robin Krasniqi, who challenges for his strap on April 20. British champion Bellew faces Isaac Chilemba next and is lined up to defend his Lonsdale belt against English champion Bob Ajisafe in May. Cleverly-Bellew 2 has a certain ring to it and hopefully destiny pairs these two warriors again.
7: Audley Harrison (London) v Dereck Chisora (London)
If there is one fight where we would look forward to the build up just as much as the fight, it is this one! Audley (31-6, 23KOs) says he is still on his road to redemption and ‘Del Boy’ having been given back his British boxing license this week, has just pulled out in his Reliant van behind him. Would it make for a good fight? Well Chisora (15-4, 9KOs) love him or hate him always comes to fight and wouldn’t give Harrison a minutes rest. Big Audley the former Olympic champion who never fulfilled his promise in the pro ranks, came back again recently since his 1st round KO loss to David Price; and won the Prizefighter trophy again and looked not three bad doing it! Chisora says he is only looking for big money fights and one with Audley will sell. Lets get it on!
8: James DeGale (London) v Chris Eubank Jr. (Brighton)
Olympic Gold medallist former British and European champion DeGale is way ahead of young rookie Chris Eubank Jr. in terms of experience and quality of foe. But Eubank Jr. (9-0, 4KOs) is only 5 fights behind and moving up the British middleweight rankings with the same swagger that DeGale (14-1, 9KOs) did before him. They have already had harsh words to say to each other, which all started after they had sparred together and each mocked the others skills and bragged who had got the better. The feud has left an underlying resentment and a fight down the line looks inevitable. Both are signed with Hennesy Sports, they will be fighting on the same bills and look set to cross paths in the future.
9: Martin Murray (St. Helens) v Matthew Macklin (Birmingham)
A bit of dislike between boxers always adds spice to a potential meeting and even the nice guys in boxing can get on each others wick eventually. It seems that this fight has festered that long, it has created a genuine dislike and neither have much time for the other. But both have plenty in common having both come up short in controversial world title fights against Felix Sturm. Macklin lost a highly disputed split decision to the German, while Murray could only draw with Sturm again with many believing Murray should have come away with Sturm’s title. Macklin (29-4, 20KOs) went onto fight Argentinian star Sergio Martinez but retired in the 11th after a brave effort. Murray (25-0-1, 11KOs) himself faces Martinez on April 27th. If Murray can pull off what is considered an impossible task against Martinez in Argentina, then Macklin would be a perfect voluntary defence. If Murray doesn’t get past Martinez, then a all British clash with Macklin still make sense, classic written all over this one!
10: Darren Barker (London) v Billy Joe Saunders (London)
Big London derby matchups always wet the boxing appetite and capital bragging rights have always helped to produce some middleweight classics down the years. Barker (25-1, 16KOs) lost his world title challenge to Sergio Martinez in 2011 after he was stopped in the 11th. Since then Barker has bounced back with two good wins and is looking like a reinvigorated boxer and seeking big fights. Saunders (16-0, 10KOs) is the current British title holder and first has to deal with the stiff challenge of Matthew Hall this month. But if both are looking to cement their domestic legacy then a fight would make sense and would be one that would split predictions down the middle, proper fight!
11: Denton Vassell (Manchester) v Frankie Gavin (Birmingham)
Other than Kell Brook these two welterweights rule the British domestic scene and the only way to see who is the true No1 to Brooks status is for them to get it on in the ring. Both have big respect for the other and unlike DeGale and Eubank Jr. are fond each other. But this is a fight that doesn’t require any pre fight bullshit, all would speak for itself, a genuine matchup of two prospects in the prime of there careers. The loser could come again and the winner propelled to bigger heights. The BBBofC have put out purse bids this week for this fight to take place before June. Potential fight of the year and another pick em, chances are though this fight may be put on the back burner for a while longer and could be one for 2014. – Denton Vassell (20-0, 10KOs) Frankie Gavin (15-0, 11KOs)
12: Jamie McDonnell (Doncaster) v Lee Haskins (Bristol)
Why has this fight never happened at title level? Two quality operators and No1 and No2 Bantamweights in the country. McDonnell (20-2-1, 9KOs) is on the verge of a world title shot, while Haskins is coming off a defeat to Stephan Jamoye for the European title. McDonnell defeated Jamoye a couple of years back and is getting better with age, since winning the British title he has done it proud and been fantastic at European level. Haskins (26-3, 11KOs) is one of the most naturally gifted UK boxers, his skills and reflexes are unique, but is age catching up with him. They fought in 2008 over 8-rounds with Haskins taking the fight by just one point. A rematch with McDonnell over the championship distance would make for a good spectacle.
13: Gavin Rees (Newbridge) v John Murray (Manchester)
When this fight was first mentioned a few months back, it had you wincing just thinking about it and the brutality a meeting between this pair of battlers would produce and inflict on each other, it would be a sure classic domestic The first time they were to meet last year was cancelled after Murray had an irregular scan comeback after a routine check prior to the fight. He has since been cleared to fight on after further tests and is expected to make his ring return soon. Rees (37-2-1, 18KOs) has just come back from the States where he challenged WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner last month. After a brave effort he was eventually stopped in round 5. Murray (31-2, 18KOs) is also coming off the biggest fight of his life and a 11th round loss to Brandon Rios in December 2011 for the WBA world title. Prior to that Murray was involved in fight of 2011 against another British rival Kevin Mitchell. The lightweight domestic picture is full of talent, throw Kevin Mitchell into this mix and a three way battle of the three best in the division would be really something to light up British boxing.
14: Gary Buckland (Cardiff) v Gary Sykes (Dewsbury)
A third meeting between these two adversaries would no doubt be as intensive and action packed has the first two. Buckland knocked-out Sykes (23-3, 5KOs) in the first round of the Prizefighter semi final in 2010. At the time Sykes held the British title, but that night it wasn’t on the line, but Buckland (27-2, 9KOs) got his chance to claim the title and did in a rematch for Syke’s Lonsdale belt. The second meeting was voted by many as 2011’s ‘Fight of the Year, a classic 12 round championship battle that saw Buckland take a close UD and Sykes’ title. A third meeting would no doubt start off as the last one finished with these two tough pros going toe to toe.
15: Lee Selby (Barry) v Stephen Smith (Liverpool)
A rematch between these two featherweights has been touted ever since Selby knocked-out Smith in the 5th round of their 2011 meeting. That night in Liverpool, Selby (14-1, 5KOs) took Smith’s British and Commonwealth titles with a great performance and a brutal one punch finish. But Smith insists it just wasn’t his night and he did not look his usual solid self. Selby in contrast performed great and as since gone on to prove he is the top featherweight in the country, but his No1 challenger is still Smith (15-1, 8KOs) after rebuilding well since that first fight. If both keep winning it’s a meeting that will make itself somewhere down the line, it is the fight Smith craves more than any!
16: Paul Butler
(Ellesmere Port) v Kevin Satchell
Both these Lonsdale belt holders from Merseyside have stormed through to rule their domestic weight classes. Satchell (10-0, 2KOs) is the current British and Commonwealth flyweight champion, Butler holds the British super-flyweight belt and is lined up to fight for the commonwealth strap in April. The two domestic divisions don’t boast the kind of packed talent the higher weight classes do and both young men will eventually develop and look at moving up divisions. Should Satchell dominate this year and cement his position, he may soon seek the bigger fights and challenges at the bigger weights. If Paul Butler (9-0, 4KOs) is still at super-flyweight then there is no bigger fight for both.
17: Martin Gethin (Walsall) v Terry Flanagan (Manchester)
In last years lightweight Prizefighter tournament, English champion Terry Flanagan (19-0, 5KOs) stepped up from super-featherweight to win the trophy beating former British champions Derry Mathews and then Gary Sykes in the final to claim the coveted trophy. Since then no offers came Flanagan’s way. After deciding to stay at lightweight and chase a British title shot at 135lbs, Flanagan has landed a fight with former undisputed lightweight champion Nate Campbell and a win will have him chasing that British title shot. Martin Gethin (24-3-1, 11KOs) claimed the vacant British title in January stopping Ben Murphy in the 9th and is lined up to defend it against Tommy Coyle next month. Coyle will be a stern test for the new champion in his first defense and should he win, a match up with southpaw Flanagan would make for an interesting clash of styles and skills between two technical boxers.
18: Darren Hamilton (Bristol) v Adil Anwar (Leeds)
This fight has already been put out to purse bids and is likely to take place before the end of June which is good news for British fight fans. This fight may not look like being a classic on paper, but it does carry a certain degree of intrigue. How good is British champion Hamilton? (13-2, 3KOs) On his last two performances, very good! He won the Lonsdale belt by outpointing Ashley Theophane in May last year, before successfully defending the strap against Steve Williams last month. Against Anwar, Hamilton will be making the second defence of the belt and will have a tough fight on his hands. Anwar (19-1, 7KOs) is in great form and deserves his shot at the British title and will be a dangerous test for the champion. This one is a real pick’em and will show us just how good the other is and which one will rule over the domestic light-welterweights.
19: Richard Towers (Sheffield) v Ian Lewison (London)
This is a fight that has edge! Both of these big British heavyweight contenders have been having a war of words out of the ring, flinging insults at each other over Twitter, with a genuine mutual dislike that would bring about a passionate encounter if they met. Richard Towers (14-0, 11KOs) – Ian Lewison (7-2-1, 4KOs)
20:Brian Rose (Blackpool) v Liam Smith (Liverpool)
It looks like Brian Rose (22-1-1, 6KOs) will give up the Britsh light0middleweight title after his next fight with Joachim Alcline. Rose has won the Lonsdale belt for keeps after making the required three defences and now sits at the top of the 11st domestic scene. Commonwealth champion Liam Smith (13-0-1, 5KOs) is just parked right up behind Rose in the British rankings and this would be a real fight if it were to eventually occur.
Fight for the Furure!
Kal Yafai (Birmingham) v Kid Gallahad (Sheffield)
A Cat amongst the pigeons here! – This is a fight that wont be happening soon, but looking to the future it is a fight that could happen. There is only 4lbs between these two exciting talents, who are tipped by many experts to be the future of British boxing and such are the skills and potential they have shown to date. Both unbeaten if it stays like that and they both crave domestic dominance a meeting in the next couple of years may not seem as far fetched as it does at the moment. Kal Yafai (7-0, 6KOs) – Kid Gallahad (13-0, 6KOs)
Other notable mentions and fights that are either made or are put out to purse bids are;
– Paul Smith Jr. v Tony Dodson – British super-middleweight title
– Tony Bellew v Bob Ajisafe – British light-heavyweight title
– Billy Joe Saunders v Matthew Hall – British middleweight title
– Prince Arron v Nick Blackwell – British title eliminator
– Lee Purdy v Junior Witter – English welterweight title
– Shane Singleton v Tyrone Nurse – English light-welterweight title
– James Dickins v Jon Fernandez – English super-bantamweight title
Is there any other all British Fights You Would Like To See?
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