So we compare today’s boxing affairs with the Benn, Eubank, Watson and Collins era, like the generations before us, judged on Ted Kid Lewis. Jimmy Wild, Ken Buchannan, John Conteh etc. in the days of the British Empire title fights, when the best of the UK battled each other in packed halls across the country, with some going on, to fight the best around for world titles.
After a few mixed years prior to, British boxing witnessed something of a revival in 2009. David Haye became the first British heavyweight World champion since Lennox Lewis, defeating the giant Russian champion Nikolai Valuev on points in Germany.
Haye’s victory took away some of the gloom, after seeing British boxing’s previous talisman Ricky Hatton lose in dramatic fashion against Manny Pacquiaoin May. Hatton looks almost certain to fight again in 2010 not wanting to leave the game he has been at the top of for so long, in the fashion his last fight ended, Juan Manuel Marquez is his touted comeback foe.
Carl Froch defended his WBC belt twice against Jermain Taylor his American debut, winning in dramatic fashion in the 12th round. He then went on to defeat another American opponent in Andre Dirrell which was his first fight in the much welcomed addition to the game the Super six tournament. Froch’s next fight will be against former champion , Dane and former Calzaghe victim Mikkel Kessler in the new year.
Amir Khan, still only 22, made a remarkable comeback having been knocked out against Bredis Prescott,when this year he captured the WBA light-Welterweight title beating Andre Kotelnik, beating ring legend Marco Antionio Barrera along the way. Since moving to train with well respected coach Freddy Roach in his Wild card gym in L.A, Khan has made Hugh steps not only in his attitude to the game but Roach is moulding Khan’s natural talents into a well oiled cog and sparring and training with boxing’s Pound for Pound king Manny Pacquiao can only bring Khan on further.
Ryan Rhodes pulled off a unbelievable win against Jamie Moore in the domestic fight of the year to capture the British light middleweight title thirteen years after winning the same title against Paul Jones in 1996.
Jamie Moore now looks set to move up to Middleweight and such the talent Moore is, he will come again. A fight down the line could be a rematch with Mathew Macklin, the current European champion at middleweight, anyone who recalls there first fight, will be queuing for tickets for another dose of that. But first Macklin must defend against Dimitry Pirog of Russia.
Anthony Small will be looking for a European title shot at light middleweight against Rhodes, Small who holds the British and Commonwealth titles is a natural challenger, also giving Rhodes the chance to claim Smalls belts making that a fight we hope the promoters can make for 2010.
Unbeaten Welterweight Kell Brook continues to make progress and his fight with Michael Jennings could well be fight of 2010, it will take place at Wembley Arena on the 13th February.
Jennings who failed in his attempt to win the world title against Miguel Cotto, as a great chance to bounce back to the fore, Brooke looks like the real deal and there is something about him that makes you sit up and watch, a hard fight to call, but one not to miss.
The impressive Nathan Cleverly remains on course for great things in the new year, already British and Commonwealth light heavyweight champion, he aims to add the vacant European title to his collection when he goes up against Italian Antonio Brancalion in January 2010 in Brancalion’s back yard.
Kevin Mitchell stakes his claim to a world title shot by impressively beating Amir Khan’s conqueror, Breidis Prescott, a fight with Khan is on Mitchell’s radar and that fight could be a possibility.
Another British Boxer on the trail of Khan is Manchester’s John Murray, despite losing his British lightweight crown on the scales, coming in 2oz overweight for the Scott Lawton defence, he recaptured the title in his next fight, impressing with a dominant victory over Jon Thaxton, sending him into retirement, and establishing himself as the number one lightweight in Britain. With Mitchell at number two, again there is another great match up that makes itself.
Murray the former British Boxers young fighter of the year is still unbeaten and I believe if he gets the right fights and lives the life and is patient, he can be a future World champion. His next step is a European title shot against Anthony Mezaache in the new year.
Mitchell and Murray could still both step up to light welterweight in the future, then British boxing could see a prize fighter es tournament of massive proportions and British boxing could have an era for the next decade of debates, when fans could be talking of the days when Hatton, Khan, Witter, Murray and Mitchell all fought each other… them years were good….. well I suppose we can dream!
Joe Gallagher, Murray’s long time trainer and friend is a shrewed operator and is developing a good stable of fighters at his gym in Denton Greater Manchester, Billy Graham’s former Phoenix camp and the breeding ground for Ricky Hatton’s successful career. Johns brother and former Olympian Joe Murray is also a talented boxer looking to progress in 2010.
Also in Gallaghers care is European middleweight champion Matthew Macklin who since moving up to middleweight after his loss to Jamie Moore, as made a statementthat middleweight is his territory and a potential fight againstunbeaten Commonwealth champion Barnett’s Darren Barker.
Darren overcame the tragic loss of his brother 3 years ago to come back and claim the titles in dominant fashion, a credit to him his family and British boxing.
Nicky Cook’s World super-featherweight reign was ended by Puerto Rican Roman Martinez, and Junior Witter lost in America against well fancied star Devon Alexander. There are good fights out there for both if they want it in the coming year.
The excellent career of Sheffield’s former world champion Clinton Woods seems to be over. As tough as Sheffield steel Clinton enjoyed a great career, fighting a peak Roy Jones for the undisputed light heavyweight crown, losing gallantly to the then pound for pound number one, Woods did go on to claim the IBF title. the tough, traditional way in a top pool of fighters of his era, good luck to Clinton in his life on the other side of the ropes.
With our Olympic hero’s turning pro, Gold medalist James DeGale, former World amateur champion Frankie Gavin, the stylish Billy Joe Saunders and Sunderlands Tony Jeffries. At heavyweight Liverpool’s David Price is making steady progress and joins fellow Scouser Tony Bellew, together with Manchester giant Tyson Fury, who gets another shot at the English title when he takes on the winner of John McDermott v Dereck Chisora for the vacant title.
It looks like this could be the last year we see Danny Williams, win lose or draw when he fights Sam Sexton, who was impressive last time out in the win against Martin Rogan, the game Sexton will be a match for any of the up and comers.
Audley Harrison who still has his hat in the ring, after his win in the last Prizefighter tournament, and is being lined up for a fight with the number 5 ranked British heavyweight, European and WBF champion, Polish born British citizen Albert Sosnowski who looks like an interesting cat amongst the pigeons.
Liverpool,s former contender contestant Paul Smith had a fruitful year finishing as British Super Middleweight champion and also owner of the WBA International title
British Bantamweight champion Ian Napa who had a bad start to the year losing his European title to French champion Malik Bouziane, finished the year on a high winning the British title against Gary Davies.
Lee Haskins ended his year at the lofty heights of British and Commonwealth super flyweight champion, Haskins career as gone from strength to strength since moving down a weight from Bantamweight to super flyweight following his loss two years ago to Ian Napa.
Shinny Bayaar holds the British flyweight title, after his win against Chris Edwards in October, Bayaar based in Oldham, is a colourful character who can fight and is a worthy British Champion.
In October on the Moore v Rhodes bill at the Bolton arena Jason Rushton and Blackpool’s Brian Rose fought for the vacant BBBofC Central Area light middleweight title, Rose won a very hard fought contest winning a ten round tko against Doncasters tough Rushton.
Also sorry to hear Claude Abrams is stepping down as editor of the trade magazine Boxing News – the bible of British boxing. Claude has worked for Boxing News for over 22 years – 13 of them as the editor.
Claude states fresh challenges in life and a chance to spend quality time with his family and to escape the rat race. We wish him luck and would like to say a special thanks for the wonderful articles and editorials that Claude as given us over the years, the magazine made great strides under his guidance and stands alone as the best magazine in the business.
unfortunately 2009 was also a very sad year in terms of losses in our sport.
At the time of writing Christmas Eve, I have just heard that Terry Lawless as passed way in the early hours of the morning. Terry, aged 76, had been suffering ill health for several years after moving with his wife, Sylvia, to Marbella. He died in hospital in Spain following a gall bladder operation. He had been married to Sylvia for 53 years and they have a daughter, Lorraine, and son, Steven.
Lawless managed more than 50 boxers and guided John H. Stracey, Maurice Hope, Jim Watt , Frank Bruno and Charlie Magri to versions of world titles, and also managed Joe Calzaghe in his early career.
Terry will be remembered as a true boxing man, a gentle man and a true gentleman, always aware of the risks fighters took in the ring, he was well known for looking after his boxers like a father rather than a manager and did not want to expose them to unnecessary dangers.Terry will be missed.
The former Buckinghamshire bricklayer won gold at Mexico 1968 when he beat the Soviet Union’s Aleksey Kiselyov.
He turned professional soon after, taking British, Commonwealth and European titles at light-heavyweight but the world crown eluded him. His big chance came against American champion Bob Foster in 1972 in an epic 14-round duel at Wembley, but he failed to overcome the favourite. Finnegan’s younger brother Kevin, a former British middleweight champion, passed away last October at the age of 60.
British Boxing Awards for 2009 – By British Boxers website- www.britishboxers.co.uk
British fighter of the year – David Haye
Winning the heavyweight championship was going to take some beating and the fact he moved up from cruiserweight after being the undisputed champion, his achievements confirm him as our British boxer of the year 2009.
British fight of the year – Jamie Moore v Ryan Rhodes
Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes won the European light-middleweight tile after a thrilling seventh-round stoppage of Jamie Moore in Bolton. It was an hard choice and there were other close candidates, but the fact that Moore was world ranked and Rhodes was on the second faze of his career and was a betting outsider just tips it in what was a classic battle.
British Boxing’s round of the year – Carl Froch v Jermain Taylor Round 12
British Comeback of the year – Ryan Rhodes
British Trainer of the year – Joe Gallagher
Gallagher has re-invented Mathew Macklin at middleweight, winning the European title this year. Other promising fighters in Joes camp are Anthony Crolla and Femi Fehintola, both have turned there careers around this year under Joe. There are also a few youngsters plying their trade under Joe – Jose and Zach Burton, Liam Cullen and Seamus Macklin are all boxers of talent.
British promoter of the year – Frank Warren
Frank continues lead the way, Guiding Amir Khan back to a world title, The Olympian boxers under his banner have been brought along nicely on the undercards of some of Franks shows. Still continues to give us the big fight nights.
Pick for next year 2010 – Nathan Cleverly- John Murray – Kell Brook – Our picks to go onto achieve a world title in 2010
Young Boxer of the year – Amir Khan
Despite is slip up to Prescott, how Amir as re-grouped and come back to win the WBA world title was some feat, and lets not forget, the boy is still only 22! look for Khan to make his mark in 2010 and put the Prescott defeat firmly behind him, a rematch with the Colombian is a must at some stage for Khan though.
We are sure not everybody agreed with our choices, and these things always bring up difficult decisions and cause for debate. Some years the winners almost pick themselves and in some cases this year was the same, but in other cases you couldn’t have got a cigarette paper between the contenders.
We hope all you fans have enjoyed 2009’s year of boxing as much as we have, and we look forward to bringing you all the latest news, reviews, interviews and the latest British boxing information during 2010 and beyond.
Have a happy Christmas and new year, from the British Boxers website team.