1st January 2012

Ain’t so bad! – It may not have ended as well as it could have done and in some cases should have done. But 2011 proved a busy calender year for British boxing at both domestic and world level.

Pound for pound we still held our own in world terms, and per square inch we’re producing quality boxers and performances, to challenge and rival the very best in the world, with a good outlook for 2012.

British Boxing Awards for 2011 by  www.britishboxers.co.uk

British Boxer of the Year:  Ricky Burns
Young Boxer of the year: 
George Groves
British fight of the year: 
Kevin Mitchell vs John Murray
Round of the year: 
Round 7, Liam Walsh vs Paul Appleby

Comeback of the year:  Brian Rose
Most progress 2011: 
Lee Selby
Trainer of the year: 
Tony Borg. 
Knockout of the year: Anthony Crolla vs John Watson
Promoter of the year: 
Frank Warren
Upset of the year: 
Amir Khan losing to Lamont Peterson
Event of the Year: 
Who can walk the Walk, Cleverly v Bellew Liverpool show. 15th October
Pick for 2012: 
Kell Brook
Overseas fighter of the year: 
Andre Ward


Nathan Cleverly – By Al Stevenson

The theme of the past year could well be summed up as a ‘British Boxing Roadshow’ with David Haye, Amir Khan, Carl Froch, Ryan Rhodes, Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Brian Magee, Matthew Hatton, Martin Murray and John Murray all contesting world titles at the highest levels of the game, making it not quiet the annus horribilis it may have appeared at first glance.

The big world title fight between Brits Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew rocked the boxing pages at the Echo Arena and lived up to all the pre-fight hype. Both produced their best and at the end you couldn’t split them, the judges barely did, but Cleverly took a split decision, and deserves big credit for getting on the ‘Roadshow’ and defending his WBO light-heavyweight title in Bellew’s home City of Liverpool.

Bellew was terrific that night and pushed the champion all the way, he will comeback stronger for the fight, and, can challenge for a world title again. Cleverly shown he is a class act, and, is as tough as they come. The Welshman will take some shifting though and finishes the year as our only fully crowned world title holder. – With unification fights against world champions Bernard Hopkins WBC, Tavoris Cloud IBF and WBC holder Beibut Shumenov the future looks bright and interesting. The Welshman, will start 2012 with a homecoming title defence on February 25th in Cardiff.

Ricky Burns ‘Fighter of the Year’ By Al Stevenson

Our other claimant to a world title is Scotland’s Ricky Burns, who, as the unbeaten WBO Super-featherweight champion moved up to lightweight, to outpoint Michael Katsidis in a top class performance, outboxing the uncompromising Australian to lay his hands on the WBO’s Interim belt. – The full version is held by Juan Manuel Marquez, but Burns is the champion in waiting if the Mexican legend decides to vacate it anytime soon. Burns will fight again in Glasgow on March 10th, with British champion Anthony Crolla on stanby for that appointment.

With three world title fights in 2011, all wins, and the move up in weight, to take on, and beat Katsidis at Wembley, we make Ricky Burns the ‘British Boxer of 2011’. – The most likely fight for him next, should be Kevin Mitchell if it isnt Crolla. – The Londoner missed out on his world title shot, when Manchester’s John Murray stepped in to take on Brandon Rios in New York for the WBA world title. Mitchell was denied access to the USA on the grounds he was involved in a pending court case.

Murray went on to push Rios all the way and put on a gallant performance. At times it was too painful to watch, as Murray soaked up numerous uppercuts from the tough Rios, who prior to the fight, lost his titles on the scales. Murray was the only combatant in the contest who could have walked out of the ring with the belt; but in the end he just fell short. But he shown the world his toughness and stubbornness not to fold and on the back of his war with Mitchell, proved he is a true warrior of British boxing.

Kevin Mitchell had the one fight in 2011, the win against Murray, stopping the unbeaten Mancunian in round 8, in what proved to be the world title eliminator fight, that Murray eventually got on the back of the loss. – Mitchell knows now it is only a matter of time before he gets his shot at a world title in 2012 and in beating Murray in our ‘British Fight of the Year’ proved his credentials as a top rate boxer, putting the Katsidis loss behind him. – His personal life appears to not have been as it should and that is non of our business. But British boxing hopes that he has put any distractions behind him, and, his personal problems will not get in the way of him fulfilling his great potential in the future.

Mitchell vs Murray – ‘British fight of the year’ – pic by: Al Stevenson

Our World heavyweight champion David Haye started the year with the WBA belt but after his one fight in July against Wladimir Klitschko, lost it to the Ukrainian, and the undisputed king of the big men, on points in Germany. The Hayemaker went onto announce his retirement from the ring, before retracting them plans, and putting himself on standby, should one of the Klitschko’s accept his challenge to them.

Amir Khan agonisingly lost his WBA light-welterweight title to Lamont Peterson in December when he was outpointed in Peterson’s home of Washington. Khan was deducted two points during the fight for pushing, which ultimately resulted in the final outcome. Khan his promoters and many fans felt he had done enough to hang onto his title and he will look to bounce back with a rematch against Peterson. The talk of trying to have the result over-turned or cancelled, doesn’t sound like a good route to take and wouldn’t leave boxing in a good place, if it was to get dragged through a tribunal of some kind. Khan should take it on the chin and move on. The Bolton man is too good to not come back to the top and proved in what was a great fight regardless of the aftermath, that he is a world class talent.

With world title fights galore and with TV picking up the boxing we wanted to see, via SkySports, Channel 5, the new BoxNation Channel and the like, fans were treated to an action packed helping of pugilism throughout. – Terrestrial TV waved goodbye to boxing a while ago, so the news that Channel 5 had thrown it’s hat into the ring and were to televise live fights, was a welcome addition. SkySports continue to lead the way in broadcasting the big fights. But new kid on the block BoxNation was just the injection arm chair boxing fans needed this year. The fledgling Channel broadcast some belting fights for free and recently changed over to Pay-Per-View. But for £10 per month for a dedicated boxing feed, with big fights home and abroad lined up, we wish them well in bringing us something different.

The festive month to end the year though was a bad one for Carl Froch who surrendered his WBC Super-middleweight title and in turn the Super Six trophy to Andre Ward n Atlantic City, USA

Ward proved he is the best super-middleweight in the world with an assured, skillful performance over Froch, to outpoint the Englishman in style. Froch could not come to terms with Wards style, and his own work and strengths were nullified by Wards cunning, and general ring craft. Ward is our ‘Overseas boxer of the Year’ after his win over Froch and prior to that, Arthur Abraham in May.

Froch though can come again at world level, at 33 time isn’t on his side, but there are a few good years in the old ‘Cobra’ yet. Mikkel Kessler remains a rematch fight that could be made this year, while there is talk of Froch taking on IBF champion Lucian Bute in a two fight deal, home and away. The first fight would be in Montreal, Canada, Bute’s home, and the second fight in Froch’s home City of Nottingham. – The ‘Cobra’ as also shown a desire in the past to contest again on the British circuit after being in the Super-Six for the last two years. Possible fights with the likes of George Groves, James DeGale and possibly Nathan Cleverly, should he decide to step up to light-heavyweight, have all been touted. But whatever route he decides to take for his comeback in 2012, it will be a warm welcome back for the man who as thrilled us with his granite performances, proving one of the iron men of world boxing.

The British middleweight division as churned out it’s fair share of capable protagonists over the years. If we go back to the just the 90’s and the fireworks and drama of the Benn, Eubank and Watson era, that still shouts out quality to any fan. Before that we might want to add Alan Minter, Herol Graham, Terry Downes, Randolph Turpin, Tony Sibson, Kevin Finnegan to a compiled list and many more good fighters in between, including and arguably the best of the lot Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis who boxed from1909 to 1929 and had 300 professional fights against the very best of his era.

In the modern age of Limey Middleweights, this past year we followed, Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray on their individual quests to fight for world middleweight titles on away ground. – Barker went over to America in October to take on the best of the lot in Sergio Martinez and gave a good account of himself against one of the best pound for pound contenders in world boxing, before succumbing to the skill and power of ‘Maravilla’ in the 11th round, after testing and pushing the champion all the way in a spirited effort by the Londoner.

Matthew Macklin went as close as anyone in winning a world title when he narrowly lost out on points to Felix Sturm in Germany on June 25. – Macklin fought like a man possessed that night, as if he didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

He never gave the champion a minute to breath and was in Sturm’s face from the start to finish. Finally he was unlucky to not get the verdict.

You would have thought that Sturm had, had enough of the British after Macklin’s challenge. But no, the German opted to take on British and Commonwealth champion Martin Murray in the 13th defence of his WBA middleweight title belt in December. – Murray earned a draw in Germany, against their champion, which equals in reality, to a win. He was unlucky to not claim the world title that night and is pushing for an immediate rematch with Sturm, early in the new year.

Macklin’s misfortune in 2011 ended with the good news he will get another world glory shot on March 17th 2012 – St Patrick’s night against Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden, New York. – It will be a special night for Birmingham’s Macklin, who proud of his Irish roots, and will be proud to take his ultimate fight on Paddy’s night, in front of a big Irish crowd at the Garden. It’s what dreams are made of for ‘Mack the Knife’ and what a fight that promises to be.

It seems strange that such were the exploits of the countries three best middleweights this year, neither are yet to face each other! I’m sure time will eventually rectify that and Macklin vs Barker vs Murray will eventually happen along the boxing way in another British middleweight shootout to rival their predecessors.

Brian Magee challenged unbeaten IBF Super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute in March, but after a game effort, he came unstuck in round ten, when the Canadian of Romanian birth Bute, came on strong, to overcome the challenge of the Belfast man. Magee ended the year on a high though, by going over to San Jose in Costa Rica to win the interim WBA World super middleweight title, by outpointing Jaime Barboza.

George Groves

Our ‘Young boxer of the year’ George Groves finished a sweet year by stopping former British champion Paul Smith in defence of his Lonsdale belt and Commonwealth title at Wembley Arena in November.

But that was just the cherry on the cake for Groves who in May had outpointed his arch rival James DeGale, handing ‘Chunky’ his first professional defeat and putting a resounding answer to the questions DeGale had put to him prior to the meeting, that got British boxing buzzing!

Both have loads of talent and DeGale came back well to win the European title against Piotr Wilczewski in October. – A professional rematch between the pair appears inevitable somewhere down the line, but for now they can get a few more wins under their respected belts before clashing again. But 2012 maybe too soon for them to renew acquaintances just yet.

Heavyweight prospect and current British and Commonwealth champion Tyson Fury proved his potential, his grit, determination and heart during the year. But in equal measure, shown he has a long way to go, and, a few more tricks to learn before he steps up to the next level. – It was no mean feat though defeating Dereck Chisora  to win the Lonsdale belt in July and Fury continues to show his willingness to learn by fighting regularly. – In his last fight the wheels of the Fury caravan, nearly came off in November; when the Manchester man was dropped on the seat of his Hugh pants, by Canadian champion Neven Pajkic. – Fury, has a tendency to show his vulnerabilities in a fight, and is accused of neglecting defence at times, in order to land his own big shots. – He admits to still being a work in progress, and 2011, should answer more questions about him.

One other British heavyweight who might have a say in Fury’s plans is Liverpool’s big David Price. The former Olympian, who is making his own way in the big ranks, takes on John McDermott on January 21st 2012; in a British title eliminator match up. – If Price comes through that test, he will not only be pushing for a Northwest heavyweight derby fight with Fury, he would have earned it, and be entitled, to his shot at Fury’s domestic crown.

The aforementioned Dereck Chisora had a bit of an up and down set of circumstances during 2011. Unbeaten going into the year, he suffered his first loss to Fury, and then in December after getting a surprise shot at Robert Helenius‘ European title, in Finland on December 3rd, but ‘Del Boy’ lost the fight on points. – But putting it mildly, it was shocking scoring! in Helsinki, and ‘Del’ was given no favours. In the eyes of most he clearly should have come away with Helenius’ belt that night. – But after that defeat came some good news for Chisora, when he was confirmed, as the next challenger for Vitali Klitschko’s WBA heavyweight title, the fight will take place in Germany on February 18th.

Mathew Hatton and Ricky Hatton

Matthew Hatton proved he was not just his brothers wannabe, when he pushed Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez all the way to the final bell in a fight for the vacant WBC light-middleweight title in California in March. Fighting out of his skin and his famous siblings shadow, Matthew proved that there is more than just one world class talent in the Hatton family. – Going into the fight, Matthew wasn’t given much of a chance of lasting a couple of rounds by some expert analysts. He was stepping up in weight, for the very unexpected, and some said, unwarranted title shot. But the European welterweight champion went for broke, more than held his own with ‘Canelo’ and gave the Mexican, probably his toughest fight to date. Hatton now hopes to get another shot at a world title in his natural welterweight division.

Ricky Hatton the former two weight world champion and one of the best British boxers of the modern era, if not the most supported, finally decided to bring the official curtain down on his career when in July he announced his retirement from boxing. After the years of thrills the ‘Hitman’ brought to British boxing over the years, he can ride of into the sunset, knowing his place in the history books of the best, he is way up the list and his ring exploits will never be forgotten. Hatton though as kept his gloved hand in the game and not only runs a very successful boxing promotional company but as just acquired his trainers licence and intends to find and train a champion to follow in his footsteps. We wish him all the best in his new career.

Sheffield veteran Ryan Rhodes at 34 years of age, tried to defy father time in his 16th year as a professional and in his second world title chance, coming 14 years after his first one against Otis Grant in December 1997. When he took on Matthew Hatton conqueror Alvarez in the Mexicans home coming first defence fight in Guadalajara, Jalisco in June. – Rhodes put in a brave hard shift, but the young Mexican superstar of boxing was just too fresh, too heavy handed and just too good for the former ‘Spice Boy’ of boxing and he was stopped in the 12th and last round of the fight. – Rhodes as since returned with a win and will look to contest the domestic titles in 2012. The Peter Pan of British boxing still looks and fights as good as ever and they’re no telling how long he can go on for. A third world title shot looks a long way off, but he waited 14 years for his second one, so you never know?

With world title fights a plenty for our boxers in 2011, lets not forget the emerging talent on the domestic scene and the fighters who are simmering at the top of their game, while they wait their opportunities in 2012.

Anthony Crolla

Anthony Crolla as risen to the forefront this year and under his coach Joe Gallagher as surpassed any previous accolades that were thrown his way. He as matured and developed into a big strong lightweight, who looks more than capable of holding his own with any of the top boys in the division. Crolla had ended 2010 as the English super featherweight champion after stopping Andy Morris in our ‘Fight of 2010’ – The Mancunian was awaiting a shot at the British title at super-feather, when he was offered an unexpected chance at the vacant Lonsdale belt, but in the lightweight division, one above. – Crolla jumped at the chance to win a belt he had craved since a youngster and went onto knockout Liverpool’s John Watson in round 9, when he delivered our ‘Knockout of 2011’ – Crolla shown a new edge to his Repertoire that night and as since gone on to have three fights since. A one round blow out over Herve De Luca and then a fight on the undercard of Mayweather vs Ortiz in September, before rounding off the year with the first successful defence of his British title against former champion Willie Limond in a shut out performance away from home. – Crolla with his dedicated approach to the game and his focus on becoming a world level boxer, will only stand him in good stead in the coming years of his career. The early losses he suffered in his career, have only gone to add to his make-up and ring generalship he carries. – He will be hoping Ricky Burns may look his way, but there are other fights around for him at lightweight, although he is adamant he would never face friend and gym mate John Murray.

Scott Quigg

Another Gallagher trained boxer Scott Quigg came of age in October when he fulfilled the potential he had promised on the British scene and did a number on champion and quality veteran Jason Booth, stopping the Nottingham champion by retired after round seven and a going over from the Mancunian talent. – It is uncertain at the moment where Booth goes from here, he as been a fantastic servant to British boxing and paid his dues in life and in the ring. We wish him all the best in whatever his next move is and thank you Jason for many happy memories. – Quigg now claiming the mantle of king of the British super-bantamweights looks to have all the tools required to succeed in the game. He is a stout student of the game and is switched on fully to what he wants to achieve in boxing and how he is going to do it. – Quigg will be hard to beat for anyone and potentially could be the next super star of British boxing on the world stage. – He will have to overcome Barry McGuigan backed prospect and Commonwealth champion Carl Frampton along the way, you’d feel before he were vilified to step up to the next rung, but at this stage Quigg would have too much for Frampton it’s believed. Quigg will make the first defence of his Lonsdale belt against Jamie Arthur on February 4th.

Barry’s Lee Selby sprung from nowhere to knockout British featherweight champion Stephen Smith in a shocker at Liverpool’s Olympia on September 17th. – Selby claimed the Lonsdale belt and Smith’s Commonwealth strap, with a sickening KO of the home favourite in round eight to cast himself in the British spotlight. – But the year high wasn’t over and in December Selby had to make a quick first defence against former champion, Greenock’s John Simpson. – Selby proved he was no flash in the pan and that his win over Smith was no fluke. He became the first man ever to stop Simpson, when a crunching body shot felled the Scot in round 5. – Selby as improved no end and looks a totally different boxer to the one who lost his 5th professional fight over four rounds to Samir Mouneimne in 2009.

Tony Borg ‘Trainer of the Year’

Selby’s coach Tony Borg who we named our ‘Trainer of the Year’ got his rewards in 2011 after years training fighters at his St Joseph’s gym in Newport. He not only had professional success with British and Commonwealth champion Lee Selby and British and Prizefighter champion Gary Buckland, but trained amateurs Sean McGoldrick who claimed a Commonwealth Games Gold medal in Delhi, while his other amateur stars Fred Evans became European welterweight champion and qualified for the Summer Olympics along with Lee Selby’s brother, Andrew Selby who also reached the world championships quarter-final. 

Kell Brook, proved what we have known for a while in 2011 that he has the talent to make a name for himself in world boxing. Unbeaten former British champion Brook is now on the verge of a world-title shot, and will surely find himself competing in the mix in 2012. In June he beat Lovemore N’dou. He then went onto demolish former world title challenger Rafal Jackiewicz in round six, for the WBA Inter-Continental welterweight title. The Sheffield stylist, unbeaten in 26 fights, rounded off a positive 2011 with a punch perfect performance, finished off by a 5th round TKO win in America against Luis Galarza showing the wider boxing audience what ‘Special K’ is all about.

Jamie McDonnell cleaned up all the domestic titles in 2011, when he added Stuart Hall’s British crown to his European and Commonwealth belts in September, impressively outpointing his nearest British rival over the championship distance. McDonnell preceded the Hall win by defending his European belt against Stephane Jamoye via a points win. After that he layed claim to the Commonwealth strap when he again took a points verdict over Nick Otieno. – The Yorkshireman will hope a world title chance can come his way this year, it would be the only other belt needed for the perfect quartet.

Ashley Theophane

Ashley Theophane won his own piece of ‘Treasure’ in February 2011, when he outpointed Lenny Daws to win the British light-welterweight title. He proved his credentials with two defences against Jason Cook in July and then had to dig deep to overcome the live wire challenge of last minute substitute Ben Murphy in December. After fighting and training in America for periods of his career and anywhere else he could get fights, ‘Treasure’ as paid his dues in the sport and is now getting his desserts and success that he deserves. He is now one defence away from owning his Lonsdale belt outright. 2012 will be an interesting year for Theophane.

Gary Buckland proved his Prizefighter first round KO win over British champion Gary Sykes was no one off victory, when in a rematch with Sykes in September he won the belt outpointing the Yorkshireman in a thriller. Sykes as alot of talent and can get back onto the title ladder next year. Buckland moves on and  bigger fights await the quiet man of British boxing.

Colin Lynes defied father time to put on what was probably his most accomplished display of boxing to win the British welterweight title outpointing champion Lee Purdy in November.

Chris Edwards in December won his Lonsdale belt for keeps by beating old foe Shinny Bayaar
again in defence of his British flyweight title. It was another tough
battle against Bayaar, who had beaten Chris on points in 2009. – But
it was sweet revenge for Chris this time and he outworked his opponent
to win on points. – The Stoke champion reclaimed the Lonsdale belt against Liverpool’s Paul Edwards in June via a SD points win. Chris Edwards is often over looked, but again proved himself this year as one of the most consistent and best performers in the Flyweight division.

Liam Walsh the Commonwealth super-feather champion defended his belt twice this year and each fight was a cracker. In March he halted the challenge of Manchester’s Jon Kayes with a 10th round stoppage and then in September defeated Scotland’s Paul Appleby in what was a strong contender for fight of the year. The Cromer champion tasted the canvas in that fight in round 7, which was a great round of boxing at the York Hall and wins our round of the year. But Walsh dug deep and came through eventually forcing Appleby to retire after round 10. Appleby with just 12 pro fights to date is learning his trade before our eyes and will improve. It will be interesting and up and down journey by the looks of it and a rematch against Appleby in 2012 couldn’t be ruled out.

Brian Rose and Bobby Rimmer

The last two years of the Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose story as been one that books and films are made of. The Blackpool light-middleweight nearly turned his back on boxing and this time in 2009, his mind was in a totally different place than it is now. In the October of 2009 his fight with Doncaster’s Jason Rushton ended in tragedy, when Rushton fell into a coma after Rose had stopped him in round 10 for the vacant Central area title. Rushton’s agonising plight devastated Rose and his coach Bobby Rimmer and the pair couldn’t face going back to the gym. But being the profession they know, love and rely on for a living, they eventually did. But in hindsight, it was too soon. The psychological scars still remained and Rose was not mentally correct to be hitting anyone and was adverse to being hit himself. The outcome was ‘The Lion’ was knocked out in round 6 by Max Maxwell in May 2010. – Since that career defining moment, Rose bounced back and with the help of his family, psychologist Emma James and the close friendship he has with Rimmer, he returned to win the English light-middleweight belt, beating Lee Noble and then in our year in review 2011, Rose went onto defy the odds and dethrone the British champion Prince Arron in December after a twelve round chess match, that he won comfortably. Brian Rose and Bobby Rimmer very much deserve a meaningful mention for turning there careers around and coming back from the brink and Brian takes our ‘Comeback of the Year’ award.

Lee Haskins continues to rule the British super flyweights and cemented his superiority over the chasing pack by entering The Prizefighter tournament in October and adding the Trophy to his British and Commonwealth titles. Prior to that in July the Bristol man went over to Marrakech in Morocco to face Frenchman Mohamed Bouleghcha for his WBA Inter-Continental bantamweight title, proving he could move up at some point in the future if the big fights don’t come off at super-fly. Unbeaten now for four years, since pulling out of his fight with Ian Nappa in 2007 after injuring his arm in round 7. Haskins may slip under the radar sometimes, but British boxing should take more note of ‘The Playboys’ skills and potential and if 2012 doesn’t see him fight for more major honours and a defining fight, something isn’t right! 

Derry Mathews

Since Derry Mathews retired in November 2009, he has never looked so good or been so busy! – The Liverpudlian lightweight returned to the ring the following year after a change of heart and joined up with respected Manchester trainer and good guy Oliver Harrison at his Salford gym. – The turn around as been remarkable. Derry had always been an accomplished boxer, but Harrison together with Derry’s new found love and vigour for the game as turned him into a different fighting proposition. 2010 saw him hold his own in the Prizefighter tournament, but it was 2011 that saw Derry’s fortunes change. In January he avenged his defeat to Scott Lawton via a 12th round decision to win the vacant International Boxing Organisation International lightweight title. In April he added the English belt to his impressive title resume by knocking out Amir Usman in the first round. Two months later in June he disposed of George Watson again in a round, before taking the vacant British Masters lightweight title, stopping Stephen Jennings in round 6 after their highly charge Liverpool derby encounter. Then in October ‘Dirty’ Derry was offered a crack at European champion Gavin Rees in the champions home town of Newport, Wales. The fight was called a technical draw after four rounds when an accidental clash of heads caused Derry to come out of it with a badly broken nose. – A rematch between the pair could happen down the way, but Mathews’ year was ended on an high note when he received the good news that he would be fighting for the vacant IBO lightweight belt against unbeaten Italian Emiliano Marsili. Derry will have home support at the Olympia in Liverpool and can start 2012 in a big way.

Danny McIntosh started 2011 in great style by going over to France in January to win the European light-heavyweight title by knocking out Thierry Karl in the 11th round. Unfortunately he lost the belt to German Eduard Gutknecht in Germany when he was stopped in round 8. McIntosh is now being lined up to challenge British champion Tony Bellew in the new year.

Billy Joe Saunders continues to impress and so far hasn’t put a foot wrong. He had 5 fights in 2011, winning the Southern Area middleweight title against Gary Boulden in November, before rounding off the year with a 1st round KO of Tommy Tolan. The former Olympian now as 12 fights behind him as a pro and will look to move into the British picture this year.

Former world amateur champion Frankie Gavin had won the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title in May by outpointing Young Mutley. In his first defence of the belt he took on Yorkshires Curtis Woodhouse, but struggled to a split decision win against the former professional footballer. It as since come to light that Gavin as had personal problems that have understandably taken his mind off his boxing career. This was evident when he left trainer Anthony Farnell and his Manchester home to train in London with Jimmy and Mark Tibbs. But it was his decision to pull out of his fight with Frank Haroche Horta in October at the last minute, that finally proved Gavin was not focused on boxing. We believe since then Birmingham’s ‘Funtime Franky’ is in a better place and ready to resurrect his highly promising career in 2012.

Chris Eubank Jnr.

Chris Eubank Jnr. Turned professional and landed like it was 1990. The son of former super-middleweight world champion and British boxing legend Eubank Snr. Junior appears to have all the flair, determination and single mindedness to follow in his fathers footsteps. He made his pro. debut in November. He made a triumphant start to his professional boxing career with a comfortable fourth round stoppage win over Lithuania’s Kirilas Psonko. Eubank look dazzling at times in the fight, not looking like a debutant as he bamboozled Psonko with lighting fast combinations. It will be an interesting road to travel with the Eubanks. It was great to see the old fella with his son and his backing is inevitable, but Jnr, hopefully can be his own man and develop his own boxing path. Living up to Livingstone will be no mean feat. But Junior appears to have the tools and willing to give it a good go. Certainly the ONE TO WATCH!

Denton Vassell successfully defended his Commonwealth welterweight title twice this year and remains unbeaten in 19 professional fights. Vassell is now ready to step up this year and pit his wits against the best welterweights around him. A fight with rejuvenated Colin Lynes is mooted for the British title. That fight will be a good yard stick as to how good Denton is and how far he could go.

Prizefighter is always welcome viewing and continues to be a great addition to our yearly fight calender. Ive heard people mention it could get boring if they do too many. But any boxing that is on is welcome and they always seem to throw up surprises and bring fighters to the fore and into fans psych. Long may it continue.

Spencer Fearon continues to tell us that ‘HardKnocks is for life and his promotional outfit is the future of British boxing. Spencer’s high energy and love of boxing will see that HardKnocks continues to grow in the new year and that can only be good news for the game.

Main Event Boxing Show hosted by Barkery Jammeh and professional boxing coach Bobby Rimmer is as Steve Lillis put it recently, the ‘Punk Rock’ of boxing shows. Since its inception two years ago, Barks and Bobby have taken the show from the radio and onto the TV, with the backing of Premier Sports on Sky Channel 433. – Barks and Bobby have studio guests and phone guests from British boxing and from around the world. – It is always a weekly treat to see the broad Mancunian pair having it out and getting down to the issues not always touched on by others. There are no airs and graces about Barks and Bobby and that’s how we like it, lets hope it stays that way. Keep up the great work, Goodluck for 2012 lads.

The Worldwide Weekly Boxing Prediction League which is run by Andrew Millwall on Facebook. As managed to bring together boxers, boxing figures and fans from all over the world, into one place to pit there boxing prediction wits against each other, over the weekly fight fixtures. Andrew prides the league on being friendly and welcoming and accepts new members to have a go and compete with many professional boxers on a weekly basis. The concept as gone from strength to strength and is a great addition to a fight fans diary.

Jane Couch former fighter now roving boxing interviewer, Jane gets in places and gaps that only she could or would be cock sure enough to do so. What Jane offers us is a raw insight behind the scenes, at not only the big shows and events, but from the weigh ins to the dressing rooms at the countries small hall shows. No one is safe from a good Lancashire grilling from the ‘Fleetwood Assasin’ although her language gets the better of her at times, her heart is in the right place and always fun to catch up with. – Keep up the great work Jane, we ****ing salute you!

iFilm London have continued to get in about around and under the noses of everybody who counted on the British boxing scene in 2011, finishing off a successful year, by flying out to America in December to follow Carl Froch and Kell Brook. – Kugan Cassius and James Helder have polished their idea and have evolved the concept into a regular feature in the British boxing fans weekly news round up. Going from strength to strength!

Big thanks and special mention from us goes out to Terry Dooley and Al Stevenson for their support and shared journey’s to a number of fights this year. Also big thankyou to Andy Gray at www.boxingportraits.com for his great photographs and friendship.

We would also like to thank all our readers and web watchers and friends in the sport for your continued support and we will do our very best in 2012 to bring you the British Boxing going ons, as close to the action and boxers as we can without getting a nose bleed! 

This year boxing mourned for it’s kin who had passed over to the boxing ring in the sky and it was a year we lost some of the best! 

The start of 2011 was mourned by the boxing fraternity when Gary Mason the former British heavyweight champion sadly died in a cycling accident on his way to work in January. He was only 48 – Gary had 38 professional bouts between 1984 to 1994, losing only one. – That
defeat came in his most famous fight, when he took on an up-and-coming
Lennox Lewis in a defence of his British title and challenge for Lewis’
European belt at Wembley Arena in 1991. – Gary will be remembered as a good heavyweight in a time of great heavyweights and it is widely considered if the big man was around today, he would have been more successful. Boxing and the world will miss Gary Mason and his infectious smile.

Sir Henry Cooper The British heavyweight boxing legend in May died at the age of 76 at his son’s house in Oxted, Surrey. The former British, Commonwealth and European champion had 55 professional fights and is revered for his 1963 knockdown of Muhammad Ali – then
Cassius Clay. London born Henry who won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award twice and was knighted in 2000. Alongside Frank Bruno, Tommy Farr and Lennox Lewis, Cooper is considered one of the great British heavyweights. 

Joe Frazier Smokin’ Joe Frazier passed away in November. The 1964 Olympic gold medallist was best known for his victory over Muhammad Ali in their epic 1971 bout. Frazier will always be remembered as one of the best heavyweights of all time. 

Brett Flournoy former professional boxer from Merseyside.

Mick Carney, Fitzroy Lodge club boxing trainer. 

Jackie Bowers, former boxer and legendary trainer who coached John H Stracey, Maurice Hope and Johnny Waldron amongst many others. 

Gus Robinson MBE Boxing manager and promoter

Gil Clancy, a superb trainer of champions, including George Foreman, Gerry Cooney, Lucien Rodriguez. Gil was also a boxing commentator in the later years.

Genaro Hernandez, the former WBA and WBC super-featherweight king.

Nick Charles, Show Time boxing commentator.

Billy Costello, the former WBC light-welterweight champion.

Butch Lewis, Larger than life US boxing promoter.

Scott LeDoux, former heavyweight contender.

George Benton
, former middleweight boxer and renowned trainer of champions, including Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor.

Tom McNeeley
, heavyweight contender and former world title challenger.

Ron Lyle, heavyweight contender and world title challenger. 

Terry Smith, British born former boxer 

Sean Casey, former professional boxer

Roman Simakov. Russian light heavyweight

May they all rest in peace 

By Chris Maylett

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