1st January 2012
British Boxing Awards for 2011 by www.britishboxers.co.uk
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.
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.
|Mitchell vs Murray – ‘British fight of the year’ – pic by: Al Stevenson
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
|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!
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.
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