In spite of much of the sporting calendar being disrupted during a turbulent 2020, British boxing overcame the turbulence and enthralled fans during one of the most difficult periods in modern history.
A monumental heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is top of every fight fan’s wishlist, however, we have outlined some of the other domestic fights that we feel can make 2021 an even more exciting year.
Denzel Bentley vs Felix Cash
London’s Denzel Bentley was one of the standout stars of 2020, following up a dominant victory over Mick Hall with an entertaining draw and an impressive win over Mark Heffron.
In his second clash with Heffron, Bentley captured the Lonsdale middleweight belt and after the win, he was keen to affirm his appetite for more titles, should the Commonwealth title appear on his radar it would create a deeply exciting clash with the fearsome puncher Felix Cash.
After he ended 2019 with a fight of the year victory over Jack Cullen, Cash looked impressive in his single outing in 2020 as he battered the tough Jason Welborn at Matchroom Fight Camp.
Cash and Bentley have both underlined their potential as two of the country’s top prospects, however, the victor between the two would undoubtedly cement their status as a serious contender at world level.
Craig Richards vs Lyndon Arthur
Both Craig Richards and Lyndon Arthur ended 2020 by causing significant upsets against Shakan Pitters and Anthony Yarde respectively.
Manchester’s Arthur overcame an injury and utilised his sharp jab to overcome the highly rated Yarde in a lauded points win, whilst Richards produced a knockout of the year candidate with a pulverising left hook over the previously undefeated Pitters.
A bout between Richards, the current British champion and Arthur, the current Commonwealth champion, would be a deeply intriguing clash of styles. Richards showcased how well he can navigate range and produce his power against Pitters, nonetheless, Arthur’s jab and sublime boxing skill is almost unmatched on a domestic level.
Lee McGregor vs Kash Farooq 2
After a frustrating hiatus, Kash Farooq returned to the ring at the end of 2020 and produced a brilliant performance against Angel Aviles in his Matchroom debut.
The 24-year-old immediately set his sights on a rematch with Scottish rival Lee McGregor, who since defeating Farooq has stopped Ryan Walker and put himself on the path to a European title tilt against Karim Guerfi.
The first fight was exhilarating and the atmosphere for the rematch would simply be too electric for it to take place behind closed doors. But, if both can notch up notable wins at the start of the year, it’s a battle that can capture the imagination of domestic fight fans in the second half of 2021.
Josh Kelly vs Conor Benn
There are a plethora of domestic names calling for a clash with Conor Benn, nonetheless, when he produced a career-best victory over Sebastian Formella, there was only one name on his lips and that was, Josh Kelly.
There was a time when many would have dismissed Benn’s chances against Kelly, however, his pulsating win over Formella underlined his credentials as one of the country’s top welterweights.
Slick Sunderland Olympian Kelly is headlining the inaugural Matchroom card for the coming year, when he collides with David Avanesyan in a long-awaited clash for the European title, a victory would only elevate the appetite for a welterweight war with Benn.
Mark Heffron vs Linus Udofia
A crossroads middleweight bout between Mark Heffron and Linus Udofia would not only heighten the excitement of fans but it would also provide both with a chance to elevate their stock.
Oldham powerhouse Heffron was unfortunate in his defeat at the hands of Denzel Bentley after he suffered a significant eye injury, which eventually forced him to retire. As soon as the injury permits, there’s little doubt that he will be desperate to plough back up the rankings.
Luton’s Udofia on the other hand, only boxed once in 2020, defending his English title in impressive fashion on Sky Sports against John Harding Jr.
Both Udofia and Heffron have accrued ardent fanbases as they have prospered in the paid ranks, the middleweight battle between them, although it’s unlikely to happen, would be a ferocious collision.
Chris Billam-Smith vs Deion Jumah
Deion Jumah kicked off 2020 with a fight of the year win over Sam Hyde, it put him in line for a shot at Richard Riakporhe and the British title.
That being said, styles make fights and mixing the explosiveness of Jumah and Billiam-Smith would inevitably lead to fireworks whilst it lasted between two of the country’s top cruiserweights.
Zelfa Barrett vs Joe Cordina
Manchester’s Zelfa Barrett and Cardiff’s Joe Cordina are both on the cusp of world level, having produced a myriad of sublime performances between them on the domestic stage.
Barrett showed only glimpses of his immense potential when he delivered one of the punches of the year with a knockout of the skilled Eric Donovan, whilst Cordina has had to endure a period of inactivity.
If the talented pair can stay active and continue their impressive momentum, their trajectories may well meet for what would be a scintillating battle of super-featherweights.