News has emerged today relating to Liverpool's Tony Bellew that will see him challenge for the WBC cruiserweight title. ________________________________________________________________________________ According to his promoter Eddie Hearn on Twitter, terms have been agreed for a fight that will see him contest for his first world title at the cruiserweight limit. It will come as welcome news to his loyal Liverpudlian and…
Boxing In Liverpool – A City Reborn
Boxing In Liverpool – A City Reborn
It is widely acknowledged that Liverpool is and always has been, a hotbed for British boxing talent in the UK.
Over the years the city has produced many champions, with honours ranging from British, through to European and even World. However over the last 15 or so years the city has experienced a lack of world champions.
Lack Of World Champions
Shea Neary is the last world champion to hail from the city itself, although Paul Butler of Ellesmere Port in the Wirral, just 14 miles from the city centre, did collect the IBF bantamweight title last year against Darlington man Stuart Hall.
Prior to Neary’s success in the late 90’s, Liverpool boasted another world champion in Paul Hodkinson, who won the WBC featherweight title in the early 90’s before going on to defend it numerous times.
Although Hodkinson proved his class by his achievements, he is not the first name that springs to mind when naming former Liverpool world champions. That accolade falls to former WBC light-heavyweight champion John Conteh.
Conteh was and still is charismatic in everything he does. Conteh held the title for three years from 1974-77 and was rated that highly that there was even talk of a potential matchup between himself and widely acclaimed best boxer of all time Muhammad Ali.
Perhaps it was the lifestyle of Conteh that adhered him to not only the city but the nations hearts. Known for his excessive lifestyle, Conteh later revealed that his lifestyle choice ultimately shaved years off his career.
Tried and Failed
Between Neary’s triumph and Tony Bellew’s first world title shot, fellow scouser Andy Holligan stepped up to world level to face fellow Liverpudlian Neary and WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez. He fell short on both occasions.
With Holligan and Tony Bellew’s initial world title tilt, there was a real lack of classy operators emerging from the city.
Since Bellew first attempt, many with high hopes have tried and failed in their quest to become world champion but have fallen when given a thorough examination.
Tony Bellew and Paul Smith are examples of Liverpool fighters who have fought for world titles, but ultimately have fallen short in their bid to deliver the city a new boxing hero.
(Highlights of Paul Smith’s first encounter with Arthur Abraham from the folks at Sky Sports)
David Price and Paul’s brother Stephen are examples of fighters who had the weight of the city’s expectations on their inexperienced shoulders but fell short before getting to world level against the likes of Tony Thompson and current IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby.
Defeats for all of those named above is no shame. Most of those, either proved on those occasions, or since then, that they can operate at world level and be a force to be reckoned with.
Along with the re-emergence of Bellew, Price and the mentioned Smith brothers, the emergence of Liam and Callum Smith (brothers of Paul and Stephen), Rocky Fielding, Jazza Dickens, Joe Selkirk and Kevin Satchell has revitalised the hopes of the boxing mad city.
Add to that the recent displays from the evergreen Derry Mathews and it is easy to see why Liverpool is a fight city which is buzzing again, with Friday’s All Or Nothing show at the Echo Arena showcasing some of Liverpool’s finest current crop.
On that show Callum Smith won the vacant WBC Silver title against former George Groves victim Christopher Rebrasse with a highly polished performance.
It is no more than we have come to expect from Smith, who has developed a fearsome reputation within the super-middleweight division and is now in a great position to face the winner of Badou Jack and Groves, who will fight in either August or September stateside.
But the standout performance of the night was undoubtedly Rocky Fielding’s brutal knockout of former Andy Lee conqueror Bryan Vera. Fielding showed his class as he dispatched Vera in the 2nd round of the contest via TKO to claim his 21st straight victory.
In what was supposed to be a step up in class for Fielding, with many doubting whether he could cope with the work rate of Vera, he produced a display which finally got him the adulation his record deserves and propelled his name to be mentioned with those at the top of the super-middleweight division.
For a guy whose amateur background does not carry as much as weight as the likes of Liverpool counterpart Smith, Fielding ‘s rise is all the more impressive and he is now starting to make as much noise in the division as the youngest of the Smith quartet.
The British Boxing Board of Control have now called for a fight between Smith and Fielding. However with both now commanding high world rankings, it remains to be seen whether this fight will take place for a British title.
Regardless of whether the fight does or doesn’t take place, Liverpool is a fight city reborn with the youngest Smith and Fielding looking like two of the city’s brightest hopes.
Throw Bellew, the rest of the Smiths, Price, Mathews, Selkirk, Dickens and Satchell into the mix and its easy to see why the atmosphere around the famous fighting city is electric once again.