It has already been quite the year for British boxing. World champions are increasing, as are world title challengers, and domestic feuds are boiling over, with plenty more all British affairs to show the audience the end of the Froch-Groves saga was not the mere finish of high profile rivalries, as it was mooted.
While George Groves tackles America when he faces Badou Jack, I will be concentrating on events this side of the Atlantic, where four world title fights are already set – three of those coming on the same night.
The Big One!
Andy Lee’s defence of his WBO Middleweight title may not be taking place in Ireland, but it will top a stacked bill in Manchester. His opponent is the highly touted Billy Joe Saunders on October 10th.
Lee is the puncher, while Saunders possesses all the boxing skills. Both have fighting running through their bloodline, and this one will prove a hard one to call.
On so many occasions Lee has pulled a contest out of the bag from the brink, and his most recent draw with an overweight Peter Quillin suggests he is improving with each fight.
While Saunders will see this as his destiny, coming from Team GB to staring as an unbeaten star, collecting belt after belt along the way.
UK vs The World
It is to promoter’s Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn’s credit that so many GB vs The World fights are beginning to take place on British soil, and that is the case for Frank Buglioni, Terry Flanagan, Liam Smith and Josh Warrington.
Firstly the new boxing season opens with Josh Warrington taking one step closer to a world title shot when he faces former Lee Selby foe, Joel Brunker.
The Australian was stopped by Selby in a world title eliminator last year, and Warrington will hope he can match that or go one better with a first half finish.
It will be late September when Buglioni gets his long awaited world title shot against Fedor Chudinov following the postponement of their original date.
Chudinov has impressed all over the world in 13 fights, unbeaten with 10 stoppages, and he has ripped away 2 unbeaten records in his last 3 fights, prior to dethroning Felix Sturm on points in May. It’s a huge night for Buglioni, but the Russian may just be too good.
There are huge tasks for British duo Flanagan and Smith on the same night as Lee vs Saunders. Flanagan defends his newly acquired WBO Lightweight title against the impressive Diego Magdaleno, whose only defeat came in controversial circumstances against Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez.
The American has come on strong since, culminating in a stoppage of Jose A. Gonzalez last time out. This however has the potential of being another special night for a British fighter in his back yard.
Liam Smith’s task to win the vacant WBO Light Middleweight title is no easier as he faces recent success story John Thompson.
The American was written off when stopped in two by Frank Galarza, but he re-invented his career in ESPN’s Boxcino tournament.
He shocked Stanyslav Skorokhod in the semi finals before bouncing back off the canvas to knock out competition favourite Brandon Adams in round 2.
Thompson will have no fear of causing the same upset against Smith in October in a contest that will show us just how good Liam is.
Domestic derbies in Birmingham
There are high stakes aplenty in another British show coming to us in October. This one includes four all British affairs, topped by a Brummie derby – Aston Villa vs Birmingham in the League Cup has nothing on this one!
Sam Eggington meets Frankie Gavin in an intriguing crossroads clash, with Eggington now holding the British and Commonwealth belts that once belonged to Gavin.
Off the back of defeat to Kell Brook, Gavin is looking to re-ignite his career, while the young Eggington is doing things his own way.
Jason Welborn may be taking another step too far against Matthew Macklin who steps down a weight, but expect fireworks in this Birmingham vs Black Country affair.
Welborn has come up short against Gavin and Liam Smith in the past, but will be involved in an exciting, even if short lived, fight with the much more experienced ‘Mack the knife’.
Also featuring on an epic night of boxing is Kal Yafai’s British title fight with Jason Cunningham, and Lennox Clarke at last gets the step up in class he deserves when he tackles Craig Cunningham for the Midlands Area title at Middleweight.
Dave Ryan vs John Wayne Hibbert III
It’s the second time this pair have met this year, and the third time in total as Hibbert looks to finally get one over the British and Commonwealth champion.
Earlier this year the pair shared an epic brawl and they are likely to do the same again on September 12th. In a stacked Light Welterweight division there will be more huge nights in the division this year alone.
Anthony Joshua vs Gary Cornish & Dillian Whyte
This season has plenty to offer for AJ, Anthony Joshua, as the beast from London looks to make a huge impact on the domestic circuit.
Firstly he takes on 21-0 Cornish on September 12th for the Commonwealth Heavyweight crown, before landing his biggest fight to date in December when he clashes with former nemesis Dillian Whyte for the vacant British title.
At 15-0, Whyte is making his own waves right now and he will look to put a humungous dent in the ambitions of Joshua.
If none of Joshua’s previous main event outings have been worthy of topping a bill then rest assured that this one certainly will. Don’t blink!
Callum Smith vs Rocky Fielding
This one has been a long time in the making, and with a combined record of 38-0(24KO’s) Smith vs Fielding is going to literally rock Liverpool on November 7th.
Smith has been touted as the best British prospect, while questions have been raised on many occasions about how far Fielding can go, but as of right now he is unbeaten and relatively untested against some good opposition.
This fight has so much more than bragging rights on the line, with a host of top British names in the Super Middleweight division, the winner will be elevated to new heights.
Others not to miss!
Luke Paddock vs Andy Keates – Midlands Area Light Welterweight title (4/9, Walsall)
Andy Townend vs Lee Glover – English Super Featherweight title (5/9, Leeds)
Ricky Boylan vs Danny Connor– 10 rounds Light Welterweight (12/9, London)
Louis Norman vs Charlie Edwards – English Flyweight title (12/9, London)
Scott Cardle vs Gary Buckland – British Lightweight title (19/9, Liverpool)
Glen Foot vs Kirk Goodings – Welterweight (19/9, Dunston)
Dave Fidler vs Tom Knight – Central Area Light Middleweight title (26/9, Hull)
Ryan Aston vs Nathan Graham – English Light Middleweight title eliminator (3/10, Wolverhampton)
Tom Stalker vs Craig Evans – Light Welterweight (10/10, Manchester)
Liam Walsh vs Troy James – British & Commonwealth Super Featherweight titles (10/10, Manchester)
Luke Blackledge vs Lee Markham – Commonwealth Super Middleweight title (10/10, Manchester)
Adam Dingsdale vs Kevin Hooper – vacant English Lightweight title (17/10, Essex)
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