Title wins, big fights getting made and plenty of new blood coming through. Yeah, 2015 has been a real cracker for UK and Irish pro boxing so far.
Great time to be a boxing fan
As the year is coming to an end, it is a fitting opportunity to reflect and appreciate the talent that has been produced on these shores that has seen a tremendous number of British and Irish World Champions dominating their weight divisions.
At present, we have a record of 9. Yes 9 British and Irish World champions and there are 3 Interim Champions who will definitely become World Champions in 2016, alongside one individual who is yet to have a bite at the cherry.
British and Irish boxing has not had it so good since the 80’s and 90’s and it goes to show the calibre that is being produced on these shores, and the desire that drives these young amateur pugilists to turn professional and to challenge the best in their weight divisions.
Having grown up watching the McGuigan, Benn, Eubank to name a few, dominate their divisions, it is refreshing and encouraging to see a rise in the number of British Irish World Champions and it is a privilege to watch these individual’s challenge the best and remain at the top of their game.
Currently, the Middleweight and Super Middleweight division have 2 Champions from our shores, in the form of James DeGale (IBF) and Andy Lee (WBO). The latter hopes to retain his belt when he faces Billy Joe Saunders on December 9th, making it an anticipated match up especially for the traveller community – with both fighters having traveller heritage.
Liam Smith (WBO) is currently the Light-Middleweight champion after defeating John Thompson to take his place on top of the tree.
And then there is Kell Brook, ‘Special K’ to his compatriots, the current Welterweight World champion having made 2 successful defences of his title both here and over the pond and maintaining his 100% record of 35 wins with no losses, and 23 KO’s. The confidence this fighter oozes is commendable and is not afraid to face a challenge whoever is put in front of him.
There is talk of him meeting his fiercest rival – Amir Khan but in my opinion, there are other opponents to focus on but if this bout would make great entertainment then by all means – bring it on.
Terry Flannigan is the current WBO Lightweight Champion having successfully defended his belt again Diego Magdaleno and maintaining a 100% record of 29 fights with no losses.
Lee Selby is the IBF Featherweight Champion having beaten Evgeny Gradovich to become champion and successfully defending his title against the Mexican Fernando Montiel in America to retain it.
The Bantamweight division also has two formidable champions in Carl Frampton (IBF) and Scott Quigg (WBA) who have the prospect of a mouth-watering clash in the future should both decide to put their differences and give the public one of the most anticipated fights waiting to happen.
And then there is Jamie McDonell, who has shown determination during his three defences and retaining his belt each time. There is a positive future for this young fighter and if he focuses, he will go on to dominate this division for a long period of time.
Talent breaking through all the time
Derry Matthews, Lee Haskins and Chris Eubank Jr are all interim World Champions but hopefully next year, they will take steps forward to face WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO world champions and make it 12 British/Irish World Champions, but there is one fighter that everyone is waiting to have a shot at a Championship title.
And that is of course, Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua.
This young fighter is having a meteoric rise at the moment, having run through all those placed before him in such easy fashion. It is not a question of if, but when, he will become Champion and when he does, he will be a force to be reckoned with and the first British Heavyweight Champion since the great Lennox Lewis retired.
2016 is going to be such an amazing year for British/Irish boxing and in all honesty, for the 1st time in a while, these shores are showing their muscle – and others are paying close attention.
(Images credit: IBTimes.co.uk and AJBoxing.com)
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