Britain has always produced some of the worlds best boxers with Chris Eubank, Prince Nassem and Lennox Lewis just a few who have electrified the world scene over the past two decades.
Recently Britain has seen an upsurge in talent with 13 title holders hailing from the United Kingdom. The World Champion by nationality statistics see the nearest competitors to the UK being the USA (9 champions) followed by Mexico (8 champions) then Russia, Japan and South Africa (6 champions).
With a number of fighters expected to challenge for glory before the year is out, this number could rise again cementing the UK as one of the world’s leading lights in fighting talent.
Interestingly, another big change has been witnessed with a number of world stars expressing interest to fight on the British shores like Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs), Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) and Linares (40-3, 27 Kos) with confirmed match ups on the British Isles.
Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) is also keen to join them, perhaps partly due to the financial benefits of the country’s media platforms (Sky Sports and BoxNation) and the international exposure that can be gained from the countries fervent support – demonstrated by record numbers attending public workouts and press conferences in recent times.
WNO super-welterweight champion Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) recently announced a title fight with possibly the biggest star in world boxing at the moment Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) and it’s be seen as another coup for British boxing, with Smith being relatively unknown outside of his homeland given a fantastic opportunity to represent British boxing on the largest stage.
Although this apparent one sided bout has seen outrage from the boxing fraternity, Liam has the chance to upturn the odds and strike another victory for the proud boxing nation.
It is expected an announcement will be made over the coming days with Chris Eubank Jnr (22-1, 17 KOs) meeting Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) hopefully before the year is out and Liam’s brother Callum Smith is expected to challenge for honours at super-middleweight either for Gilberto Ramirez’s WBO crown or Badou Jack’s WBC belt.
A record number of Team GB athletes will compete at this years Rio Olympics also with Pat McCormick and Josh Kelly being the latest to qualify for Brazil, in a competition steeped in controversy with the announcement that professional boxers will be welcomed by the AIBA for this year’s prestigious tournament.
British representation will be at its highest and is expected to be a platform for the next generation of professionals to display their obvious talents.
At a time where recent retirements of the sport’s leading international lights of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions model is apparently floundering just over a year into creation, a paradigm shift can be felt by the boxing world with the focus shifting to the big stadium events of the UK and the money that is created by them.
Can the UK build on this and continue to establish themselves as a leading force in the boxing scene?
With two heavyweight world champions and a raft of established and upcoming talent waiting in the wings, it is a great time to be a British boxing fan and this looks to be the way for a number of years.
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