The halcyon days of British boxing at global elite level were punctuated by the epic rivalry of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, whose fascinating battles gripped the British public. Since those heady heights, the domestic scene has been starved of the sort of world class rivalry that captivates the nation.
However, the current renaissance British boxing is enjoying owes a lot to the sheer amount of fighters competing in the same weight classes, for the same world titles.
Such competition will ensure that fights fans insatiable desire for some domestic dusts up will be satisfied in the immediate future and beyond. These articles will focus on the potential of the all-British punch-ups that could potentially come to fruition in 2014.
Another feature which focuses exclusively on the British Middleweight making waves at World level will follow these pieces.
However, there is no better starting point than to preview the up and coming Super Middleweight grudge match between Carl Froch and the young, gregarious upstart George Groves, who is vying to tame the Kobra and take his WBA and IBF world title belts from him when they meet on November 23rd.
Carl Froch vs George Groves
Carl Froch’s relative lack of composure in recent press conferences shows he has clearly been stung by the criticism he has received from George Groves. But expect the ‘Cobra’ to bite back with a venomous performance that leaves ‘Saint’ George feeling like a royal fool for dismissing Carl’s capabilities.
From the outset, George Groves has set out to undermine the achievements of Carl Froch’s career, which has seen the Englishman crowned Super Middleweight Champion of the World, on 4 separate occasions. Groves slanderous comments, designed to defame the 36 year old, Nottingham natives credentials have clearly infuriated Froch to the point where the contest has breached the borders of being ‘simply business’. It is now very personal.
The cringe worthy cabaret of caustic comments in their promotional appearance on Sky Sports Ringside special, laid the bare the bitterness and resentment that has been simmering between both men all throughout the build up to their showdown.
Next Saturday it will reach boiling point, and it will be Groves in hot water when he realises the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ is not as ‘slow and predictable’ as he thinks.
To any betting men, Froch by knockout in the closing stages of the contest is worth a flutter. Or for those sensing an upset- Groves by a point’s decision could potentially be a winning prediction. I doubt it, though.
Kell Brook and Amir Khan
Of all the potential domestic super fights on the horizon in the coming years, I envisage a Kell Brook vs Amir Khan contest to be the most hotly anticipated fight in Britain for a long time.
Although Khan, a former double Champion at 140lb, is by no means an established force at 147lb, the welterweight division is the class he wants to campaign in for the rest of his career. Whereas Brook, has his sights set firmly on conquering the division and claiming a world title after becoming the mandatory challenger for Devon Alexander’s IBF crown.
He is guaranteed a shot at the winner of Alexander vs Shawn Porter, who will meet on the December 7th, on the Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah undercard, at the Brooklyn Center, New York, USA. Brook would also love an opportunity to shut Adrien Broners big mouth and tear his WBA welterweight belt from his ever expanding waist.
But his recent comments tell us he would love nothing more than to meet Amir Khan within the confines of a boxing ring. So much so in fact, that he could be willing to forego his tilt at a world title, for the time being anyway, if he can secure a fight with the Khan. He recently stated, “I want the fight with Khan, the fans want the fight and it would be huge in Britain. I will knock him clean out.”
Hate is a strong word, but it can be deduced from Brook’s comments and rage whenever ‘King’ Khans name is uttered, that the unbeaten Sheffield challenger has an intense disliking for his fellow countryman. There is no doubt about it. And there really should be no doubt that the two face each other in ring next.
However, I would far prefer there to be a world title on the line. Fortunately, I think there is every chance of events unfolding in that way, as Kell Brook wears the look a man who will not be denied in his bid to become a world champion. On his day, I would fancy his chances against any welterweight in the world, barring Floyd Mayweather Jnr, who coincidentally may be facing Amir Khan in the New Year, if recent reports are anything to go by.
Irrespective of any potential contest between Khan and Mayweather, a fight between the Bolton man and Sheffield’s very own ‘Special One’ has got to materialise at some point in 2014-15. For the good of British boxing, this is a dream fight that must be made into reality.
And with Boxings new dream weaver- Eddie Hearn at the helm, I’m sure he can wave his magic wand and employ his powers of persuasion to convince Golden Boy Promotions (Khans handlers) to engage in contractual negotiations to make the fight happen.
Hearn, who is apparently primed and ready to pounce, by offering Khan a cool £3 million to transform the rumours of a fight with Brook into a cast iron guarantee. He recently stated, “If it is Broner you do it at Sheffield United, if it is Khan you do it at Bolton Wanderers or Manchester United. That’s the kind of level we are talking about.”
Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton
Scott Quigg, who was recently crowned the WBA super-bantamweight champion is another young British fight who can expect an exciting 2014.
Firstly, though, he must take care of business against Diego Oscar Silva, on the Carl Froch vs George Groves undercard next Saturday. If he does, his promoter Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom promotions will be fight tooth and nail to land his man a unification bout in the coming year.
Fortunately, for domestic fight fans we might also see him in the ring with another eminent homegrown 122lb fighter- knockout artist, Karl Frampton.
The Belfast native is a supremely exciting talent, and he has issued a clear statement of his world title intentions by recently relinquishing his Commonwealth and European belts to focus all his energies on capturing a world title.
Interestingly enough, he has already beaten the IBF title holder, Kiko Martinez, who Scott Quigg will look to secure a unification showdown with next year.
On that subject, Eddie Hearn stated, “Martinez is certainly an interesting unification fight but that won’t happen yet because he has got (Jeffrey) Mathebula next. As far as I’m concerned Britain has another world champion, we will defend on the 23rd and we would like to have a unification fight with Martinez in Spring 2014.”
If both boxers continue on similar trajectories domestic fight fans could be treated to at least one other All-British World Title clash 2014.
In the meantime, Frampton must continue on the his scintillating vein of form and look to capture a title at 122lb in order to force Quigg’s hand into a unification fight in 2014. A potential stumbling block, however, is that both Quigg and Frampton have different promotional allegiances, Matchroom and Frank Warren Promotions respectively, so negotiations could hit an impasse.
In theory, it remains a scintillating prospect though, especially if it what as a unification bout. In this event, one suspect’s the incentive for pure financial profit could help persuade the rival promoters to pull together and present a prize fighting punch up that would live long in the memory of British boxing fans.
These afore mentioned fights are the sort of occasions that capture the imagination of existing fans, whilst helping to attract a raft of new followers to the sport, which can only be good for British Boxing.
Success breeds success. From a sporting, and a financial perspective, the prospect of winner takes a world title domestic dust ups can be only be a success. The promotional puppet masters must not sit on the stool. They must capitalize on all the opportunities the current wave of world champion’s offer and turn the potential of dream prize fighting rivalries among elite British fighters into reality.
The lengthy list of British world champions should make such rivalries like Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank the norm, they could be a catalyst that sparks off a truly golden era in British boxing, and sport in general.
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