Learn the Names of These Young British Fighters & Prospects
British boxing right now is in the post Joe Calzaghe era and some new stars have already emerged such as David Haye, Carl Froch and Amir Khan. Although Ricky Hatton may have one last hurrah his career is coming to a close and with the retirement of Calzaghe, British boxing may not look like it’s in such a healthy state to those outside of the United Kingdom.
However, there is a wave of young fighters that are looking at changing that view over the next few years. Let’s take a look at 3 of the ones that seem to be heading for the top and what is to be expected for them over the next 12 months as they continue their journey to the top of the boxing ladder.
The fighter that many seem to think is the next Calzaghe in the making is a man that has for several years been marked down as Calzaghe’s protégé, Nathan Cleverly. On the verge of a European title fight in early 2010 Cleverly is probably the fighter that stands out the most amongst the vast array of British prospects and although he’ll be held back a year or two before facing the big challenges around the world he may well be one of the best schooled light heavyweights in the world right now.
The 22 year old made his professional debut back in 2005 and was brought along by fighting on Calzaghe’s under cards which included fighting in America and in large British arenas as he slowly got used to the bright lights despite standing in his mentor’s shadow. He is now standing on his own and is looking to add to his haul of British and Commonwealth titles when he faces Antonio Brancalion in his first fight of 2010. If he wins this he is almost certainly going to be ranked by some of the organizing bodies as a top 10 fighter, though it’s hard to see past him defending the title throughout the year unless he can get a WBO title shot late in the year against German Jurgen Brähmer, who turns 32 in October.
A probable year will see him winning the European title in what will be his 19th fight then beating some of the other top Europeans, perhaps including a fight with the experienced Silvio Branco and unbeaten Karo Murat before 2011 sees him taking a world title run.
Another of the stars rising through the British ranks is unbeaten Kell Brook who may have found himself being a little bit unluckier than Cleverly due to the huge wealth of talent in the welterweight division. At just 23 he’s one of the youngest and brightest prospects in the Welterweight division and after 20 fights he seems to still be improving. With some fighters there’s quality there that shines through and Brook has it, he looks like he has more time than he should, he seems to be able to box and bang and has taken on the best Britain has to offer as he won and defended the British title.
His next fight looks likely to be against Krzysztof Bienias from Poland for the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title and a fight that could leave him as one of the top challengers to the WBO world title. Bienias will be a step up from the likes of Stuart Elwell and Michael Lomax that Brook handled with ease, though from his record of 39-3 Bienias looks like a prime test for Brook having only lost to the likes of Otkay Urkal and Junior Witter since 2003. If Brook is as good as he so far appears to be, he’ll get through the Polish fighter without too many problems, probably by a wide decision.
With a high WBO ranking and a powerful promoter behind him in Frank Warren, he promises to have a glorious future even if he will need to wait a few years for the retirements of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.
2010 looks likely to be another building year as he will hopefully go chasing European level gold (with the hope Selcuk Aydin, the hard punching Turkish fighter will vacate to the title) or chase a better WBO ranking in the knowledge Pacquiao won’t have too much longer in the sport and the title will eventually become vacant. Alternatively the IBF route could open up and a fight with Jan Zaveck could be a real possibility for the Sheffield fighter.
The final British fighter to keep an eye out on for 2010 will be Kevin Mitchell who after spending so long in Amir Khan’s shadow finally seems to have stepped out of it after a brilliantly controlled, lopsided decision over Breidis Prescott. The victory over Prescott, which was Mitchell’s 30th in an unbeaten career, earned him the WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title which he will be defending on February 13th against Ignacio Mendoza, a fighter with a 27-5-2 record hailing from Columbia.
A fight with Vicente Escobedo later in the year would be tasty though the most likely is Alex Arthur, a former world champion at super featherweight and the easiest to set up as both are promoted by Frank Warren. Though 2010 will be almost certain to just see him being angled for a world title fight, 2011 could be a year to remember for the fasted handed and exciting man from Essex who could face someone like Michael Katsidis in what would promise to be an enthralling action packed contest.
2010 promises to see him work himself into the position where either he fights for or gets close to fighting for a world title. Bizarrely Lightweight seems to have one of the most confusing title situations of any division, Juan Manuel Marquez is regarded by many as the best and holds the WBO and WBA “Super” title whilst Michael Katsidis is the WBO “interim champion”. The WBC title is held by Edwin Valero who is meeting the WBO interim champion Antonio DeMarco shortly. The WBA has a regular champion in Paulus Moses and an “interim” champion in Miguel Acosta as well as the Super champion Marquez. Whether Mitchell can get involved in the confusion is up for debate though it may be better to wait until it’s sorted it’s self out.
So 2010 and British boxing…worth watching.