POTENTIAL ALL-BRITAIN WORLD TITLE FIGHTS
By Tom Watt on April 14 2016
With Britain currently representing a rather large portion of the current crop of World Champions and the well-known passion we see in an all-British title clash, it seems only right to speculate (and hope) as to what fights we could be treated to in the UK over the next year.
The prospect of a Heavyweight unification fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is already being heavily discussed and reports are that this could generate the largest commercial income of any fight in British Boxing history if it were to be held right now.
What seems more likely is that the two towering Champions will look elsewhere in the immediate future with a view to meeting next summer at Wembley – when it is even bigger and they perhaps have more belts to fight for. Last time we saw two Brits clash at Wembley, the largest ever post-war crowd turned out to see Carl Froch defeat Groves and without doubt, this would be even bigger.
Whilst it is very unlikely, it is not impossible to have three, four or even five all-British World Title fights on that card with the money that would be on the table. If that were to happen it would be a historic event and that alone may be enough of a driver for Eddie Hearn and Matchroom to make it happen. The main stumbling block (aside from having everyone fit and ready to fight on the same date) will be working with the other promoters like Frank Warren and Mick Hennessey to set such an event up but, Boxing is a business and money talks.
So, beyond the heavyweights in Joshua, Fury and Haye, what could a night of all-British World Title fights look like?
Callum Smith v James DeGale / George Groves
Callum Smith’s 1st round destruction of Mohoumadi last weekend sent shockwaves around the Super-Middleweight division, not necessarily because it was a fight anyone expected Smith to lose but because of the manner in which he took victory – Mohoumadi had never been KO’d prior to this fight and even went the distance with DeGale back in 2012.
Smith is now mandatory for the WBC belt held by Badou Jack and should he be victorious in that challenge, he has two ready-made challengers in the UK in current IBF Champion, James DeGale and three-time World Title challenger George Groves. With DeGale being another Matchroom fighter it’s yet to be seen if Hearn would push for the DeGale fight and Groves seems the more likely opponent at this stage - he has also openly expressed his desire for the fight.
Brook v Khan
There isn’t much more that can be said or written about this fight that hasn’t been said already. It’s a fight the British public have been demanding for a long-time and one that surely has to happen at some point. Khan is set to face Canelo Alvarez in Vegas May 7th for the WBC Middleweight crown but most expect him to return to 154 lbs after that fight - a weight Brook has said he would be happy to fight at if no big fights at 147lbs present themselves.
This fight would be big enough to headline a Wembley show in itself so it may be one or the other next summer. Given the ongoing saga and animosity between the long-time rivals, this fight could still never happen or simply just rumble on for another year. Only time will tell but if/when it does happen expect nothing but fireworks.
Ricky Burns v Anthony Crolla/Terry Flanagan
Ricky Burns is set to fight Michele Di Rocco for the WBA Super Lightweight Title on May 21st in a bid to becoming a three-weight World Champion. Controversial American, Adrien Broner was (until recently) the WBA Super Champion at the weight and many thought a win for Burns would set up a clash with the Ohio native although that seems less likely now with Broner stripped of his belt on the scales before his clash with Ashley Theophane.
Elsewhere in the division, Terry Flanagan and Anthony Crolla both hold World Titles so we have another opportunity to see an all-British unification fight. Burns still has pulling power north of the border and Matchroom have stated their desire to put on another show in Scotland so this may more likely be a headline fight in Glasgow or Edinburgh should it happen.
David Haye v Hughie Fury
It's not a World Title fight but one worth considering would be Haye v Hughie Fury. David Haye’s return to the heavyweight division has certainly come at an interesting time –for years he was the main man from the UK in that division but in his absence Tyson Fury and and Anthony Joshua have more than taken the reigns and now it is Haye’s turn to fight his way into contention. The sheer size of a fight with Fury or Joshua will be enough to ensure at least one of them happen – however I would not be surprised if Team Fury make Haye jump through a few hoops before given him his shot - given the two pull-outs from Haye in the past that Fury has certainly not forgiven.
Perhaps then, a showdown between Hughie Fury and Haye on the undercard of Tyson Fury v Joshua, with the winners set to face off could be an attractive proposition.
Saunders V Eubank Jr
Personally I don’t have a huge desire to see this fight again as I can’t see the outcome being any different than before. Saunders was too slick and too clever for the powerful and uncouth Eubank Jr and outboxed him throughout. Nothing I have seen from Eubank Jr suggests he has developed his game enough to rectify this - but it’s a fight the fans enjoyed first time round and one they would happily see again. Boxing is a business and there aren't many fights out there that earn either man as much money so it’s bound to happen at some point.
Selby v Frampton / Warrington
Carl Frampton looks set to move up to Featherweight following his unification win over Scott Quigg and whilst Santa Cruz seems to be the most likely opponent, there has been talk of a clash with Welshman Lee Selby in a fight that would surely capture the public’s imagination. Selby is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in the country and a flash knockdown in his last fight with Eric Roberts aside he has done everything to back up that assertion.
A fight between Selby and the incredibly popular Josh Warrington has also been spoken of for a while now, with Elland Road and the Millenium stadium both being touted as possible venues for the showdown. A packed Elland Road for Selby v Warrington would be a night not to be missed. Warrington first must defeat Hisashi Amagassa who twice knocked down Guilhermo Rigondeaux before eventually losing.
There is undoubtedly plenty to look forward to for British fight fans over the next 12 months and the fights mentioned above are just a taster of what is to come.