New Year and new starts and with boxing, it all reminds us that 2018 was a banging year in more ways than one. Just before the Christmas break, we were treated to not one but two pay per view shows that proved just how rich the British boxing scene is. It certainly gave us contenders for fights of the year which were littered between the two venues down south because on Saturday the 22nd of December we had Matchroom in London v Queensberry in Manchester.
In Manchester, the undercard was stacked and included a light heavyweight Billy Joe Saunders who was told by his promoter, Frank Warren he needed the rounds and the positivity of the 4 sided ring. He got in and then Charles Adamu retired after 4 rounds.
Featherweight Michael Conlan faced down Jason Cunningham, in a 10 round decision and surely now goes on to bigger things for 2019. Heavyweight Nathan Gorman then kept on winning ways with a 12 round decision against Razvan Cojanu.
The ever green and ever sparkling middleweight Martin Murray is now having to reassess things as he lost by majority decision against Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. This was a tough test on paper and proved to be very tough in the ring. What now for the popular English fighter? Like another fighter from this evening in 2018 – some tough questions to be asked and answered.
Light heavyweight Tommy Fury made a successful debut up against Jergenijs Andrejevs and won on points over 4 rounds. We can look forward to a 2019 when the Fury name gets more attention as there are now more than 2 Furys with which to conjure…
The British middleweight title fight between Mark Heffron and Liam Williams was highly anticipated and Williams won well by stopping Heffron in the 10th round.
It was all, however, a mere bagatelle for the main event. The headline act was an absolute cracker as the IBF featherweight showdown between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton ended with Warrington showing he was a class above others in the division, getting a well deserved points win against the popular Northern Irishman.
The IBF have now ordered a clash against Kid Galahad – the number 1 contender – for the belt and whilst Warrington clearly wants to make his debut in the States he has noted on his social media that he will take the Galahad fight first. This makes a Yorkshire Derby a stick on – we are rather spoilt in the UK!
Part 2 of the double header in the UK, in the O2, London saw Matchroom weigh in with heavyweight David Price in a successful comeback against Tom Little. Whilst Price was magnanimous in victory, Little was angry that the stoppage which happened in the 4th round, being, in his mind, very premature. To be fair it did look a bit early but Price has now positioned himself in the division for better and bigger paydays.
There was another heavyweight stoppage that night as Carlos Takam managed to stop Senad Goshi in the 7th round. Whilst the obvious heavyweight rumours and thoughts centre around AJ/ Fury/ Wilder/ Whyte and now Klitschko… fighters like Takam and Price are likely to pick up decent offerings and perhaps even belts as the year progresses. Takam was back to his best and having had that devastating defeat to Derrick Chisora is now back on the agenda.
Light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi stopped Reynold Quillen for the WBA international belt in the first round. You could probably take longer to say that sentence than the time it took him to stop Quillen. This was not just impressive but unbelievable. Buatsi is now in line for a British title contest and on this form, there shall not be long before in 2019 we are talking of him at world level – whether he gets to that level is the fascinating part of this journey.
The image of the night though belonged to the new WBC champion as the world title fight between Cristofer Rosales and Charlie Edwards at flyweight saw Edwards win the belt on points. Edwards dedicated it to his mum and that image of the emotion at the end of the fight will live forever. This was a performance that catapulted Edwards into the elite. Having previously lost a world title fight this was a vital component in his career but done with style. The story may have been a little lost in the melee that came with the media lauding the performance of both Josh Warrington and the headline fight on this card but Britain has a new world champion and he deserves the coverage too!
I said it was a tough one to call, the British featherweight title fight between Ryan Walsh and Reece Belotti and the judges thought so too as it became a split decision win for Walsh.
There was, however, no doubt this time round with the rematch between heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora. Chisora got knocked out by Whyte in the 11th round.
Like Martin Murray, it left Chisora with a decision to make and he has made the decision to fight on. What the future may hold for Chisora is very interesting but his future is likely to be far less complex than Dillian Whyte’s.
Whyte has had a tremendous 2018 and deserves a world title fight.
I am not alone in thinking that – the boxing world say it regularly. Why is it not happening? Whyte/AJ should be the fight in April at Wembley. It won’t be though rumours of Whyte/Klitschko are surfacing – if he takes the fight and beats the man who lost to those other two men – what happens then???
Finally, over the pond in New York the battling Charlo brothers were both in action as super welterweight Jermell Charlo lost a controversial decision on points to Tony Harrison for the WBC title whilst Jermall Charlo beat Matvey Korobov on points for the interim WBC middleweight title.