It has been a great year for British boxing, with no fewer than 12 current world champions including Tyson Fury, Anthony Crolla and Kell Brook all with fantastic stories. In this piece I look ahead to 2016 and five great fights that could be possible next year.
Whether you go by Ring Magazine, Boxrec or just your own opinion, remember: “opinions are like arseholes, everyone has got one.” (And you wouldn’t let a stranger touch yours.)
Anyway, let’s get a few things out of the way first: Quigg v Frampton is done, hopefully the winner will move up to fight Lee Selby, Khan v Brook is rumoured to be done (for a summer fight so they could fight again in winter) and Froch v Golovkin is never going to happen. I’m sorry. It’s just not. Let’s forget about George Groves v Arthur Abraham too because that would only end up like all of Groves’ other title shots, in defeat. So first up…
Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder (WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC Heavyweight)
I’m not sure if Fury could stand up to the power of Wilder but he certainly has got the skill to out box him, as he proved when he licked the Klit for 12 rounds. Should he get through the rematch, then going toe to toe with the Bronze Bomber would be a huge fight between huge men. Fury deserves all the credit in the world for his last win and he has reignited public interest in the sport so fair play to him. Who would have thought it three years ago? It would be a cracking fight just to see what tactics each trainer would implement and the build up between two big trash talkers would be quite entertaining as well.
Anthony Joshua v David Haye
Joshua divides opinion. He is either a world beater or a Sky Sports hype job depending on your arsehole/opinion. Until he beats Derek Chisora, who is now basically the gatekeeper of the world scene, AJ will remain a domestic level fighter. His real tests will come against the likes of Kubrat Pulev or Alexander Povetkin to prove he is world level. However, a fight with Haye would just be fun. The contrasting fight styles would be good to see, power versus speed. It would also be a real occasion and who knows Haye still might have it… “it” being an injury excuse. Haye is probably the most talented fighter in the division and still the biggest draw, he just has to prove it all again.
Amir Khan v Danny Garcia (Vacant WBC Welterweight)
Khan lost out on the Mayweather fight because of his losses to Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Garcia also beat Peterson, so until Khan rectifies these losses, just like Lennox Lewis did when he lost, there will always be question marks over Khan’s character because his skill is undeniable. Khan has matured as a fighter, packs more power now and is tighter defensively, so could get a win with the right game plan.
Kell Brook v Keith Thurman (IBF and WBA Welterweight)
Two undefeated fighters. Two knock-out artists. Two belts on the line. One good fight. There is a lot of respect between the fighters as they both shot to fame a bit to late for big money fights against Pac Man and TBE. With the power they both possess in both hands it could just be a case of who lands first.
Callum Smith v James DeGale (WBC and IBF Super Middleweight)
The manner in which Smith blew away Rocky Fielding and how Badou Jack struggled in the first 6 rounds with Groves, makes me think Smith would have no problem doing do a job on Jack. He could then take the title into a big domestic match up with Chunky which would be very interesting indeed. Both Smith and DeGale have improved massively over the last few years and this bout could split the country between us Northern Monkeys and you Southern Fairies.
Honourable Mentions: Liam Smith v Jermall Charlo (WBO and IBF Super Welterweight)
Beefy looked really good once he got going in his last fight and Charlo, despite his padded record looks a physically very strong. Smith could take him into the later rounds where I suspect Charlo would tire then do some damage. Failing that match, a defence against legend Sugar Shane Mosely would not be out of the question.
Billy Joe Saunders v Daniel Jacobs (WBO and WBA Regular Middleweight)
I’d like to see Jacobs beat Quillin due to the later blowing his title shot with Andy Lee by not making weight. I’d also like to see Saunders win a world title just because he’s a very honest guy, which is refreshing. He says what he thinks and he backs it up in the ring. It would be good for the travelling community too and it would be a more of a distance fight for the true boxing connoisseurs.
Wildcard: Shannon Briggs v Kimbo Slice
“Let’s go champ!” Briggs was trying to talk himself into one last pay day with Dr Steel Hammer but we all know what happened there. Kimbo Slice has vanished into obscurity after defeats in the UFC but is back fighting MMA legend Kenshamrock apparently. Both Briggs and Slice are still memorable internet sensations and I know for certain casual fans would pay attention to this fight. It would also be quite funny to see Kugan Cassius interview these two mad men.
Other fights from around the world:
Golovkin v Canelo
Kovalev v Ward / Stevenson / Beterbiev
Broner v Crawford
Rigondeaux v Walters at a catchweight of 124lbs
“You see you, you plumber from Liverpool… Also they’re gonna need ten plumbers to do you when I’ve got finished with you… Also”
This is a bit of a disclaimer, I am a Scouser (although not a plumber or Tony Bellew’s gay lover) and would love to see Derry Mathews, Tony Bellew and Stephen Smith all win world titles next year, even if some people don’t think they are world level fighters. David Price has had his chance unfortunately. I’ve got nothing against Mancs wanting Crolla and Flanagan to be successful or Cockneys wanting AJ and DeGale to do well either.
So lace up the gloves, roll on next year and tell me what you think in the comments section below…