Although no significant action took place involving British world ranked contenders at the weekend there were many positive happenings that mean we’re not far away from elite British fighters eating at the top table again.
First up was the news from Kell ‘Special’ Brook that an opportunity to challenge for the WBO world welterweight title held by American pound-for-pounder Terence Crawford is almost negotiated and sealed for November 14th in Las Vegas.
The Sheffield southpaw, since coming up short to Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017 to lose his IBF welterweight crown has been jostling for position to regain a ‘world’ title, also earlier failing to capture Gennadiy Golovkin’s crown in September 2016 in the 160lb middleweight division. Now that a lucrative domestic dust up with Amir Khan is unlikely this is a major career defining fight for the elite level Yorkshireman.
Brook will have to drop back down to 147lb to challenge the classy American, no mean feat given that he has always been a ‘big’ welterweight. However an opportunity to fight, and possibly beat someone who is considered one of the best fighters across any weight class in Las Vegas is irresistible both for fighter and fans.
Also on Saturday Jamel Herring’s successful defence of his WBO super-featherweight (130lb) title, albeit on a disqualification due to an intentional headbutt by his opponent, has finally brought to fruition the likelihood of the long awaited contest against Ulsterman Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton. Herring has suffered considerably from the COVID-19 outbreak testing positive on two occasions and having to delay twice a defence of his title. Finally that has happened, successfully, and it’s now full steam ahead for the Frampton match.
Therefore, hopefully before Christmas we could see two British former world champions challenge for versions of the world title. If victorious, it could see both enter an argument for the greatest British fighter of all time. Brook would possibly dethrone an undefeated pound-for-pounder and Frampton win a title at third different weight.
Throw into the mix the likelihood of Anthony Joshua defending his IBF world heavyweight title against Kubrat Pulev in December and the promised Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder trilogy fight, the back end of the year looks a busy and hopefully fruitful time for elite British fighters. It is likely all these fights will be behind closed doors due to ongoing distancing measures but at least they’re being made.
We also have the return of light-heavyweight (175lb) contender Anthony Yarde this weekend, almost a year after nearly unsurping then world champion, and future hall-of-famer Sergey Kovalev in Russia. A win will re-ignite the Hackney, London fighter’s career as he attempts to secure another world title tilt.
Finally, in three weeks (26th September) unified super-lightweight (140lbs) champion Josh Taylor from Prestonpans, Scotland will defend his IBF title against number one contender Apinun Khongsong in Stratford, London.
The coming months will finish off an understandably disappointing 2020 when many fights mooted at the start of the year have failed to take place but hopefully we will see a return to action for the elite UK based fighters and plenty of world title opportunity.
Look out for previews of the Yarde and Taylor fights over the coming weeks.
Highlight of the weekend was the European super-featherweight title fight between Frenchman Samir Ziani and Britain’s Alex Dilmaghani. Televised live on UK terrestrial network Channel 5 the contest was an absolute barnstormer. A throwback to bygone days with both fighters showing extreme courage, ruthless work rate and hurtful bodywork to secure victory. Ahead on points leading into the final round Dilmaghani succumbed to devastating body punches and pressure from the Frenchman resulting in two knockdowns before being rescued by the referee with nine seconds to go. Ziani, the victor, now looks to a crack at one of the ‘world’ titles on offer.
The card also saw classy Brixton, south London cruiserweight (200lbs) Isaac Chamberlain win his second fight on the comeback trail by registering a blowout of Matt Sen within the first minute of the opening round. The match was made at heavyweight.
Look for Chamberlain to increase his competition over the coming months and try and secure a second tilt at the British title at least.