By Frank Warren
THIS has been a great year for the fight game in Britain — yet 2013 has the potential to be even better.
In Nathan Cleverly, Carl Froch and Ricky Burns, we have three established world champions one win away from becoming sporting superstars who transcend boxing.
Clev endured a frustrating 2012 despite retaining his WBO light-heavyweight belt twice.
But he has to take care of Germany’s mandatory contender Robin Krasniqi in late February or early March, and then I’ll do my utmost to deliver the Welshman a unification fight against Kazakhstan’s WBA belt holder Beibut Shumenov, WBC king ‘Bad Chad’ Dawson from Connecticut or the victor of the pending IBF showdown between Tavoris Cloud and Bernard Hopkins.
If WBO lightweight boss Burns comes through a mark-time third defence of his belt in late January, as expected, I’d love to pair him with any of the other 135lbs world title claimants, but particularly overhyped WBC czar Adrien Broner from Cincinnati.
Already 29, Ricky needs to be unleashed against the cream of the division if he is to reap the rewards his talent merits.
Next year, IBF super-middle champ Froch is expected to get a chance to avenge his April 2010 defeat by WBA champ Mikkel Kessler in the UK.
That’s a decent match, but a far better one would be for The Cobra to step up to 175lbs to challenge Cleverly. My guess is he’ll swerve the challenge.
Several other Brits are in prime position to join our Holy Trinity next year.
In late February, unbeaten Sheffield welter Kell Brook travels to Detroit to challenge IBF king Devon Alexander. It’ll be tight but Kell is in with a shout.
However, there’s more chance of Britain handing back the Falklands than there is of St Helens middleweight Martin Murray beating outstanding WBC king Sergio Martinez in his home city of Buenos Aires in late April.
Plucky Welsh lightweight Gavin ‘The Rock’ Rees has earned the right to contest against WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. I wish him well but doubt he’ll bring home the bacon.
Heavyweight David Haye is mandatory contender for Alex Povetkin’s WBA belt but a spring challenge to WBC boss Vitali Klitschko is more probable.
Super-middleweight star George Groves is now leading challenger to Germany’s Arthur Abraham and we fancy that very strongly at home or abroad.
Earlier this month Amir Khan got himself back into contention for a possible return with conqueror Danny Garcia — the WBC and WBA light-welter champion — with a solid if unspectacular win over Carlos Molina in Los Angeles.
Bury super-bantam Scott Quigg will be seeking to upgrade his WBA ‘interim’ belt to the proper article and Doncaster bantam Jamie McDonnell is apparently on the cusp of an IBF challenge.
There are also some sizzling domestic scores that need settling. Haye, David Price and Tyson Fury are three big men with big question marks over their durability.
Add Dereck Chisora, rumoured to be re-applying for his British licence, then pair any two in semi-finals with the victors to meet and determine the ‘Don.’
All would fill football stadiums... but stop dreaming, Frank!
And now a few prospects to follow. Hammer-hooking, good-looking North London super-middle Frank Buglioni is smart inside the ring and out and is set to make big waves in 2013.
Welsh light-welter Lewis Rees has looked good in his four fights this year taking his record to 6-0 and he is certainly one to watch next year.
Super-flyweight Paul Butler, 24, from Ellesmere Port is already British champion after just nine fights, and the ex-amateur star has power.
Plenty to whet the appetite. Let’s get the matches made so the sport can continue to thrive. Happy New Year everyone!
To subscribe to BoxNation visit www.boxnation.com