By Frank Warren
The Klitschko brothers vice like hold over heavyweight boxing is surely nearing its end and, as the young pretenders from around the globe jockey for position, Britain is primly placed to deliver a successor.
Last weekend big David Price from Liverpool served further notice of his credentials by ironing out ex Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison in just 82 seconds at the Echo Arena in his home city.
While few expected Harrison to triumph, it was the ruthless manner in which Price executed that provides cause for patriotic optimism.
At 6ft 8in tall and with a 17 ½ stone frame seemingly cast from marble, the imposing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist has now stopped 12 of 14 as a pro and the fashion in which he destroyed Harrison – and Brits John McDermott and Sam Sexton earlier this year – confirms that ‘Big Pricey’ carries thunder in his gloves. Already 29, and with a wealth of top flight amateur experience, he can’t be far off making the big push.
The fight that the fans want next and a far more progressive step would be a shootout with Manchester megaphone Tyson Fury, the 6ft 9in traveller who is unbeaten in 19 as a pro. As a teenage amateur, Fury decked Price before conceding on points in the ABAs. They don’t like each other and their contrasting styles and personalities couldn’t fail to provide a huge box-office attraction. Whoever prevailed would be established as a bonafide British world title contender.
David Haye and Dereck Chisora, who delivered that titanic slug out at Upton Park in July, could also fly the flag for Britain if and when they decide to continue their careers. In terms of experience and ability, both are light years ahead of leading US charlatans like Seth Mitchell and Deontay Wilder who’d both struggle to win even a British title right now.
I’d match Chisora against Price in a heartbeat. Thus far, the affable Scouser has pretty much done as he pleased in the paid code but we need to see how he reacts when clipped back. Dereck could certainly help provide the answer.
Any of the home quartet mentioned would have a reasonable shot of dethroning WBA king Alex Povetkin, the former Olympic champion from Russia who, though unbeaten in 25, is ponderous and predictable. Other touted Europeans such as Finland’s Robert Helenius and Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev are reasonable but you’d not back them over our guys.
Don’t be convinced that the sport’s blue riband division is in poor health just because the principals no longer wear star spangled trunks. The future’s bright. The future’s British!
As the sport’s only four time world heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield grossed more than $450 million.
Yesterday, on his 50th birthday, ‘The Real Deal’ finally announced his retirement from the ring, as a bankrupt; his vast fortune wiped out by three expensive divorces and an incurable gambling habit.
Father of eleven, his 109 room, 235 acre mansion in Georgia has already been re-possessed and shortly his championship belts, ring attire and other paraphernalia go up for auction in Los Angeles.
To add to his woes, Holyfield, arguably the most courageous gladiator ever to lace the gloves, is no longer in the best of health, physically or mentally, following his chain of brutal ring wars against the likes of Riddick Bowe (whom he battled three times) Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis (twice each). Very, very sad!
Thus far, none of Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad has succumbed to professional coin. Amateur medals provide no guarantee of success in the harsher paid sphere and a British Olympic gold medallist has never advanced to a pro world title.
Last weekend, a full four years after returning from the Beijing Games as a national hero, James DeGale laboured in a European supermiddleweight defence against an obscure Frenchman.
Despite the luke warm opposition, ‘Chunky’ was hit far too easily and his face was banged up when he conducted his post-fight interview. The word is middleweight Billy Joe Saunders knocked him out in sparring recently.
I’ll certainly be expecting better from his former amateur teammates, Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves, in their pending championship fights.
‘Funtime Frankie’, Britain’s only ever world amateur champion, gets a gilt edged chance to showcase his considerable wares when he challenges Bradford veteran Junior Witter for the British welterweight crown at the York Hall on November 1st.
Billy Joe, the reigning Commonwealth middleweight czar, looks to upgrade to British champion against Somerset’s Nick Blackwell on my mega show at London’s ExCel Arena on December 15th.
On the same show, ‘Saint George’, who some felt deserved DeGale’s slot at the Olympics after beating him in the ABAs, returns with a Commonwealth super-middle defence against Jamaica’s Glencoffe Johnson, a former world light-heavyweight champion.
All shall be tested but expect them to progress and fight for world titles in the next 12-18 months.
Mike Tyson, who was refused an entry Visa into New Zealand because of his previous criminal convictions, was granted a Visa to enter Australia. As an old scribe once said on been asked if he convictions by an Australian customs official he didn’t think they were required nowadays!
The once popular fight borough of Brooklyn in New York has been dormant in recent years, but makes a big return this Saturday night with a quadruple header at the brand new $1 billion Barclays Center.
Legends like Jack Dempsey, Rocky Graziano and Sugar Ray Robinson have all fought in Brooklyn and has produced home grown greats Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson.
Brooklyn hero Paulie Malignaggi, who caused a huge upset in the Ukraine in April to beat Vyacheslav Senchenko to win the WBA World Welterweight title, headlines the card, see the action live on BoxNation.
Following his free-fall jump to earth Felix Baumgartner phoned the Guinness Book of Records to claim his place as being the first man to fall quicker than the speed of sound. When he put the phone down her turned to his wife and asked….”Who is Audley Harrison?”
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