By Terence Dooley
Former middleweight world title challenger Gary Lockett was part of a successful Welsh boxing scene when an active fighter. Now a promising young coach, he is helping to bring further glory to the country by developing talent and believes that sustained success rests on a competitive network of gyms producing British, European and world champions such as British light-heavyweight titlist Enzo Maccarinelli, British and Commonwealth featherweight title holder Lee Selby, British super featherweight boss Gary Buckland and WBO light-heavyweight title holder Nathan Cleverly.
“There’s a couple of champions spread about a few gyms here in Wales,” said Lockett when speaking to BoxingScene about the Welsh revival. “I’ve got a good stable and hope for more champions coming through. Certain areas dominate every now and then. It is cyclical and usually relates to the gyms. Look at Billy Graham in Manchester a few years ago, he had a great camp and everyone else fed off Ricky Hatton’s success. You also had the Enzo Calzaghe stable doing well in Wales. These things come on in peaks and troughs. Things are a bit spread out in Wales these days, but it has all come together at the right moment.”
Indeed, Joe Calzaghe’s amazing undefeated career inspired a new generation of Welsh boxers. The former linear super middle and light-heavyweight world champion also ushered in a great era for the country. Lockett hopes that promoters can build on this by bringing more shows to Wales.
“We were spoilt by Joe Calzaghe,” said Lockett, who lost a world title challenge to consensus champion Kelly Pavlik in 2008. “Joe jumped through to world champion quickly and that doesn’t happen often. You usually go British, Commonwealth and European champion and move on from there, so you have to be patient. Joe is a legend in the sport, he became a household name and that has an effect on the kids.
“I think the next step is for promoters to put on fights here with the likes of Gavin [Rees, who defends his EBU lightweight title in Sheffield against British titlist Derry Matthews on July 7], [Gary] Buckland, [EBU middleweight titlist] Kerry Hope [who trains with Karl Ince in Bolton], [Lee] Selby and [Enzo] Maccarinelli [who has joined Lockett’s gym].
“Hopefully there’ll be more Sky and BoxNation bills coming here, but there’s more smaller bills taking place in recent months, which is great as well. Boxing isn’t as healthy as it was, so the promoters can only promise five or so TV fights a year. This is where the small promoters can help because they can give guys slots on their shows and keep them busy. Success breeds success. It keeps things moving on.”
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