Swedish Super Lightweight Anthony ‘Can You Dig It?!’ Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) has been named ‘Champion of the Year’ by the European Boxing Union for 2017.
The 26 year-old from Stockholm enjoyed a successful year, which saw him claim the European Boxing Union (EBU) belt behind enemy lines before making two successive defences including a historic homecoming fight in Stockholm.
“It's a great honour to receive this award," said Yigit. "I've been training hard and fighting even harder to place myself among the best in the world. This is proof that I'm on the right path, and I thank the EBU for acknowledging my hard work."
Behind Enemy Lines: Yigit defeats Daws to claim European title:
The Swedish southpaw faced a hostile crowd at the Westcroft Leisure Centre in Carshalton, England when he captured the vacant European Super Lightweight title with a punch perfect performance against British veteran Lenny Daws on February 11, 2017.
“It was a surreal feeling, stepping into the ring with a fighter I’d been following since I started boxing,” he recalls. “Daws is a true champion inside and outside the ring. He deserved to be crowned European Champion, and would have been if it wasn’t for that unfortunate disqualification against Nieto. I'll always see him as the champion I had to beat to get the belt."
By beating Daws, Yigit became the first Swede to win European honours since 1987, joining an elite group of Swedish fighters to have held the title including Harry Persson, Olle Tandberg, Ingemar Johansson, Anders Eklund, John Andersson and Bo Hogberg.
Historic Homecoming: Yigit makes first defence against Martin:
Yigit continued to write history by taking the title home and defending it against Sandor Martin in hard-fought contest at the Solnahallen in Stockholm on September 30, 2017.
Yigit's maiden defence was the first time in over fifty years that the European title was contested on Swedish soil following Bo Hogberg’s unsuccessful attempt at Sandro Mazzinghi super welterweight strap on November 11, 1966.
“Brining the European belt back to Sweden and defending it on home soil is a dream I bet many Swedish fighters wish they could experience,” he says. “I had to make sure I deserved to be the man to do so, and I believe I did when me and Martin battled it out for 12 rounds giving this generation's boxing fans the best bout they've seen on Swedish soil.”
On The Road Again: Yigit returns to UK for second defence:
Ending the year on a high, Yigit returned to the UK for a second defence of the EBU's 140lb title, facing Wiltshire’s Joe Hughes in Leicester on December 2, 2017.
Topping the bill at the Leicester Arena, Yigit recorded another unanimous points win in an entertaining fight against the tough but ultimately outclassed British boxer Hughes.
“Hughes was a guy I couldn't take for granted," says Yigit. "I'd seen what he'd done to good fighters, and I had to make sure I wasn't one of them to walk in to his trap. I believe we showcased good skill and sportsmanship, and a fight the British fans could enjoy!"
The Future: Yigit sets sights on World glory:
Looking to the future, Yigit has now set his sights on World glory, and with a number of exciting options in the pipeline for the Swedish star, it would seem only a matter of time before the London 2012 Olympian is challenging for World titles.
“I'm very happy to be in the position I'm in," he says. "I've defended the European title twice so there's no doubt I'm ready for greater things. I'm looking forward now and eyeing World titles. I believe I have what it takes to compete against the best at World level!"
Unbeaten heavyweight Alex Dickinson is full of enthusiasm ahead of featuring on the undercard of his sparring partner Tyson Fury on Saturday.
The Liverpudlian (5-0-KO3) is more than ready to play his part in a heavyweight feast at the Manchester Arena, where Fury’s comeback headlines after Nathan Gorman v Sean Turner.
Dickinson, who will face experienced Yorkshireman David Howe (14-9-KO8), said: “I feel under no pressure just because David has been in with the likes of Daniel Dubois and Dave Allen.
“It’s going to be great to be spoken to be spoken about with the rest of them. I’ve always gone under the radar but when the day people start speaking about me comes, those who were doubters will start kissing my a*** and I don’t need that anyway.
“I’ve always had doubters. People told me I was too small to be a heavyweight. I proved them wrong as an amateur and I’ll prove them wrong again now I’m a professional.
“I’ve never doubted my ability. I wouldn’t be getting in with some of the biggest men in the country if I did. I’ve boxed lads as big as Dave before. The height and weight doesn’t bother me.
“The heavyweight scene is flying at the moment. There are so many who aren’t getting the recognition they should but that changes when people fight each other.
“The British heavyweight scene over the next couple of years is going to be brilliant. It’ll be interesting to see proper fights rather than fighters being looked after too much. Frank Warren seems to be the promoter who is putting the proper fights together sooner than others.”
Dickinson was last in action on the Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire undercard in Belfast back in April, when he served up a ruthless first-round stoppage of Lee Carter.
Super-lightweight knockout specialist Sam Maxwell admits it’s in the back of his mind to outdo Conor Benn when he takes on Kane Baker on the Tyson Fury undercard.
Benn recorded a second-round knockout of Baker last year but Maxwell – a Team GB amateur – is hunting a hat-trick of first round knockouts in Manchester on Saturday.
Maxwell said: “In the back of my mind, I’d like to better what Conor Benn did to him for bragging rights. Kane Baker is a tough guy though and that’s the only time he’s been stopped.
“I know I can’t go in there expecting a knockout because I might make mistakes. I’m a smart boxer. If I box the way I can and let my shots go, I’ll hurt him and look for a finish.
“Power is something I work on every day in the gym. I’m working on technique, setting my feet and lots of other things to keep increasing my power.
“I wouldn’t say I’m hopeful to be in the ring longer because I just want to get the job done but I’m prepared for a tough six rounds against Kane Baker if necessary.
“First-round knockouts are always a bonus though and I love the attention they bring.”
Liverpool’s Maxwell (7-0-KO6) was last seen in April in Belfast – scoring a brutal early victory over Michael Isaac Carrero.