Without question, 2011 was a year where the credibility of British boxing suffered a major body shot. The best that we had to offer all came up short in their quests for glory last year, where a total of SEVEN British fighters failed in their quests for a World title.
Ryan Rhodes, Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Brian Magee, Matthew Hatton and John Murray all put in brave (but futile) performances on the international stage. Both Macklin and Murray were very unlucky not to get the win over WBA Super Middleweight Champion, Felix Sturm in Germany.
Our British World Champions had a year to forget also. David Haye surrendered his WBA Heavyweight crown in a dysmal display against Wladimir Klitschko last July, whilst in December, Amir Khan lost his WBA and IBF Light-Welterweight belts to tricky American counter-puncher, Lamont Peterson in controversial fashion.
Carl “The Cobra” Froch also fell short in his quest to win the prestigious Super Six Boxing Classic in Atlantic City, New Jersey the same month where he surrendered his WBC Super-Middleweight Title to Californian prodigy, Andre Ward.
That leaves Britain with just two World Champions, in the form of Scottish sensation Ricky Burns, the WBO Lightweight champion and WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion, Welshman Nathan Cleverly. Burns became a two-weight champion in 2011 after starting the year as WBO Super-Featherweight champion before capturing his current title by defeating Michael Katsidis last November.
However there were some domestic thrillers on show in the UK, including classic bouts between Cleverly and Tony Bellew, Olympic Gold medal-winning prodigy James DeGale’s defeat to George Groves, the small-hall classic between Scot Paul Appleby and Liam Walsh and the fight of the year between Kevin Mitchell and John Murray.
Personally, I believe that British boxing is alive and well, despite the short comings of some of the nations top fighters on the international stage, I’m certain that they will have learned from their mistakes and grow as boxers and as men. Britain has some of the top boxing prospects in the world, with Sheffield’s Kell Brook getting attention from fight fans in the States along with Burns, Cleverly, Macklin, Murray and Groves.
Even Britains best, Amir Khan still has improvements to make, with questions still remaining over his chin after taking alot of punishment from Lamont Peterson.
We will see in due course whether or not British boxing can recover from its recent losses with Amir Khan now being granted a rematch with Lamont Peterson on May 19th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Carl Froch is close to agreeing a deal to fight IBF Super-Middleweight champion Lucian Bute in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham.
Ricky Burns will defend his title in a homecoming show on March 10th at Braehead Arena in Glasgow, where he will face Namibian hitman Paulus Moses.
Nathan Cleverly also has a hometown show in Cardiff on Feburary 25th where American Tommy Karpency is his opponent and Londoner Dereck Chisora is in for the fight of his life when he faces WBC Heavyweight king, Vitali Klitschko on Feburary 18th in Munich, Germany.
2012 should be another exciting year for British boxing, it is now up to the fighters to prove to the rest of the world that they are good enough to slug it out with the best of them.