A fantastic year for British boxing: Flyweight to Bantamweight
The 112lb division is starting to flourish on both the world level and domestically to – very much led by the pound for pound star Roman Gonzalez. Liverpool’s unbeaten Kevin Satchell has had a very frustrating twelve months however and troubles outside the ring have seen him stripped of his British, Commonwealth and European belts. Satchell will be hoping for a bit of luck and a change of fortune in the new year.
2015 has seen two hugely talented amateurs turn their attention to the professional game in Charlie Edwards and Andrew Selby. The 22-year old Edwards debuted back in January and has gone on to score six comfortable victories – including winning the English title against previously unbeaten Louis Norman in just his fifth fight, before successfully defending it a few months later. The older of the two, Selby, only turned professional less than two months ago, but has already scored three victories against very credible opponents. There is no doubt that Selby and his team will be hunting titles as 2016 comes around. Finally, the confident Prince Patel who has grabbed a great deal of media attention this year since his debut back in March and has also won his first three fights as a pro.
Paul Butler started the year in disappointing fashion, as he unsuccessfully fought for the IBF world title against South Africa’s Zolani Tete back in March – marking the first loss of the Liverpool man’s career. Tete proved to be supremely talented and managed to stop Butler in the eighth round. Butler has been rebuilding since the loss and has picked up three knockout victories – the most recent coming over Silvio Olteanu as he claimed the European title. The victory has likely set up a fight with stable mate Jamie Conlan. The Belfast man managed to keep his unbeaten record in tact in 2015 but was pushed all the way by Junior Granados back in July. The pair went hammer and tong for ten explosive rounds, in which Conlan saw the canvas twice. The Irishman showed that he had a lion’s heart though and kept himself in the fight, against all the odds – eventually taking a unanimous points verdict.
Khalid Yafai continued his hunt for a world title, claiming four routine victories in 2015. The most recent triumph coming against Jason Cunningham via a shutout on the scorecards to claim the vacant British title. Lower down the ranks Anthony Nelson won the Commonwealth title, while Jay Harris remains undefeated.
Jamie Mcdonnell was easily one of the best British fighters of 2015. The Doncaster fighter defied all the odds as he travelled to Texas to defend his WBA world title against the unbeaten Tomoki Kameda – dubbed the ‘next mega star of boxing.’ The fight was closely scored but Mcdonnell was the better boxer, working behind his swift jab and he won on all three judges’ scorecards. The Kameda team couldn’t believe their man had lost and tirelessly worked to get a rematch – which they did. This time, again in Texas, Mcdonnell was even more convincing in victory and even had Kameda down in the twelfth – before again winning unanimously.
Lee Haskins – formerly a victor over Mcdonnell – has had to patiently bide his time as he has chased a world title opportunity. He finally got his wish towards the end of 2015, after defeating Omar Lamiri and Ryosuke Iwasa to win the European and interim IBF world title respectively earlier on in the year. He got his opportunity to fight for the full version of the IBF belt in November on the Canelo-Cotto undercard in Las Vegas – against the unbeaten American Randy Caballero. The American though came in almost six pounds overweight and Haskins was consequently awarded the title.
Elsewhere, Ryan Farrag impressively stopped Belgium’s Stephane Jamoye to capture the European title, while Belfast’s Ryan Burnett scored a shutout points victory over Jason Booth to claim the British belt. Stuart Hall continued to rebuild from previous consecutive world title defeats – scoring three very routine victories. A word also for Ross Burkinshaw and Jason Cunningham who both picked up European and Commonwealth titles respectively.
Matt Horan is a lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123