A fantastic year for British boxing: Super bantamweight to Super featherweight
Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg have both set up an eagerly anticipated unification fight for February next year, after they both managed to overcome all challengers in 2015. Frampton twice defended his IBF belt and looked impressive in doing so the first time out – stopping Chris Avalos in the fifth. In July, he travelled to Texas to make a fairly routine defence against Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez. However, the fight was far from routine and Frampton was knocked down twice in the first round – before coming back to take the victory on points. Quigg only fought once, but was explosive in brutally stopping Spain’s Kiko Martinez in the second round of their July bout – setting up next year’s blockbuster clash.
Gavin Mcdonnell continued his progression as he outpointed both Olexsandr Yegorov and Jeremy Parodi to win and defend the European title respectively. Liverpool’s James ‘Jazza’ Dickens won the British title at his second attempt early in March, before successfully defending it against world title challenger Martin Ward later on in the year. Elsewhere, Thomas Patrick Ward and Gamal Yafai extended their unbeaten records, while Bobby Jenkinson overcame WBO European champion Lewis Pettitt to grab the Commonwealth title – courtesy of an eleventh round stoppage.
Lee Selby was one of the stars of 2015 and he continued the brilliant form that had characterized much of the year before as well. He supremely defeated the tough and former unbeaten Russian Evgeny Gradovich back in May to claim the IBF world title and truly put his name amongst the world’s best. He then decided to travel to Arizona, USA to make the defence of his title – after linking up with Al Haymon – and was again impressive, this time outpointing the experienced Mexican Fernando Montiel.
One person hoping to get a shot at Selby is Leeds’ Josh Warrington, who seems to be going from strength to strength. The unbeaten boxer has now won the English, British, Commonwealth and European titles and most recently made his biggest mark on the division – comfortably outpointing Australia’s Joel Brunker. Elsewhere, the likes of Leigh Wood, Isaac Lowe, Ben Jones, James Tennyson, Darren Traynor and Ryan Walsh all continued to improve as they climbed the featherweight rankings.
Stephen Smith kept up his winning form as he awaits a world title shot. He most recently looked impressive in stopping Devis Boschiero and it is likely that the smallest of the Smith brothers will finally get his desired opportunity early next year. Unbeaten Liam Walsh made the first defence of his British and Commonwealth titles by stopping Joe Murray back in February, before moving up and adding the WBO inter-continental lightweight belt to his collection later on in the year.
The outspoken Mitchell Smith scored three consecutive knockout victories as he continued his rapid rise up the rankings – seeing him win several young boxer of the year awards. However, in December the Londoner was humbled in a massive upset by little-known contender George Jupp. Jupp outboxed his opponent and in the process claimed Smith’s WBO inter-continental title. Elsewhere, Martin J Ward and Anthony Cacace both extended their unbeaten records.
Matt Horan is a lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123