A fantastic year for British boxing: Welterweight to Middleweight
Kell Brook has managed to successfully defend his IBF world title on two occasions in 2015, without perhaps silencing the doubters who are waiting for him to fight the very best fighters the division has to offer. Regardless, Brook stopped both Frankie Gavin and Jo Jo Dan inside six rounds and was unfortunate that a scheduled bout with Diego Chaves fell through due to injury. Gavin also has not fought since his challenge to Brook.
Amir Khan has spent most of the year pushing for mega fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and therefore only fought once in the last twelve months – outpointing former world champion Chris Algieri. Khan and his fans will hope for more activity in the forthcoming year.
22-year old Sam Eggington has had a stellar year which has seen him claim the British, Commonwealth and WBC International Silver belts. The Birmingham welterweight has won on four occasions over the past year – including victories over domestic contenders Shayne Singleton, Dale Evans and the previously undefeated Glenn Foot. Veteran boxer Junior Witter narrowly lost in his only bout of 2015, while Bradley Skeete has continued to bounce back from his first career defeat and won the WBO European title – before defending it on three separate occasions.
Liam Smith was the standout British representative in the 154lb division. The Liverpool man became the first of his famous fighting family to win a world title as he stopped John Thompson in the seventh round to claim the vacant WBO strap. Smith also had time to make his first successful defence of the belt, overpowering Manchester’s Jimmy Kelly – again getting the victory in the seventh. Kelly had previously won three fights in 2015, including him picking up the popular inter-continental belt.
World title challenger Brian Rose started the year terribly as he was on the end of a shock knockout loss to American Carson Jones in his hometown of Blackpool. He has since avenged that defeat and will hope to kick on in 2016. Matthew Macklin has also spent the year rebuilding after he suffered an unexpected defeat towards the end of 2014. The Birmingham fighter has won on three occasions and most recently narrowly outpointed domestic rival Jason Welborn. Elsewhere, Liam Williams made his long awaited comeback to win the British and Commonwealth belts, while Ahmet Patterson and Gary Corcoran have both also remained undefeated.
Most recently and after a few postponements the unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders finally got the opportunity to add a world title to his growing belt collection and fairly comfortably outpointed Ireland’s champion Andy Lee to pick up the WBO strap.
On the back of a defeat to Saunders in 2014, Chris Eubank Jr has picked up three victories in 2015 and most recently powerfully overcame Spike O’Sullivan to put him in mandatory position for a shot at the WBA world championship. Young fighter Nick Blackwell continues to impress and picked up the British title by stopping John Ryder back in May and has since successfully defended his belt twice. Ryder had previously won the WBO inter-continental belt, but has been on the rebuild trail since the British title defeat. Eamonn O’Kane and Adam Etches both stepped up in levels and consequently tasted defeat to Tureano Johnson and Sergey Khomitsky respectively.
Tommy Langford will be very pleased with how the year has gone for him, having fought four times and maintained his unbeaten record. His most impressive victory came against Argentina’s Cristian Fabian Rios as he made the first defence of his WBO inter-continental strap.
Matt Horan is a lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123