Ones to Watch
By Mohummad Humza Elahi: – UK Edition Twitter @MHE_1985 Although a lot of column inches are devoted to the current cream of the crop in the boxing world, those who want to keep an eye on future contenders (and are more unfamiliar to wider audiences outside the UK) may want to look at highlight reels of the following fighters, who I believe could be competing on a world level in the next two years or more.
Lee Selby (14-1, 6KO’s) Selby has already shown he has the makings of a marketable star. The only one of the five with a blemish on his record, I believe this has only spurred Selby on to prove his doubters wrong. The Welshman has trained at the Mayweather Boxing Gym and some of the swagger (and pad routines) has rubbed off. As reigning British and Commonwealth featherweight champ, his next focus should be European level competition and if all goes well, contention for title shots will be in the making. Quick hands and the occasional bit of showboating make for great entertainment, but he’ll have to really focus his game if he wants to hold world titles.
Billy Joe Saunders (17-0, 10KO’s) A rough and rugged fighter from the TRAD TKO stable, I was there the night he put veteran Tony Hill away in the first round at the Royal Albert Hall. At 23, Saunders is actually very accomplished technically and is already at the stage where he can start moving on to bigger and better things. There are, however, a few roadblocks that could derail the fulfilment of his potential. One (quite big) problem is John Ryder, a fellow middleweight contender he’s set to fight this year and if he manages to overcome that, he’s walking into a division that’s completely stacked on these shores at the moment; Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray await whilst Eubank Jr and Adam Etches snap at his heels. Big fights ahead with bigger rewards still.
Carl Frampton (16-0, 11KO’s) Under the tutelage of former champ and Irish hero Barry McGuigan, Frampton’s stock is rising very quickly. The Irishman may be slightly small for the super-bantamweights but he’s lucky that there are only a handful of fighters above him in the world (Donaire, Rigondeaux, possibly Santa Cruz) and with only maybe Quigg to match him, in two years’ time the division would be his to rule with very little opposition. Frampton is a joy to watch, an all action fighter who loves getting into a scrap where his power is immediately respected by each one of his opponents so far. He probably has the largest fanbase of the list and regularly packs out arenas in Belfast; will it only be a matter of time before he’s taking his rabid fans stateside? Let’s hope so.
Chris Eubank Jr (10-0, 5KO’s) His father, at his peak, was an all-time great and will be remembered in the annals of British boxing history. Eubank Jr has a lot to live up to and although blessed with Sr.’s genetics, he’s yet to convince the fans that he possess’ the same ring IQ and devastating technique that thrilled Dad’s fans in the 80’s and 90’s. He put some of the doubt aside in an impressive stoppage of awkward Tyan Booth last night, but flaws do exist in his game and he needs to rectify them quickly to continue his progression. Just as Saunders ahead of him, he’s entering an absolutely stacked division and here’s hoping he can achieve his potential and add to the fiery middleweight mix.
Scott Quigg (24-0, 17KO’s) The best record of the lot, Quigg may fume at being the most overlooked. Compared unfavourably to Frampton, Quigg really does have potential, two wins over Rendall Munroe proved he can get the job done but fight with Frampton is the one the fans want. A sharp and ferocious puncher, even sparring with Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera, Quigg might not have the gloss and polish but he does have the tools to get wins and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. Under the Hatton Promotions banner, Quigg should have no trouble getting the fights he wants as long as he puts in the performances to match. His defining moment will be against Frampton should that day come and I think it’ll be one for the ages when it does.
- The Boxing Hall of Fame (Retired in 2021)
- Carl Froch wants Eubank Jr. to fight Saunders or Liam Williams next
- Billy Joe Saunders on loss to Canelo: ‘I got beat by the better man’
- Billy Joe Saunders to retire unless Chris Eubank Jr rematch happens