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My Top 5 Highlights of 2014 in British Boxing

Anthony Joshua Carl Frampton Carl Froch George Groves Guillermo Rigondeaux Kell Brook Kiko Martinez Latest Paulie Malignaggi Scott Quigg Shawn PorterBy Matt H: 2014 was a great year for British boxing. Regular cards televised on Skysports, Channel 5 and Boxnation have certainly helped bring boxing towards the forefront of British sports.

Newly crowned champions, fight of the year contenders, rematches, some incredible performances and the return of boxing to Wembley Stadium marked an upward curve for boxing in Britain, below are my top 5 highlights.

5. Curtis Woodhouse winning the British Light Welterweight Title against Darren Hamilton.

This was the fairy tale end to the unique sporting career of Curtis Woodhouse. Once a professional footballer who turned his hand to boxing was able to fulfill his lifelong dream by winning the British Title on a split decision against the much fancied Darren Hamilton. Making the moment even more special, Woodhouse announced prior to the fight that he would retire win or lose, make his last performance a do or die one. His work rate and determination to win paid off being granted the decision. Since the fight, Woodhouse recanted his decision choosing to fight on, but does not detract from this special night of boxing.

4. The British Super Bantamweight division.

Carl Frampton’s impressive victory over Kiko Martinez saw the Belfast man become the IBF World Super Bantamweight Champion. This added another world title into the mix, alongside Scott Quigg’s version of the WBA Title, with he defended in emphatic fashion several times. Kid Galahad also ended the year with the British, Commonwealth, European and IBF Youth Titles throwing his name into the hat. The potential dust ups between these three fighters is mouthwatering. Talks of home and away fights between Frampton and Quigg have been mentioned along with Galahad in the mix. However, if they do fail to materialize there are career defining bouts with Leo Santa Cruz and Guillermo Rigondeaux out there, which will keep British fighter involved at the right end of the Super Bantamweight division.

3. The rise of Anthony Joshua.

The much touted potential superstar and savior of the heavyweight division topped the bill on his debut and has since notched up 10 wins all by stoppages from 10 contests. Anthony Joshua will face sterner tests in the next few year on his quest for a world title but his first year has breathed new life into the British heavyweight division and help create a buzz. Handling all opponents put in his way with ease, Joshua has shown power, athleticism, a ruthless streak and glimpses of his personality that will ender him to the hearts of many in the nation. Next year will prove the acid test for Joshua, he and promoter Eddie Hearn will surely have a plan mapped out and I am sure we are all excited to see how far the Olympic Champion can go in the professional ranks.

2. Kell Brook winning the IBF World Welterweight Title against Shawn Porter.

Kell Brook finally got into the ring for his long overdue world title shot against the unbeaten and much talked about Shawn Porter who made light work of Paulie Malignaggi in his previous fight. Kell Brook was still an unknown quantity at world level and definitely was regarded as the underdog for this encounter. Brook produced the finest display of his career taking home the title and proving that he belongs at the elite level. A memorable victory for Brook, which has opened to door to potential super fights and more interestingly a fight with fellow Brit and longtime rival Amir Khan.

1. Carl Froch retaining his IBF and WBA World Super Middleweight Titles with a Knock out George Groves.

The right hand that Carl Froch threw in the 8th round at Wembley arena is my number one moment of British boxing in 2014. Not only did Froch retain his IBF World Super Middleweight Title and WBA Super World Super Middleweight Title in the process, he settled his personal score with George Groves and brought the certain down on a spectacular night of boxing in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. What could prove to be a fitting end to the career of a great British champion shows how far his career and boxing has developed in 2014. Froch prior to 2014 was only really known only to the die-hard British fans and had not received the acclaim he deserved. 2014 put both Carl Froch and British boxing into the public eye and Froch’s big right hand sealed his legacy, silenced his critics from his first bout with Groves, much to his delight proved a satisfying point to his tormentor Groves and provided my highlight of the year.

2014 was an eventful year for British boxing but what is more exciting is the fact that the work done by promoters and fighters in 2014 has paved the way for a very exciting 2015. Roll on the next year of British boxing.

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