When Wembley Stadium sold out in an hour for Froch vs Groves 2 many said that ‘British boxing had peaked’, and that ‘It won’t happen again’.
First of all British boxing’s peak was not 2014, there weren’t anywhere near enough top level 50/50 fights to compete with previous generations.
And can it happen again?
I think so! I believe it can and it will.
While the remainder of 2014’s boxing shows were heavily overshadowed by the size of the event on May 31st what I did start to see is more regular non ‘hard-core’ boxing fans talking about boxing. Not just about you big name fighters either. As always Khan, Haye and Froch get regular coverage by websites and newspapers but people were talking about new world champion Kell Brook, Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton, Bellew and Cleverly, and there is a lot of interest in Anthony Joshua fighting any of Haye, Fury, Harrison, Price or Chisora even though they are all miles apart in their current situations.
I think people are ready and willing to pay money to watch another truly big fight.
I think it’s important for Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn to start working together to put on more even fights on the undercards of the biggest shows.
Tyler Goodjohn vs Ricky Boylan in October was a cracking fight and anyone who watched it will be tuning in once again on January 31st to see their next fights.
There is a depth of potential in the UK right now. At super middleweight we are likely to have four different Brits (Carl Froch, George Groves, James Degale and Paul Smith Jr) competing in world title fights in the same division. By the end of 2015 they could all have one of the four recognised world titles each and then look to face each other!
We also have 2 Irish world champions, Carl Frampton and Andy Lee who could be facing Scott Quigg (World WBA Champ) and Billy Joe Saunders (European, British and commonwealth champ) in the UK/Ireland this year.
David Haye is back in training and we are awaiting news of his comeback fight. Amir Khan has once again climbed himself to the pinnacle level of the sport and looks at the pound for pound best fighters as potential opponents.
Kell Brook is waiting for a big opponent following his lay off after being stabbed whilst away celebrating his win World title win.
We also have several guys on the verge of fighting for world titles themselves with mandatory positions or title shots coming up etc., such as Lee Selby, Paul Smith Jr, Tyson Fury, Paul Butler, Martin Murray, Tony Bellew, George Groves, James Degale, Anthony Crolla (when fit) and several others.
2015 could see many world titles in British hands leading to many big domestic stadium fights.
If David Haye wins his comeback fight and Anthony Joshua keeps knocking his opponents out the way he has been so far then a fight between the 2 Londoners could me massive. David Haye is a household name and pay-per-view favourite and can sell-out arenas on his own. Add in the ever growing in popularity Olympic gold medallist in Joshua and let the fight build itself. Promoted correctly the fight could be much bigger than Froch and Groves.
There is also the potential fight at welterweight between IBF World champion Kell Brook and the fast handed Amir Khan. Brook’s profile has grown slowly but surely as he made the headlines for his overseas world title win and his stabbing incident last year. He also was in a famous row with Khan on sky sports weekly boxing show Ringside a few years ago. Their rivalry is very similar to Froch and Groves with Khan regularly dismissing the level that Brook has competed and Brook regularly calling out the more famous star. Khan similarly to David Haye is a household name having won silver at the Olympics and 2 world titles at light welterweight. If Khan was to take the fight I believe it also has the potential to fill Wembley and grow into a massive pay-per-view fight.
Amir Khan is also heavily linked with bouts against Mayweather and Pacquiao. If either of these fights happen then they will be massive in terms of pay-per-view buys and if Khan were to entice either of them to the UK they could sell-out Wembley 3 or 4 times.
There are many stars in the making under a few different promoters and you have to think that 2015 will see more tickets sold than 2014 and potentially bigger fights across the board can be made.
Eubanks Jr vs Billy Joe Saunders 2 would be huge if they were to both win their next fights. BJS has a shot at Andy Lee’s world title and Eubanks Jr is fighting against Dmitry Chudinov for an interim world title. The first fight was very entertaining and both fighters proved their value over the 12 rounds. I’m not sure how big this fight could be but the addition of the first to the Fury vs Chisora card took ticket sales from around 4000 at the Phones4U arena up to around 19000 at the Excel Arena.
So I don’t think boxing peaked last year although I did have a thoroughly entertaining night at Wembley. I do think that such an event has simply wet the lips of sports fans and turned many heads towards boxing shows.
If more 50/50 fights can be made and our growing stars are in more testing fights then people will definitely watch more boxing and the sport will grow in this country.
I think boxing is a sleeping giant amongst the sporting world. Because of the training involved boxers are respected and awed by most and it just takes the right fights at the right times to really turn people back onto boxing.
Not so long ago there was regularly boxing shows on terrestrial television and now its slowly creeping back in with channel 5 often showing live boxing. In February we will get to see St Helens fighter Martin Murray take on one the world very best at any weight in Gennady Golovkin. That’s a fight not to miss.