Every boxing fan in the UK knows the chant. “There’s only 1 Ricky Hatton!”
I’m not about to question it really, more ask the question can anyone else from the current crop of British fighters go on to fill his boots and gain the following that the Hitman once had.
Ricky became a boxing phenomenon in the UK and sold out arenas and stadiums to adoring loyal fans, many of whom traveled in there thousands to the USA to see Ricky’s famous losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Paquiao.
The leading contenders from the UK at the moment are Carl Froch and Amir Khan who regularily fight on PPV bills and sellout fights including an 80,000 record attendance for Froch vs Groves 2 at Wembley football stadium in May 2014 but neither of the 2 have the same loyalty with the home fans who do not flock in their thousands to travel when the fighters compete abroad.
So I look to the next batch of potential world leaders to see if anyone has the kind of ‘guy next door’ persona that made Hatton such a relatable and likeable guy.
I think Josh Warrington of Leeds definitely is one of the biggest contenders judging by his previous ticket sales and Eddie Hearn has recently signed him I believe for this reason more than his ability which is definitely no shortfall either.
Callum Smith of Liverpool is my next potential big draw. He is one of four brothers all who are domestic level champions or above in their weight class. He is touted by many boxing writers as Britain’s biggest prospect and last year he went on a run of 7 consecutive first round stoppage wins creating a real buzz around himself.
Carl Frampton of Belfast in Northern Ireland recently beat Kiko Martinez for a second time claiming a super bantamweight world title in the process. He is being guided by the very popular Barry Mcguigan and will draw many fans from all over Ireland as well as the UK. I think if he can finally agree terms to fight Scott Quigg and win he will be at the very front of the queue and a possible clash with the elite Rigondeux should get people parting with their money to travel to see such a clash.
Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua has racked up a 9-0 record with 9 KO’s all inside of 3 rounds. Being a heavyweight he is a natural draw and there is a lot of media coverage on the big man.
He is already a sparring partner for world champion Wladamir Klitschko and will be knocking on Tyson Fury and Derek Chisora’s doors after he deals with veteran Michael Sprott in his second PPV carded fight of the year.
Anthony’s Team GB team mate Luke Campbell of Hull who also won Gold at the 2012 Olympic Games has also remained unbeaten as a pro so far and last time out stopped a very tough opponent in Daniel Brizuela in the second round. Luke looks to be on a course to face fellow Hull favorite Tommy Coyle in a huge summer showdown in 2015. This kind of fight will raise his profile massively and there is a long line of fellow lightweights in the UK including Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchel, Anthony Crolla and Derry Matthews. I think due to his size he will eventually go up to Light Welterweight where Ricky Hatton won 3 of his 4 world titles and there are massive fights out there domestically and worldwide in that division.
Who do you think I’ve missed out? Let me know and comment below!