22 Mar

Prospect Battles: A British Classic

On March 31, London will host an evening of boxing. The main event will be a fight between local superweights Fabio Wardley (17-0, 16 KOs) and Frazer Clark (8-0, 6 KOs). The prospects will fight for the British and Commonwealth titles.

Usually, promoters who get potential stars guide such boxers carefully, trying to minimize all kinds of risks on their clients' path to a title fight. This is the principle on which most managers and promoters around the world operate, but not in the UK.

Arranging fights between local top prospects has long been a favorite pastime of the British. This trend is especially evident in the super heavyweight division, where many such confrontations have occurred over the last fifteen years. All of the current top British boxers have been involved in these fights.

July 23, 2011. Derek Chisora vs. Tyson Fury

Venue: Wembley Arena, London, UK

Result: Fury won by unanimous decision in a 12-round fight.

Status: British and Commonwealth title fight.

This fight started the "legendary" Fury-Chisora trilogy. It was the only one of the three fights in which Fury was not the favorite. On the eve of the first boxers' session, the odds were 1.61 vs. 2.30 in favor of Derek.

At that time, Chisora, who had never lost before, was the reigning British and Commonwealth champion. In addition, Derek had a chance to fight Wladimir Klitschko, which would have made the Briton more recognizable and raised his status. But the champion's fight with the Ukrainian never took place - all the fault was Wladimir's injury.

Chisora's next opponent was the mandatory challenger for the British title, Tyson Fury.

Now, the Gypsy King is one of the most recognizable boxers of our time. Back then, he was a 23-year-old lanky, seemingly stylistically awkward oddball. To the boxing public, he looked more like an urban lunatic than a future world heavyweight champion.

Derek probably underestimated his opponent; otherwise, his appearance in the ring, which weighed almost 120 kilograms, could not have been explained.

Chisora, who had become overweight, was powerless against the youthful and vigorous Fury. Tyson swiftly adjusted to Derek's offensive, showcasing his resilience to incoming blows. While some of Chisora's strikes did find their mark, particularly in the fight's early stages, the challenger largely dominated the bout. The outcome was a decisive victory for Fury, with all judges awarding him a unanimous decision.

The victor of this match was positioned as the subsequent contender for a bout against Wladimir Klitschko. However, Tyson did not hastily pursue the championship match, eventually facing Wladimir only four years later.

December 12, 2015. Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte

Venue: O2 Arena, London, United Kingdom

Result: Joshua secured a victory through a technical knockout in the 7th round.

Status: British and Commonwealth title fight, WBC International title fight.

Another crucial match among British superheavyweights featured Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, who had previously encountered each other in the amateur boxing ring.

Whyte, transitioning from kickboxing, triumphed over Joshua by points in their initial boxing match, even knocking down AJ during the bout.

Seven years after their first clash, the fighters faced off as professionals. Since their initial meeting, both Britons had navigated challenging careers.

Joshua entered professional boxing as an Olympic champion and quickly emerged as one of the foremost heavyweight prospects. Whyte's progression through the professional ranks was similarly brisk.

The fight between the two unbeaten British boxers began intensely right from the start, with both going straight into exchanging heavy punches. Both boxers seemed close to being knocked out at times during the fight. However, while Dillian didn't use these moments, Joshua did, knocking out Whyte in the middle of the 7th round.

After the fight, Joshua mentioned he was open to fighting Whyte again. A rematch was possible in August 2023, but it didn't happen because Dillian got involved in a doping issue.

November 28, 2020. Daniel Dubois vs. Joseph Joyce

Venue: Church House, Westminster, London, UK

Result: Joyce won by knockout in the 10th round.

Status: The fight was for the British and Commonwealth titles, the EBU European title, the WBC Silver title, and the WBO International title.

As of November 2020, the well-known British promoter Frank Warren had two leading superheavyweight contenders in his group.

The first was Joe Joyce, a seasoned amateur, and 2016 Olympic silver medalist, making solid progress professionally. The second was 23-year-old Daniel Dubois, holder of various regional championships. Warren remarked that he had searched for a boxer like Daniel for 35 years.

Both were British and unbeaten, making them the perfect match for the next big British showdown in the super superheavyweight category.

Their bout was fast-paced and competitive. Dubois' offense was especially threatening - Daniel aimed to deliver combinations. Joyce, however, focused on his jab. Known as "the Juggernaut," Joyce consistently landed his jab, which had nearly closed Dubois' left eye by the sixth round.

This led to the first defeat in young Daniel's career.

After missing a powerful punch in the tenth round, Dubois, nicknamed "Dynamite," kneeled and failed to rise before the referee finished counting. Joyce won by knockout. When the fight was stopped, Dubois was ahead on two of the judges' scorecards, while a third judge favored Joyce.

After the fight, it came out that 23-year-old Dubois, besides having a broken eye socket bone and damage to the optic nerve from the bout with Joyce, also had bleeding in the retina. This match stands as the most intense battle among the recent British super heavyweight hopefuls.