talkSPORT proudly boasted of actuality the ‘Home of Boxing’ throughout 2018, and with the account of every bite corrective for the adviser – from Cardiff to Nuremburg to Los Angeles to Jeddah and abounding added besides – it’d be adamantine to altercate that we didn’t deliver.
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The year started with a London derby – Lawrence Okolie v Isaac Chamberlain at The O2. In fairness, that one bootless to ignite, but bigger was to appear in Manchester with George Groves assertive Chris Eubank Jnr in their Apple Battle Cool Series semi-final; Groves finishing the claiming with his larboard arm blind limply by his waist.
Germany was up next, and Callum Smith larboard Manchester Airport with a big smile on his face in apprehension of putting civic hero Juergen Braehmer into retirement. His trainer Joe Gallagher accustomed a alarm whilst walking beyond the alley to the alike apprenticed for Nuremburg – there would be no Braehmer, but a activity would go on. Above Dutch kick-boxing best Nieky Holzken stepped up and accepted a boxy but bound operator. It was a no-win bearings for Smith, but he got the job done to set up a tantalising tie with Groves, already the latter’s afflicted accept healed.
Onto Sheffield on a albino Saturday in aboriginal March to attestant the acknowledgment of Kell Brook afterward his back-to-back defeats to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jnr. Sergey Rabchenkowas the adversary – while it lasted. Less than two circuit didn’t acquaint us an abominable lot about ‘Special K.’
On the aforementioned weekend, Deontay Wilder exhausted Luis Ortiz stateside, while Josh Taylor connected his ascendance in the activity by dismantling Winston Campos in Glasgow.
From the Steel Burghal to Carson, California for Scott Quigg’s advance on the WBO agile appellation captivated by Mexico’s Oscar Valdez. In a hasty twist, the uber-professional Quigg advised in abundant and accordingly couldn’t win the title. The black affection wasn’t aerial the afterward day as the bang opened to abate the amphitheater Stub Hub Centre to a bank pond pool. All address of advertisement kit and cables were apparent to the elements but, somehow, we backward on-air and added remarkably, cipher was electrocuted.
The afresh WBO declining champ Ray Beltran abutting us on co-commentary – a man who’d sparred abounding circuit with both men. Battle ability he may be, but with a dejected tarpaulin area pulled over his head, lip mic to aperture and rain spilling bottomward his face, Ray realised appropriate afresh that he’d absolutely accustomed at the big time.
It additionally accepted to be an afflictive night for Quigg, who had his adenoids burst aboriginal on and suffered a bad cut to boot. The Bury-man fabricated the final bell, but the accommodation was accepted in the active Mexican’s favour.
Next up – Dillian Whyte demography on the big Aussie Lucas Browne in London. It presented a footfall up for Dillian adjoin a above apple champion. There was some aggravate activity into the fight, but in the end, there was a abysm in chic and a concussive knockout acclimatized the account – the Brixton man was on a roll.
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Undercard highlights included Lewis Ritson announcement out Scott Cardle and Callum Johnson ripping the British light-heavyweight belt from Frank Buglioni in the aperture round.
The big body up to Anthony Joshua’s abutting hurdle was already in abounding exhausted by this point. March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The punters had abounding the burghal centre pubs aboriginal and abounding were actual able-bodied active aback the business got austere central the venue. Anthony Crolla – allotment of our aggregation in Nuremburg – outpointed Edsun Ramirez afore the big men took centre stage. David Price already afresh accepted his acceptance with a abundant acclaim afore aggressive through the ropes to face Alexander Povetkin. Price was bottomward in the third but rose to assault the Russian beyond the amphitheatre at the end of the round. Povetkin survived, rebooted and fabricated Price pay with a abhorrent fifth annular knockout to set up a claiming with Joshua – provided he exhausted Joseph Parker. He did. In a controlled performance, Joshua outpointed the Kiwi to administer his aboriginal defeat.
Dillian Whyte was ringside with talkSPORT that night. As anon as the activity ended, he alone his mic to attending for Joshua, Povetkin and any added ample he could alarm out!
April heralded the alpha of bounce and James DeGale was abounding of the joys afterwards accomplishment his IBF Cool middleweight apple appellation in his rematch with Caleb Truax in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, affairs were underway for the acknowledgment of Amir Khan in a bender with abrupt Canadian-Italian Phil Lo Greco.
A assignment in the celebrity boscage had added bolstered the Bolton fighter’s accumulation appeal, but there was no animated at the pre-fight columnist appointment in Liverpool aback Lo Greco went off-piste by bringing Khan’s wife into matters. A bottle of baptize was befuddled at the company as things got a little ugly.
After the formalities, aback sat with talkSPORT in a quiet allowance larboard of stage, Lo Greco seemed absolutely annoyed by the incident. He was alike added fluctuant appear activity night. It took Khan all of 39 abnormal to bang Lo Greco out and accelerate him aback to Toronto with his appendage amid his legs.
While the capital accident at the Echo Amphitheatre was over afore it began, there was a accessory archetypal on the undercard with Tommy Coyle demography the commonwealth declining appellation from Birkenhead’s Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd. That aforementioned night, Coyle’s stablemate Carl Frampton got the bigger of the ‘Filipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire in Belfast.
Cinco de Mayo is consistently a appropriate date in the battle diary, but the bigger affray on that day this year didn’t absorb a Mexican superstar. Canelo’s doping abuse adjourned the additional GGG activity so instead it was a scouser and a Londoner in a rematch of their own that hogged the headlines. The O2 was bouncing as David Haye and afresh Tony Bellew fabricated their amphitheatre entrances. The end was about for Haye who couldn’t bear the ‘Bomber’s’ barrages. At ringside, afterward a fifth-round stoppage, Bellew roared bottomward the talkSPORT mic as alone he can. Haye backward to congratulate his conquistador and allocution to us over the ropes. Despite all the pre-fight bluster, he was honest and accommodating in his appraisal. Body accent hinted that he knew his time was up. It was.
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A anniversary later, Ukrainian ability Vasiliy Lomachenko became a three-weight apple best by assault Jorge Linares via tenth annular TKO. Not all apparent sailing adjoin a accurate aristocratic fighter, Loma had to get off the canvas in the sixth annular afore demography over.
As the calm football analysis came to an end, admirers of Leeds United still had addition date in the diary. Elland Road, May 19: Lee Selby v Josh Warrington. Adjoin all the odds, the hometown boy out-hustled the champion, acid him abominably afore demography the breach decision. A new apple best for the man ‘fighting for a city’.
At the end of May, addition Yorkshireman, Jamie McDonnell, took up the huge claiming of adverse the barbarian Naoya Inoue in Tokyo in a defence of his WBA bantamweight belt. Drained at authoritative 118lbs, the Doncaster man was chock-full in the aperture round. Kal Yafai meanwhile, had a bigger abroad day in California with a win over David Cormona a brace of canicule later.
Onto June and the acknowledgment of the Gypsy King. Afterwards his abundant actual lay-off which resulted in him ballooning in weight afterward an ballsy binge, Tyson Fury teamed up with the adolescent and almost alien trainer Ben Davison to adapt for the bashful claiming of Sefer Seferi. Fury had appeared to be aback to his accepted cocky at the aboriginal pre-fight columnist appointment at the Lowry Auberge – he joked about actuality blessed to allotment a bill with Terry Flanagan and a ‘hooker’. Flanagan was arresting his WBO declining appellation on the bill adjoin the highly-rated Texan Maurice Hooker.
At the accessible conditioning at the Civic Football Museum, you got the consequence Seferi ability be out of his abyss aback he jumped in the amphitheatre to get a selfie with Fury. It got alike added amusing at the amphitheater weigh-in aback the Manchester traveller best up his diminutive adversary – the second-best cruiserweight in Albania – afore giving him a cuddle.
There wasn’t abundant added animosity in the activity itself. Fury had been out of activity for two-and-a-half years, but afterwards address about eight stone, was calmly fit abundant to abolish Seferi’s efforts. Things angry camp during the activity aback both men chock-full to watch admirers affray in the seats. Still, Seferi had had abundant afterwards four circuit while Flanagan’s belt larboard these shores with Hooker.
Towards the end of the month, Martin Murray exhausted Roberto Garcia while Josh Taylor enjoyed a standout win over Victor Postol. In added business, Manny Pacquiao already afresh adored his arresting career with a TKO achievement over Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpar while Rocky Fielding and a blatant bandage of scousers went bananas aback ‘Rocky from Stocky’ abashed Tyrone Zuege with a amazing abeyance on the champion’s home turf. Liverpool had a new WBA (regular) apple titlist.
July additionally witnessed Oleksandr Usyk blanket up the cruiserweight analysis by absolutely assertive Murat Gassiev in Moscow, claiming the WBSS Muhammad Ali bays in the process. In his post-fight account in the ring, he alleged out Tony Bellew and the blow as they say……
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That aforementioned night beyond the pond in Las Vegas, Liam Smith bootless to battle the WBO super-welterweight belt off the massive and absorbing Mexican Jaime Munguia.
Back in blighty we were all attractive advanced to a battle analysis afterpiece at the O2. It was a night that delivered for talkSPORT admirers on every level. There were victories for Conor Benn (against his bogeyman Cedrick Peynaud) and Josh Buatsi, while Ireland’s Katie Taylor was at her arrogant best in abacus Kimberley Connor’s IBF declining belt to the WBA appellation she already held.
It was all-action with the big men. Dave Allen – who had Kenny Rogers amphitheatre in his bathrobe allowance above-mentioned to his ringwalk – gambled with a huge overhand appropriate to atom out Nick Webb while Dereck Chisora played rope-a-dope with Carlos Takam afore unleashing a bent attack to end the latter’s night.
How could the top of the bill affray amid Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker compete? Well, it was alike better. Whyte had the Kiwi bottomward in the additional and ninth circuit afore the ‘Body Snatcher’ went bottomward in the twelfth as Parker sensed alone a KO would do. Dillian survived for his best-ever victory.
Over at Windsor Park in Belfast, Carl Frampton bankrupt up for the summer afterwards breaking Luke Jackson’s attrition – abrogation the Aussie in a blend and with a perforated ear drum. Tyson Fury was on the bill – accepting circuit in adjoin Franceso Pianeta. The additional improvement activity ticked off – Deontay Wilder was there, and appropriately that activity was made.
So assimilate September afterwards the little alcove and Amir Khan got the new analysis beneath way in his additional improvement activity adjoin Colombian Samuel Vargas. A big Birmingham army angry up to watch Khan booty a accepted accommodation in a activity in which he wasn’t consistently convincing. Cue added Kell Brook chat.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin assuredly had their rematch with the Mexican accepting the nod in a high-quality affair, while aback in London there was addition astronomic activity anniversary to enjoy.
It’s consistently an accident aback AJ fights and the break at Wembley didn’t disappoint. Any amphitheater accident in the UK at any time of the year is at accident of a little precipitation. It rained, but there was no black of spirit for a army that was advised to Sergey Kuzmin v David Price (the Liverpudlian retired by his bend due to a bicep injury); Lawrence Okolie got the accommodation in his British cruiserweight appellation affray with holder Matty Askin in an awkward cuddle-fest and Luke Campbell avenged his defeat to Yvan Mendy afore the capital event. Elaborate ringwalks completed, Anthony Joshua accepted his animation already added – clearing bottomward afterwards actuality rocked aboriginal on to stop the alarming Alexander Povetkin in the seventh.
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Moving on and there’d been a lot of belief about the area for the WBSS super-middleweight final. As it was two Brits – Groves v Smith – it was advancing it’d be either London or Manchester. And so, it was Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A camp abode to authority such an event, but it all formed out able-bodied in the end. Callum Smith and his aggregation were put in a accomplished auberge on the beach – annihilation to do but eat, alternation and beddy-bye – aloof how trainer Joe Gallagher capital it. Groves and his aggregation had autonomous for an accommodation in town.
The pre-fight columnist appointment had a appropriate bedfellow in the appearance of the allegorical Evander Holyfield, while Prince Naseem Hamed added the stardust at the weigh-in. The locals were absolutely in awe of Naz, who was there to proudly advance battle on Arab soil.
The King Abdullah centre – a multi-sports calm area 40 account arctic of Jeddah – was abounding of analytical Saudis appear activity night. Arch abutment was an odd one with Chris Eubank Jnr almost abating up adjoin JJ McDonagh, who retired claiming an afflicted shoulder. There was added activity in the post-fight account as McDonagh took barring to Eubank’s comments and went for him.
Groves v Smith lived up to the billing. It was nip and constrict in the aperture circuit afore Smith sensed his opportunity. Activity into the seventh annular there was little amid them until ‘Mundo’ bent Groves with a larboard angle followed by a appropriate to leave George in a heap. Devastating for Hammersmith man, the billy handed to Smith who claimed the WBA super-middleweight title, the Amphitheatre Magazine belt and the huge askance metal Muhammad Ali trophy.
After dozens of photos with ancestors and accompany in the amphitheatre and afresh the bathrobe room, it was aback to the dry auberge for a agrarian anniversary of pizza and coke afore communicable an aboriginal flight home.
Into October and talkSPORT brought the adviser abounding annotation of Callum Johnson’s apple light-heavyweight claiming adjoin the feared Artur Beterbiev in Chicago. It was a absolute ding-dong while it lasted. Johnson was bottomward in the aboriginal but recovered to attic the Russian in annular two. The Lincolnshire man afresh succumbed in the 4th annular – a adventurous accomplishment that alone added Callum’s reputation. Addition Brit, Gavin McDonnell additionally came up abbreviate in his apple appellation activity adjoin Daniel Roman on the aforementioned bill.
Mid-October and it was the about-face of Newcastle to host the talkSPORT battle aggregation – including the afresh alternate Callum Johnson on co-commentary. Lewis Ritson had enjoyed a astounding year to that point – announcement all calm foes to set up a European claiming adjoin Belgian-Italian Francesco Patera. The crowd, including Alan Shearer, was expectant. The alone botheration was that Patera was assertive and accessible to blemish the fun. Ritson couldn’t acquisition an acknowledgment to Patera’s appearance and so a absinthian credibility defeat ensued for the hometown boy – a absolute setback for the burghal that was attractive advanced to hosting a cord of big activity nights.
The afterward week, Billy Joe Saunders should’ve been arresting his WBO middleweight appellation in Boston adjoin Demetrius Andrade but was banned and bare of his belt for declining a autonomous drugs analysis – the analeptic oxilofrine begin in his system. That didn’t stop us at talkSPORT as we brought you abounding activity advantage of James Tennyson’s adventurous but bedevilled attack to win Tevin Farmer’s IBF super-featherweight crown. Katie Taylor was already afresh absorbing in her defence adjoin Cindy Serrano; Kid Galahad overcame Toka Khan Clary and Tommy Coyle exhausted bounded man Ryan Kielczweski.
October concluded with Terry Flanagan accident for the additional time and catastrophe his run in the WBSS cool declining clash with defeat to Regis Prograis in New Orleans. It was aloof as black for Hughie Fury, who was on the amiss end of a accepted accommodation adjoin Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria in a ample eliminator.
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Meanwhile, at the Copperbox in Stratford, talkSPORT was ringside as John Ryder pipped Andrey Sirotkin. The undercard blanket the appearance however, with Ted Cheesman advantageous Asinia Byfield while Jordan Gill was categorical in abolition boxy Mancunian Ryan Doyle to affirmation the Commonwealth agile title.
With the year’s end affective closer, few could’ve predicted the affairs surrounding Ryan Burnett’s aboriginal bleep as a professional. A aberration abrasion concluded his night adjoin Nonito Donaire – who’d alone two weights to assurance up for the bantamweight adaptation of the WBSS. A sad sight, but no such dramas for Josh Taylor, who took affliction of Ryan Martin in the 140lb category.
Following the call-out in the amphitheatre beforehand in the year, there was no way Tony Bellew would abide a able at Oleksandr Usyk. It was for all the marbles and a accessible few quid. And so, it was in Manchester, November 11 on a night that crackled with atmosphere and anticipation. Friend of talkSPORT Anthony Crolla was arch support, toughing it out adjoin Daud Yordan to set up a accessible attack at Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lengthy ringwalks completed, the capital accident began and was arresting aboriginal doors – Bellew battle well, the Ukrainian stalking his casualty afore pouncing and finishing his victim. It was the end for Bellew, who accepted retirement in the belly of the amphitheatre at an affecting columnist appointment that didn’t end until 2am. Tony the gobby scouser was dead, connected alive Anthony.
Frank Buglioni appear his retirement anon afterwards afterward defeat to Fanlong Meng in Monte Carlo on a night aback Kal Yafai got advantageous adjoin Israel Gonzalez.
Retirement may accept been the affair for a little while, but it was the connected acknowledgment of Tyson Fury that had anybody affianced appear December. Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had at some credibility alert and added times apathetic the accessible with the panto columnist bout to bless their accessible battle alliance. Aback the activity began, thankfully it added than lived up to the hype. The Gypsy King boxed like a dream as Wilder consistently looked for the right-hand equaliser. He did acquisition it in the ninth – putting Fury down. Added astonishingly, in the final annular Fury was bent and put to beddy-bye alone to acceleration like Lazarus to accomplishment the annular the stronger man. It was accounted a draw by the judges, but Tyson came home a champ – the turnaround complete.
There was still time in 2018 for Lomachenko to exhausted Pedraza with addition cast masterclass; Navarette took Dogboe’s appellation and Kell Brook exhausted Michael Zerafa. The Rocky adventure didn’t absolutely materialise for Rocky Fielding, who was chock-full by Canelo at Madison Square Garden, but Katie Taylor concluded the year in archetypal appearance with a abstract achievement in acquisition the best Eva Wahlstrom.
The final battle anniversary of the year was a humdinger. Two abundant events, one in Manchester with Josh Warrington’s IBF agile defence adjoin Carl Frampton, the added in London as Dillian Whyte rematched Dereck Chisora. Both activity nights were successes. Warrington accepted he’s added than a Duracell bunny with a absurd credibility win that leaves Carl Frampton absorption his abutting move – adhere up the gloves as a avant-garde Irish legend, or go again? For Warrington, the apple is at his anxiety with affinity contests to attending advanced to.
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Meanwhile in London, Whyte eventually bent up with Chisora with a larboard angle that accolade the senses of the man now accepted as ‘war’.
It’s fast acceptable a cliché that British battle is ‘booming.’ The byword may abrade but the facts allege for themselves. Most of the world’s big fights appear via the UK in one-way appearance or form. Abutting year we cantankerous our fingers and achievement for Fury v Wilder II or Wilder v Joshua or Fury v Joshua etc – and that’s aloof the big lads. So abounding abeyant bout ups at calm and apple akin beyond all the divisions.
Here’s acquisitive for addition top year of battle on talkSPORT!
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