Four To Watch in 2019: Brits To Climb The Rankings
By Oliver McManus
January 1st 2017 – 13 British boxing world champions
January 1st 2019 – 4 British boxing world champions
The phrase “British boxing is booming” is one you will have heard hundreds of times. Indeed I am guilty of, perhaps, over-using the phrase and whilst it certainly feels as such at a domestic level, who are the flag-bearers of the future?
Let’s take a look at some names on the radar, some names maybe not, all of whom will be looking to make a splash on the world title scene over the course of 2019/2020.
The first name I’m going to throw at you is Terri Harper, the lightweight from Denaby, South Yorkshire. Three times a junior national champion, Harper made the decision to turn professional last year and made her debut, aged 21, in November 2017 against Monika Antonik.
Since then Harper has advanced her record to five without defeat including, most recently, a second round knockout victory over Feriche Mashauri. Taking place on Matchroom Boxing’s latest Sheffield card, Harper dismantled Mashauri with a ferocious onslaught against the ropes, firing in to the body and head to send her opponent wilting over.
Already scheduled to take on Nina Bradley, herself 7-0, for Bradley’s Commonwealth super lightweight belt, Harper is throwing herself in at the deep end with a GENUINE all-British 50-50 fight.
2019 bodes well for the youngster, bring it on!
Two fights in two months that have catapulted Sunny Edwards up the WBO Rankings and enhance his reputation in the super-flyweight division. Defending his WBO European strap against Ryan Farrag with a faultless, back-foot performance, the 22 year old earned deserved plaudits across the boxing community.
Last weekend (15th December), he impressed again with a comfortable, assured performance over Junior Granados which, flash knockdown aside, saw Edwards boxing with fluid footwork. A threat in the pocket and when counter-punching, the Croydon-man looked confident in his ability and got the job done.
Having expressed a desire to return to the domestic scene, as opposed to sweeping the board with regional bouts, there are plenty of fights in the pipeline for Edwards with no-less a challenge than Jay Harris – what a fight that would be!
Thomas Patrick Ward
A career in a state of flux, at the moment. Thomas Patrick Ward is perhaps the most surprising pick for this feature with 2018 emerging as a bit of an odd one for the super bantamweight. Slated to face Jazza Dickens for the British title, that fight went by the wayside as Ward opted to enhance his reputation with the governing bodies.
Ranked fourth with the WBO, the 24 year old was supposedly “two fights away” from a shot at the IBF title earlier this year. A comfortable victory over Alvaro Rodriguez saw the County Durham fighter emerge with the IBF European belt but pathways changed and the future appears a little uncertain.
Having turned professional aged just 18, his maturity is beyond him and, having racked up 25 fights without defeat, his composure within the ring is unshakeable. You know what you’re getting with Ward, very rarely will the night be ending early, but as a fight progresses you can see him boxing better.
Advised by Dennis Hobson, few would disagree that it’s time for Ward to ramp up his profile with either high-profile domestic clashes or a concerted run at a world title. 2019 will define the future for Thomas Patrick Ward, let’s hope we get to see the full flow of his talent.
Ah yes, the lesser-spotted heavyweight prospect from the Frank Warren stable. Nathan Gorman, trained by Ricky Hatton, is almost always mentioned in tandem with Daniel Dubois but rarely in isolation.
Amid the heavy investment being thrust towards his rival prospect, Gorman has been going about his business in a relatively quiet fashion – not that you could accuse Dubois of being brash, by any stretch of the imagination. Gorman boasts a record of 14-0 with 11 knockouts and it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 22. Looking at the power he possesses, it is clear to see he’s grown into it and is more willing to vary up his punches than in the early stages of his career.
Fighting on the Warrington-Frampton undercard against Razvan Cojanu, scheduled for 12 rounds, the Nantwich-man has a real opportunity to prove himself against a former world title challenger. Cojanu comes into the contest as someone that Gorman should be able to look good against but provides a challenge not to be sniffed at.
With Gorman-Dubois “marinating”, to use the wonderful phrase of Eddie Hearn, it’ll be interesting to see the route that Nathan goes down but, for sure, he has the talent to be a world champion.
No pressure, then.