Great British Heavyweight Fights
By Sean Bastow
Over the years Britain has seen some of the best domestic heavyweight clashes, and on July 13th Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman go head to head for the right to be the British heavyweight champion.
This fight has been brewing for some time with both fighters having been touted by fans and promoters alike as the next generation of the heavyweight division.
In this article we explore some of the most notable British heavyweight domestic dust ups that have set the precedent for the upcoming Dubois vs Gorman bout.
Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno October 1st 1993
Lewis was making the second defence of his WBC title when facing off against Bruno, who was fighting in his third world title bout, having been unsuccessful in his previous two attempts against Tim Witherspoon & Mike Tyson.
The fight was going to be the first time that two British born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title, although in the build up to the fight Bruno had questioned how British Lennox Lewis really was given the fact he had won an Olympic gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Olympic games.
“Lewis is not British”
“He calls himself champion”. “He acts like he’s a Sugar Ray Leonard or a Willie Pep or a Joe Louis”
“Nobody cares about Lennox Lewis in Britain.”
Lewis was not going to shy away from the taunts of Bruno and fired back
“Look, I’ve fought more British fighters than that guy has. He makes a fool of himself, dressing up in girls’ clothing on television”.
Lennox Lewis would go on stop Frank Bruno in seven rounds after what was a back and forth battle with Lewis eventually staggering Bruno with a looping left hook leading to referee Mickey Vann stepping in.
Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora I 10th December 2016
In 2016 bitter London rivals Dillian Whyte & Dereck Chisora was to meet for Whyte’s British heavyweight crown. In the build up the fight the two had been trading insults back and forth over social media leading to a public demand for the fight between the pair to take place.
The hype of the bout continued into the press conference where Whyte provoked Chisora by claiming he would attack Chisora anytime he would see him after the fight, which sent Chisora into an angry rage leading to him picking up a table and throwing in the direction of Whyte narrowly missing everyone in close proximity.
As a result this left to the British Boxing Board of Control to withdraw its sanction of the British title from the bout and instead Whyte’s WBC international title was at stake.
During filming for Sky’s The Gloves Are Off, Whyte and Chisora were involved in verbal sparring which culminated in a brawl taking place on the set
Dillian Whyte would go on to beat Chisora in an enthralling twelve round bout which was arguably the best bout of 2016 via a split decision and eventually led to a rematch in 2018 which Whyte won via knockout in eleven rounds.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew 4th March 2017
After fulfilling his dream of becoming a world champion Tony Bellew had is sights set on another dream, winning a world title at heavyweight.
After defending his WBC crusierweight title for the first against BJ Flores, Bellew who already had been involved in verbal sparring with David Haye on social media, noticed that Haye was working ringside for the Sky broadcast and in the aftermath of stopping Flores (who is a good friend of Haye) he decided to set his sights straight on Haye, learning over the ropes and trying to get to Haye.
In the post-fight interview Bellew claimed he could beat David Haye and was willing to move up to heavyweight to face him.
In the first press conference during the traditional face off words were exchanged before Haye threw a quick left hook which caught Bellew before a scuffle ensued between the two camps, bringing more genuine bad blood in the lead up to the fight.
In what was considered a shock upset, Tony Bellew stopped David Haye in the eleventh round of their bout, with Haye suffering an Achilles injury midway through the fight leading to many pouring scorn over Bellew’s win.
The pair would meet again a year later with Bellew claiming an empathic fifth round stoppage over a seemingly past is prime Haye.