The Fight for British Super-Welterweight Supremacy
By James Hailston
Every now and again, in a particular weight class, at a certain point in time and at a certain level, a group of fighters all emerge who on paper at least, look particularly well matched. Whilst most weight divisions whether it be at world title level or domestically boast solid names that could make for good fights when put together, it’s not actually that often that more than one or two could potentially be considered the best of that crop.
There’s usually issues like fighters moving up and down in weight to get other fights, potentially well matched boxers being at different parts of their careers, mandatories or maybe one or two fighters being much better than the rest of the pack.
Seeing if an odds on horse can justify his price is intriguing no doubt but it doesn’t quite match the entertainment of a race with five or six genuine contenders going head to head for supremacy.
In the current British super-welterweight scene one of these evenly matched pack of fighters seems to be emerging.
Look past Liam Smith who is quite rightly the no1 ranked British fighter at the weight and there is a whole host of talented men trying to navigate their way up the boxing ladder. To bigger titles, bigger fights, bigger paydays and ultimately bigger legacies.
Building these legacies though will likely be much easier if they are to fight each other and create the type of rivalries and fights that boxing fans can’t help but be captivated by. So far it looks positive.
The current front runners are London’s Ted Cheeseman and Liverpool’s JJ Metcalf through holding the British and Commonwealth titles respectively.
However, in boxing’s present climate titles aren’t everything and Scott Fitzgerald, Anthony Fowler and Kieron Conway have all thrown their hat into the ring recently.
Fitzgerald boxed superbly against Fowler to take a narrow win on the cards that up until a final round knockdown could of gone either way. Cheeseman and Conway fought to a draw after the latter took the fight at late notice.
Metcalf is the only one of the five mentioned that hasn’t fought any of the others. That could soon change though after he captured the Commonwealth crown by beating experienced toughman Jason Welborn via stoppage in his last fight.
Cheeseman is a rough and ready come forward crowd pleaser while Conway is very much the opposite. Height and reach appears to be more his game. Fowler and Fitzgerald meanwhile are former standout amateurs who possibly have the most layers to their game though need to learn how to transition them into their pro style.
Metcalf is the eldest of the five at 30. He appears a fairly solid all rounder who has particularly impressed with his body work of late. Stylistically there are some fun match ups to be made.
Whilst one fighter may go on to become a unified world champion another may never get past domestic level. But it’s about where they all are right now in their careers.
We’ve already seen two good fights and were any combination of the five to meet right now it wouldn’t be easy to pick a winner and would more than likely make for a good spectacle. They will all improve for it too.
There are sharks lurking waiting for their invitations to have a bite too. Experienced pros Sam Eggington and Brian Rose will both feel they still know too much for their relative novice counterparts. As will undefeated fighters such as Troy Williamson, Jack Flatley and Kieran Smith.
But it’s all of this current crop fighting each other that will ultimately show us who can go the furthest and who’s legacy will be enhanced the most.
Not so long ago Britain had four very good middleweights in Darren Barker, Matt Macklin, Martin Murray and Andy Lee. Whilst they all had superb careers in their own right none of them ever got that big domestic fight with each other.
The ones that get the British fight fans juices flowing. None struck whilst the iron was hot. The ‘who’s the best?’ question was one that never got answered. Eventually this current group of exciting super welters will be separated. Through age, weight, promotional banners, defeats, injuries etc they will no longer be each others desired opponents. Let’s hope they go on to have successful careers like the previous four mentioned, but let’s hope they do it whilst fighting each other and this time the ‘who’s the best?’ question has some evidence on which to provide an answer.
No doubt though the super-welterweight division in Britain is alive and kicking.