Diplomatic exchanges are not normally associated with boxing but those that have been taking place between the long-estranged governments of the United States and Cuba may have a dramatic effect on the sport's future.

The indications are that the apparent thawing of relationships between the two countries following talks between Barack Obama and Raul Castro may result in the lifting of travel and work restrictions which have prohibited many great stars of Cuban sport from turning professional, most notably in boxing.
Deontay Wilder's brilliant acquisition of the WBC heavyweight championship makes heavyweight boxing a whole new brawl game, both in the ring and outside the ropes.

The lopsided victory of the charismatic clouter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, over holder Bermane Stiverne not only brings an long-awaited American renaissance for the sport's flagship division but cements the emergence of a new behind-the-scenes power-broker in world boxing.
Being knocked unconscious is an unpleasant experience in any sport, whether it is in the ring or on the playing field. We have been hearing a lot about the effects of concussion on rugby players and I believe there is much to be learned from the way boxing deals with the problem of serious head injuries and the possible after-effects.
The bad news for 2015 is that the mega-fight the public have waited for too long, between Floyd Mayweather Jnr. and Manny Pacquiao, which was closer to reality, now looks like it won't happen. More bad news is that Audley Harrison intends to make a comeback.

At 43, he says he wants just one more shot so that he can go out on a high. The danger is he is more likely to go out on a stretcher. Especially if he gets his wish to face fellow British Olympic super-heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The past 12 months have seen the public regain a healthy appetite for boxing and I predict 2015 will be the year of the hungry heavyweights, with the ring's juggernauts restoring the glitz and glory of the division on which the fight game's history largely rests.  The New Year heralds a new dawn for big men and big punchers.

What's more, the Yanks are coming - again. At last, after years of heavyweight humiliation at the hands of the family Klitschko, they believe they have unearthed a rough diamond, a real gem rather than just another hapless contender.
After the fistic fiesta that was 2014 finally draws to its close, it's time to announce my highly unofficial annual gongs.
The fact that Carl Froch was the sole fistic representative in the top ten listed for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award does not truly reflect boxing's remarkable renaissance in 2014.

Few sports have experienced such a huge surge in popularity, both in participation and numbers of spectators packing venues from small provincial halls to stadiums including Wembley, London's O2 and ExCel, as well as those in Manchester, Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow.
Amir Khan seems confident that victory over Devon Alexander in Las Vegas tonight will earn him a mega-bucks showdown with the Money Man himself, Floyd Mayweather Jnr., next year. I am not so sure.

Khan may consider this non-title welterweight 12 rounder at the MGM Grand a dress rehearsal for the big production number but fickle Floyd always directs his own show and picks the leading man.  It is by no means certain that Khan figures so highly on his to-be-hit list especially while the possibility of the match-up the world has awaited for so long, Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao, edges closer to reality.
Billy Joe Saunders has fulfilled what I have believed since I first signed him after the Beijing Olympics as one of the most talented young prospects in the land – that he would make history by becoming the first Romany to win a prized Lonsdale Belt outright. Now, after retaining his European and Commonwealth middleweight titles in that humdinger of a scrap with Chris Eubank Jnr, he can go on to complete a remarkable ring double by being the first from Britain's fight-loving Travelling community to win a world title.

I was delighted with his performance against his final remaining domestic rival at the ExCel last weekend. He showed that not only does he have grit, resilience and a great chin, but he can dig deep when it matters. And that's what makes champions. He can now go on to face the elite fighters in the division with confidence – and he is certainly not short of that.
Chris Eubank Jnr has got used to being labelled a dad's lad but the last thing you'd want to call Dereck Chisora - to his face anyway - is a mummy's boy. Yet his mother Viola has played as crucial a role in her boy's career as the idiosyncratic former world champion has in that of his own pugilistic progeny.

Del Boy and Eubank the younger follow each other into the ring at London's sold-out ExCel on Saturday night in their respective  blockbuster British and European title fights against heavyweight challenger Tyson Fury and middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

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