By Alan Hubbard
With a little luck and some shrewd judgement – hopefully from some equally shrewd judges – Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren is about to register a unique double. Several of his top guns are in contention for British boxing’s supreme awards of the year – Boxer of the Year and Best Young Boxer.
Both heavyweight Tyson Fury and featherweight Josh Warrington are in joint pole position for the British Boxing Board of Control’s annual award to be made later this month while heavyweight Daniel Dubois, newly established as British heavyweight champion, is set to be nominated by the Boxing Writers Club as their Best Young Boxer at their prestigious Savoy hotel dinner in October.
The Queensbury men have caught the eye this year – as well as their opponents’ chins. The 31-year-old Fury’s rehabilitation in the ring and out has been been high among the most outstanding aspects of the sport in 2019. This is underscored by his fabulous performance against WBC champion Deontay Wilder, an enthralling encounter which he clearly won yet was awarded only a highly dubious draw. He is undoubtedly a leading contender for the senior award.
However he has a serious rival in stablemate Warrington, the 28-year-old IBF world champion who many felt should have won last year but was pipped by another Josh, Scottish super-lightweight Josh Taylor. It so happened that Warrington’s terrific victory over Carl Frampton came last December after the awards had been decided earlier in the year otherwise popular Warrington, the ever-aggressive Leeds Warrior might well have nicked it from his forenamesake and that other Joshua, AJ. Fortunately the Frampton win plus his conquest of Kid Galahad are eligible for this year.
It will be a tough decision for the adjudicators, drawn from Boxing News journalists and Board representatives, with WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith also in with a shout.
Not quite so tough though will be the choice of Dubois as Best Young Boxer whose dispatch of another Queensberry man Nathan Gorman to clinch the British title after only a dozen fights was literally stunning. Dynamite Dan, just 22, seems head, shoulders and fists above other contenders.
I have been a club member for over 50 years, and a former chairman and he is certainly getting my vote.
With so much at stake it is vital that Warrens wonders ,all unbeaten do not slip up in their forthcoming fistic engagements: Fury is first up on Saturday week in Paradise, Nevada against Sweden’s undefeated EBU champion Otto Wallin, a 6ft 6in southpaw; Dubois follows on Friday 27 September seeking to add the Commonwealth crown to his Lonsdale Belt at the Royal Albert Hall against Ghana’s similarly unbeaten Ebenezer Tetteh and on 12 October at his hometown First Direct Arena in Leeds Warrington defends his IBF title against Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht.
Here’s wishing them the very Best of British…
WITH TYPICAL SKYPERBOLE one of the TV channel’s plethora of pundits described Vasiliy Lomachenko as “the greatest fighter of all time.” Really? Look, there is no doubt the super-slick Ukrainian’s technical skills are way, way above any other current boxer in the universe. But can any fighter be the greatest of all time after only 15 contests?
Better than Sugar Ray Leonard or Sugar Ray Robinson? Better than Henry Armstrong? Better than Marvin Hagler? Better than Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Better than Manny Pacquiao? Better than Joe Louis? And, come on, is he really better than Muhammad Ali, still truly The Greatest in my book?
I’m not saying that one day he might well be. As his octogenarian promoter Bob Arum sagely says he is up there among them but not quite yet top of the pile .Certainly his ring nous is astonishing and his footwork seems as if it has pirouetted out from the Royal Ballet.
I did think he was a tad below is usually breathtaking best against the taller fellow southpaw Luke Campbell, who fought courageously if defensively.
But let’s not be churlish. In Loma we are witnessing boxing’s Rocketman, a superstar in ascendancy and one who is never likely to require the assistance of e VAR (soon I predict to be adopted by the Board here after the Charlie Edwards controversy) to put a yet another W after his name in Boxrec.