The British light-heavyweight division is buzzing right now.
Callum Johnson is fighting Joe Smith JR. in the New Year for the WBO world title, with Anthony Yarde – fresh from his revenge win against previously unbeaten Lyndon Arthur – waiting in the wings to face the victor. Dan Azeez, meanwhile is the British champion after an impressive demolition of Hosea Burton, while 2016 Olympic bronze medal winner Joshua Buatsi is rated the domestic number one by Boxing Social.
With the likes of Craig Richards and Shakan Pitters also lurking in the U.K. top ten there are well-matched contests to be made wherever you look – but what is the ultimate all-U.K. contest that could be brokered at 175lbs? The Boxing Social team weigh in…
This is such a difficult question to answer because there are half a dozen fights you could make and no-one would complain. However, after his performance on Saturday versus Lyndon Arthur, I’d pick Anthony Yarde against Callum Johnson. It’s a possible world title fight but it also screams shoot-out to me. Johnson has often spoken of not getting paid for overtime, he’s heavy handed and mixing that with this new version of Yarde would give us a fight of the year contender. I’d tip Johnson because I think he carries the greater power and a world title win would do wonders for him. Thrilling prospect. But you could also say that Buatsi v Yarde, Buatsi v Johnson, Azeez v Richards and Smith v Buatsi would all be terrific contests. The British division is full of potential thrills and spills. I love it! – Shaun Brown
I’m going with perhaps the most obvious pick – Yarde versus Buatsi. The 2016 Olympian hasn’t fully convinced me yet in the pro ranks and I think a showdown with Yarde would provide both men with the perfect launch pad for possible assaults on a world title. Yarde has gone a long way to rehabilitating his reputation after his destruction last weekend of Arthur and Buatsi desperately needs a contest that can propel him from the fringes of public consciousness to the sporting mainstream. What’s not to like? I’d also love to see Dan Azeez versus Yarde – a fight that has war written all over it. – Luke G. Williams
I think the obvious answer (as mentioned by Luke) is the Buatsi v Yarde clash. A really interesting blend of styles and two guys that have found their way at fringe world title level walking different paths. Unfortunately, it’s probably a fight that won’t happen until one fighter switches promotional allegiances. So, give me Johnson v Yarde every weekend until that does come to fruition. Johnson is notoriously heavy handed, and if Yarde comes to destroy – as he did on Saturday – it’s a white-knuckle fight for the fans. Both guys throw enormous shots, and both have vulnerabilities which have been exposed at the top level. Yarde’s finessed boxing could prove the deciding factor, but Johnson, despite advancing years, hasn’t accrued much in terms of damage and hasn’t found himself in gruelling wars. You can’t lose if that fight is made – can you? – Craig Scott
Feature image: Frank Warren/Queensberry Promotions