The British Boxing Board of Control have announced their nominees for fighter of the year 2018/2019.
Below we have listed each individual who has been nominated and discussed their credentials for the award.
1) Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KO’s)
‘The Tartan Tornado’ has enjoyed a stellar year having claimed his first World title. Taylor entered the super lightweight World Boxing Super Series and halted previously unbeaten American Ryan Martin in November 2018, before overcoming Ivan Baranchyk in May to claim the IBF belt.
Victory over the latter also means Taylor has reached the Ali Trophy final where he will face WBA title holder Regis Prograis at a date and venue yet to be announced.
The Scot was awarded the BBBofC’s fighter of the year last year following a hugely successful breakout year in front of the TV cameras, and will hope to make it a repeat victory in 2019.
2) Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KO’s)
The super middleweight powerhouse successfully overcame George Groves in the 168lbs World Boxing Super Series final to win the WBA ‘Super’ World title, the Ring Magazine belt and the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Smith is now regarded as the number one super middleweight on the planet, and successfully defended his WBA and ‘Ring’ Magazine titles with a third round TKO of Hassan N’Dam on the Joshua-Ruiz undercard in June.
Though Smith is yet to announce his next opponent, it is thought the 6ft 3″ Liverpudlian giant will soon look to move up in weight – meaning he will have to seek unification bouts sooner rather than later.
3) Tyson Fury (28-0-1, 20 KO’s)
Mercurial lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury returned to the ring last year after a two-and-a half-year hiatus from the sport.
After a couple of ‘warm-up’ fights against low-key opposition, Fury would once again gatecrash the world scene in spectacular fashion when he travelled to Los Angeles to face WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. The end result was a hugely controversial split-decision draw with many feeling ‘The Gypsy King’ should have been named the victor, having survived an iconic, earth-shattering twelfth round knockdown.
In the wake of his dramatic draw with Wilder, Fury has since returned to America in June to halt the previously unbeaten Tom Schwarz in two rounds in his glitzy Las Vegas debut.
With many expecting his next bout to come against Sweden’s Otto Wallin in September, Fury will hope to come through unscathed ahead of a money-spinning return bout with ‘The Bronze Bomber’ in early 2020.
4) Charlie Edwards (15-1, 6KO’s)
Edwards’ profile has risen dramatically over the past 12 months after he dethroned WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales on an emotional night at The O2 Arena in December 2018. Having previously failed in his first World title attempt, Edwards made no mistake second time round, recording a comfortable unanimous decision victory over the Nicaraguan puncher, making a mockery of pre-fight oddsmakers that had Edwards a sizeable underdog.
Since capturing World title glory, Edwards made a successful first defence against former sparring partner Angel Moreno in March, and recently announced he will face mandatory challenger Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar on the Lomachenko-Campbell undercard at the end of August.
5) Josh Warrington (29-0, 6 KO’s)
‘Leeds Warrior’ Josh Warrington has enjoyed a stellar twelve months in the sport.
After capturing the IBF World featherweight crown by routing former titleholder Lee Selby at Elland Road in May 2018, Warrington would produce an equally-impressive performance in outpointing two-weight World champion Carl Frampton in December.
So far in 2019, Warrington has recorded a close – and in some quarters controversial – split decision victory over bitter Yorkshire rival and mandatory challenger Kid Galahad back in June. In an ugly affair that was marred by holding and spoiling, Warrington would eke out the win in-front of his home fans, and will return to the ring against unheralded Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht in on October 12.
After a pair of tricky defences in Frampton and Galahad, Warrington will look to deal with Takoucht in a relatively routine fashion, before eyeing the blockbuster unification bouts that have so far eluded him at the back end of 2019.
6) Kal Yafai (26-0, 15KO’s)
Britain’s longest reigning World champion has defended his WBA World super flyweight title twice in the past nine months – and five times since claiming the belt against Luis Concepcion in 2016.
The Birmingham man has previously expressed his desire to unify with the division’s other champions, and he will hope his next fight will see him square off against one of the super flyweight roster’s leading names.
Talk of a potential bout with former pound-for-pound kingpin Roman Gonzalez still lingers, while a potential unification bout against WBC title holder Juan Francisco Estrada gathered pace following the Mexican’s decision to sign with Matchroom Boxing.
Article by: Andi Purewal
Follow Andi on Twitter at: @andipurewal