The British Boxing Scene Going into 2024
Tyson Fury’s Uncertain Performances
After Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder in their third match, the narrative was supposed to be that he could handsomely call himself the best heavyweight in the world by defending his championships against multiple eager and worthy challengers. He still is the world champion, but his opposition hasn’t been top-tier quality, and he was seldom convincing in his non-title fight against non-boxer Francis Ngannou, which made trending boxing news at the time. Finally, Fury is going into 2024 finally with a worthy adversary in a unifying heavyweight championship match against Oleksandr Usyk. Fury still commands droves of respect in the British boxing scene but needs a win to cement his legacy.
The Rebuilding of Anthony Joshua
After his two consecutive losses to Oleksandr Uysk, Anthony Joshua has had to rebuild his career from the ground up. His opponents, much like Tyson Fury’s, have lacked that distinction of being top-class boxers, as the elites within the heavyweight division have avoided one another for an extended period. Joshua will fight on the blockbuster ‘Day of Reckoning’ card, where he will fight Otto Wallin. While it’s a step in the right direction after beating Robert Helenius, given that Deontay Wilder is in the same building, it seems daft and slightly evasive that Joshua wouldn’t fight him.
Terri Harper Grinds Out Results at Super-Welterweight
When Terri Harper was defeated by Alycia Baumgardner and lost her featherweight title, there was concern that the British boxer wouldn’t be able to come back from the knockout loss. The pride of Doncaster re-invented herself first as a lightweight fighter, winning an intercontinental title and then succeeding in the super-welterweight division. Harper has ambitions of becoming one of the elite boxers, not just in the British ranks. She fought Cecilia Brækhus in October 2023, where judges ruled it a draw. A draw with the First Lady of Boxing isn’t bad by any means, but Harper will want to enrich her resume with a victory over the Norwegian soon.
Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington to Continue Rivalry
The two cities of Leeds and Nottingham might not share too much animosity, being more than 80 miles away from one another. Some ardent Yorkshiremen may still hold a grudge owing to the mining disagreements back in the 1980s. However, the more likely source of bitterness and rivalry between the cities can be attributed to the sporting contests between Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington.
Nottingham’s finest, Wood, defeated Warrington via KO back in October 2023 to retain the WBA Featherweight Championship. The build-up to the first fight was amicable as both boxers respected one another owing to their similar rise within the scene. Since then, the Leeds Warrior has been vocal about his loss, which has irked Wood. Matchroom has been rumored to be in talks with both parties about a re-match taking place at the City Ground, the home of Wood’s beloved Nottingham Forest.
Ellie Scotney is Impressive at 8-0
One of the brightest stars in British boxing right now is the female bantamweight, Ellie Scotney. She won the IBF super bantamweight title back in June 2023 by defeating the much more experienced Cherneka Johnson. Scotney would then go to defend it against the veteran, Laura Soledad Griffa. Hopefully, for British boxing fans, she will continue to succeed and defeat her fellow divisional champions, Mayerlin Rivas, Yamileth Mercado, and Débora Dionicius and remain undefeated.
Could Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr Finally Fight in 2024?
Nigel Benn and the original Chris Eubank had a storied rivalry in the 1990s, which captivated British boxing fans back then. Both men became fathers to sons who followed in their footsteps to become professional boxers, albeit with Chris Eubank Jr being a few years older than Conor Benn. A fight between the two sons was always on the cards, even if not an immediate draw. With Eubank meandering and Benn rising, the bout looked like a revival of the feud between the two surnames back in October 2022, that was until Benn was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance in the build-up to the fight.
Benn is still subject to hazy regulations. While his promoter, Eddie Hearn, had him fight in the US, the British boxing authorities were not best pleased that the parties circumvented their ruling by fighting outside of the UK. Some parties and boxing news sites have called for the fight between Eubank and Benn to take place in 2024, but this will be difficult if Benn has no license to fight in the UK. Eubank would probably be unwilling to fight elsewhere to accommodate Benn, given the rivalry between the two.
Is the UK Losing too Many Fights to Saudi Arabia?
Classically, British boxers always revered the roar of a home crowd. Football match energy would bellow when the hometown heroes entered the arena, whether to fight another Briton or a visiting fighter from overseas. Going to America to fight was a necessity to fight on luxurious cards, and given the lineage that both New York City and Las Vegas have with the sport, it’s natural that British boxers want ‘to break America.’
Yet, in today’s boxing landscape, many British fighters are fighting on cards held in Saudi Arabia, which makes online boxing news for multiple reasons. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have both fought multiple fights over there and are planning to do so again before fighting in front of their nation. While these cards can be extremely profitable for the fighters and their staff, it begs the question of whether British boxing is losing some of its identity if the biggest fighters are taking flights out to compete in front of other audiences.
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