By Michael Mulvey @mulveyboxing
With an abundance of undefeated professional boxers throughout the UK, British boxing is clearly booming heading into 2019. However, some of the talented fighters will inevitably lose their unbeaten records as they take necessary risks to progress; each fight likely bring better opposition, placing unblemished records at high risk.
Current undefeated British fighters include: World IBF, WBA Super, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua; WBO Super-Bantamweight Champion, Isaac Dogboe and IBF Feathwerweight Champion, Josh Warrington.
There are huge domestic dust-ups scheduled and likely before the end of 2018 for instance Josh Warrington defending his IBF Title against fellow British fighter, Carl Frampton. Undefeated British fighter, Billy Joe Saunders is also scheduled to defend his WBO Middleweight title against Demetrius ‘booboo’ Andrade on October 20, 2018. Looking further on though, allow me to speculate…
Anthony Yarde (16 – 0 – 0, 15 KO)
‘The Beast’ Anthony Yarde has developed a feared reputation throughout Britain as he continues his undefeated professional career that has seen fifteen knockout victories to date. The heavy-handed twenty-seven-year old light-heavyweight seems like an unstoppable force, with only one contest lasting the scheduled distance; a four-rounder in his second fight.
But how good is Anthony Yarde? He has not been fully tested, and after only competing in twelve amateur contests, vital questions remain unanswered. The hype can only be believed when Yarde faces established opposition. Heclearly carries devastating power, often expressed through flashy pad-work published online. The only problem with that is, even though it looks impressive on social media, pads do not hit back.
The chin durability of Yarde simply has not been tested yet, so there remains a sense of uncertainty about him. When he faces an aggressive fighter, with strength and power, we will know if Yarde can effectively take a shot; ‘Sometimes it’s not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forwards.’
Despite Yarde possessing an impressive aesthetical physique, it must be remembered that ‘you can not put muscle on your chin.’
In order to become an elite fighter, Yarde must first prove he is the best in Britain. Potential 2019 British fights include Callum Johnson, Frank Buglioni and Joshua Buatsi. Yarde will have then earned the right to target international fighters including Badou Jack and Adonis Stevenson.
Joshua Buatsi (7 – 0 – 0) he only turned professional in 2017, but he is definitely the more experienced fighter. Compared to Yarde’s twelve amateur contests, Buatsi competed at the highest international level, achieving a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The amateur pedigree and boxing ability of Buatsi would certainly cause Yarde problems and would test him to levels he has not experienced. Therefore, I believe Buatsi would defeat Yarde, ruining his undefeated record in 2019.
Anthony Joshua (21 – 0 – 0, 20 KO)
Now this choice may come as a surprise to many boxing supporters. ‘AJ’ Anthony Joshua faces Alexander Povetkin on September 22, 2018. If Joshua overcomes Povetkin, he is likely to face the winner of Tyson Fury (27 – 0 – 0) versus Deontay Wilder (40 – 0 – 0) in a unification contest. If Fury overcomes Wilder, a battle of the undefeated British boxers beckons; someone’s ‘0’ has got to go.
I believe a fully-fit Fury would win against Joshua; his awkward, loose style would likely trouble Joshua who contrastingly, despite his serious power, is rather robotic. Whether Joshua remains undefeated largely depends on who he fights. But eventually he will be forced to face Wilder or Fury to defend his status as the best heavyweight on the planet. That potential fight is likely in 2019, risking Joshua’s undefeated record massively.
Khalid Yafai (24 – 0 – 0, 15 KO)
Khalid Yafai is the current WBA World Super Flyweight Titlist, maintaining an impressive undefeated record. Stand-out victories for the Birmingham man include Luis Conception in 2016 and a seventh-round stoppage over Mexican, David Carmona in May 2018.
Yafai has two choices; he can remain at Super Flyweight, aiming to dominate the division and become unified champion, or he can move up a division to Bantamweight. Potential fights at super-flyweight include WBC Champion, Srisaket Rungvisai (46 – 4 – 1); IBF Champion, Jerwin Ancajas (30 – 1 – 1) or former champion, Roman Gonzalez (46 -2 – 0).
Similar to super flyweight, there is fierce competition within the world bantamweight division, with potential match-ups that would significantly threaten Yafai. The ‘Monster’ from Japan, Naoya Inoue (16 – 0 – 0) recently moved up to Bantamweight and destroyed Jamie McDonell inside the first round, forcing a stoppage victory in May 2018. A challenge to face Inoue for his WBA Bantamweight Title is very dangerous for Yafai. Other elite bantamweights include Ryan Burnett (19 – 0 – 0) or Zolani Tete (27 – 3 – 0). A fight against the best super-flyweights or bantamweights in the world may prove to be a step too far, jeopardizing Yafai’s coveted undefeated record.
Ultimately, such is the calibre of the opposition these three British boxers will be facing, they are the most likely to lose their undefeated records in 2019 in my opinion. Though, that is not to say they can not come back from a loss or that they couldn’t stretch their impressive records even further, such is the beauty of this sport.