British Heavyweight Contenders or Pretenders

Following on from Anthony Joshua’s routine victory over Raphael Love at the weekend, it posed a question in my mind as to whether British Heavyweights are True Brits or a load of s****.

There are certainly a fair few out there, but are they contenders or pretenders?

Too many people are quick to jump on bandwagons of a particular fighter only to be let down in the most extreme measure (David Haye’s abject performance against Wlad the most recent to speak of).  Is this the norm?  Are British Heavyweights so far behind the rest of the world that we just need to accept it?  Was Lennox Lewis (insert argument of whether he was British or not) as good as it was ever going to get?

Lets look at a rundown of the current top 4 and you can decide for yourselves.

British Heavyweight Contenders or Pretenders

1- Tyson Fury Tyson Fury is an incredibly likeable character and ticks quite a few boxes in regards to the Heavyweight division. He is tall (6’9″), undefeated, has a great knockout ratio, a solid background story (gypsy roots) and really good copy when it comes to press conferences.  He has never been afraid to tell an opponent that they are ‘gonna get knocked spark out’, and initially looked like the shot in the arm that British Heavyweight Boxing needed so badly. So why is he still looking for his first World Title Shot?  This is a bit of a difficult question. Firstly, he’s just not very good.  Even with all the tools at his disposal, he often comes into a match looking overweight, sluggish, and not particularly dynamic with little or no lateral movement.  The quality of opponent he has faced is a who’s who of bad records, journeymen, pumped up Cruiserweights and piss poor lumps that really don’t prepare you for anything.

If Fury does get his shot at Wladimir Klitschko, I doubt he will be able to last past the sixth round.  He simply doesn’t have the skills or ring savvy to live in that category so I’m afraid if we’re looking for a hero, this guy isn’t it.

2 – Anthony Joshua: As mentioned at the very beginning, a recent knockout victory has the British boxing loving public, foaming at the mouth at this fine specimen of a heavyweight fighter.  Fresh from Olympic Glory, the 6’6″ Joshua has mowed down every opponent he has faced as a pro, with ferocious power and a ruthlessness that has seen many tip him to be the next big thing.

When I look at Joshua, I see Frank Bruno.  He is big, muscular, fearless and raw. So dominating in appearance and humble in interviews that again, he appears to have the perfect package. Bruno racked up 21 straight wins before being unceremoniously knocked out by James Smith a big American bruiser who wasn’t particularly skilled, but like most Heavyweights, just needed one clean hit and I see Joshua going the same way.

When you step up from amateur, the best thing for you is to go in immediately with opponents who can feasibly beat you. The sooner you learn to take a hit without the headguard on, the better. This obviously is a risky strategy from a promoter, but if the confidence in a fighter is genuinely high, it should work itself out. As soon as Joshua steps up a level, I believe he’ll start to struggle.

3 – Dereck Chisora: Chisora started out as a pretty good story. He is an immigrant who loves Britain and loves Boxing.  From the mean streets of Finchley, ‘Del Boy’ comes out blasting with no respect for reputation or stature.

Respect goes to him for this, but when you look at how his record has been since he’s been put into the limelight, you can tell what is important to him. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to cream in the pound notes as quickly as you can, but the sport has definitely come second.  He is always looking a little flabby and never really doing the things that he was good at in the first place (working the jab, side stepping), he’s basically a draw if you’ve come off of a defeat and want to get back on track.

4 – David Price: Back to back defeats to an ageing Tony Thompson had everyone thinking that retirement was imminent.  Again like with Chisora, Price’s mentality seemed to be set on money and glory rather than the work needed to get there.  The first defeat was embarrassing as he was clearly unprepared and did not take his opponent seriously enough, the second was worse as he seemed to have the fight in his grasp only to let it slip away.

Since then, four wins against fairly robust opponents away from the glare of the media has me thinking that perhaps, David Price could still leave a mark on the division.

At 6’8″ and with a frame that could match up with a Klitschko, Price often packs a decent punch, has decent movement and in his last two fights, seems to have stepped up a level in stamina.  If anyone is going to de-throne Wladimir Klitschko, stamina will be the key as combating the ever popular jab, jab; grab is a long game if ever there was one.

I honestly think that if he stays on his current course, David Price could very well have something to offer a baying British public.

Out of the four fighters above, there is only one I can see achieving anything in the long term.  The legacy that Lennox Lewis left for British heavyweights is yet to be lived up to and wont be anytime soon me thinks.  David Haye’s brief foray into the division ended in disgrace and I cross everything that he doesn’t come back again shooting his mouth off only to be put firmly in his place.

The other David though, David Price I can see being the David to the Klitschko Goliath and maybe, just maybe bring some competition to that much coveted title(s).

Where would I go if I were him?  He’s at an age (31) where he needs now to go all in or bust out.  I’d be looking to fight someone like Bermane Stiverne who I think he’d have the beating of, then a Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and if all goes according to plan, move on to big Klitschko.

Obviously that is a career path built of yellow bricks and leading to a wizard, but if he wants it to happen, he’s gotta make it happen sooner rather than later.

Until next time, Stay Furious.