The best of British heavyweight battles

The best of British heavyweight battles

Published On Friday, June 28, 2019By Sean Bastow

BBN look back at the best of British heavyweight battles in recent history

Sean Bastow writes: Over the years Britain has seen some of the best domestic heavyweight clashes, and on July 13th Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman go head to head for the right to be the British heavyweight champion.

This fight has been brewing for some time with both fighters having been touted by fans and promoters alike as the next generation of the heavyweight division.

In this article we explore some of the most notable British heavyweight domestic dust ups that have set the precedent for the upcoming Dubois vs Gorman bout.

Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno
October 1st 1993

Lewis was making the second defence of his WBC title when facing off against Bruno, a former titleholder of the green and gold belt, who was competing in his third world title bout, having been beaten in his previous two battles with Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson.

The historical fight was going to be the first time that two British born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title, although in the build up to the fight Bruno had questioned how British Lennox Lewis really was given the fact he had won an Olympic gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Olympic games.

“Lewis is not British," the lieable Londoner taunted.

“He calls himself champion. He acts like he's a Sugar Ray Leonard or a Willie Pep or a Joe Louis.

"Nobody cares about Lennox Lewis in Britain."

Lewis was not going to shy away from the taunts of Bruno and fired back with facts, "Look, I've fought more British fighters than that guy has. He makes a fool of himself, dressing up in girl's clothing on television."

Lennox Lewis would go on stop Frank Bruno in seven rounds after what was a back and forth battle with Lewis eventually staggering Bruno with a looping left hook leading to referee Mickey Vann stepping in.

 

Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora I
10th December 2016

In 2016 bitter London rivals Dillian Whyte & Dereck Chisora was to meet for Whyte’s British heavyweight crown.

In the build up the fight the two colourful characters had been trading insults back and forth over social media leading to a public demand for the fight between the pair to take place.

The hype of the bout continued into the press conference where Whyte provoked Chisora by claiming he would attack Chisora anytime he would see him after the fight, which sent Chisora into an angry rage leading to him picking up a table and throwing in the direction of Whyte narrowly missing everyone in close proximity. Whyte's trainer Mark Tibbs was equally entertaining, not even flinching a bit as the table was hurtling towards him, casually calling Chisora names after his display of anger failed to ruffle his feathers.

As a result, this left to the British Boxing Board of Control to withdraw its sanction of the British title from the bout and instead Whyte’s WBC international title was at stake only.

During filming for Sky’s 'The Gloves Are Off', Whyte and Chisora were involved in verbal sparring which culminated in a brawl taking place on the set, which was shared unceasingly on social media. Even behind the cameras footage was released to prove that this bad blood was real.

Dillian Whyte would go on to beat Chisora in an enthralling 12 round battle, which was arguably the best bout of 2016, via a split decision, which fans still argue over today, and eventually led to a rematch in 2018 which Whyte won comprehensively via knockout in round 11.

 

David Haye vs Tony Bellew
4th March 2017

Another social media beef, another epic fight as a esult.

After fulfilling his dream of becoming a world champion, WBC cruiserweight champ Tony Bellew then set his sights on David Haye and the heavyweight division.

After defending his WBC cruiserweight title for the first against BJ Flores, Bellew who already had been involved in verbal sparring with David Haye on social media, noticed that Haye was working ringside for the Sky broadcast and in the aftermath of stopping Flores (who is a good friend of Haye) he decided to set his sights straight on Haye, learning over the ropes and trying to get to Haye.

In the post-fight interview Bellew claimed he could beat David Haye and was willing to move up to heavyweight to face him.

At first, the overwhelming opinion was that Everton FC fan Bellew had never felt the full force of a heavyweight blow before and that the fight with former heavyweight world champion Haye would be over in a matter of minutes. As soon as the Hayemaker lands, it's lights out for the 'Bomber'.

In the first press conference during the traditional face-off, words were exchanged before Haye threw a quick left hook which caught Bellew before a scuffle ensued between the two camps, bringing more genuine bad blood in the lead up to the fight.

No one gave Bellew a chance, everyone bet against him at the bookies, but the Liverpudlian went on to surprise everybody. In a fight where Haye was just a former shadow of himself, Bellew kept his distance, countered when the opportunity offered, and eventually stopped David Haye in the 11 and penultimate round after trainer Shane McGuigan threw in the towel.

Bellew was perhaps gifted the win after Haye suffered a horrific Achilles injury midway through the fight, causing him to stagger around the ring like a drunk. Despite the dramatic turn of events, Haye boxed awfully, swinging telegraphed punches around the air like a mad man. Bellew had no trouble evading the shots and showed off a calm composure against, arguably, the most dangerous fighter he had ever bee in with. However, the public weren't satisfied with the decision and wanted closure with a second showing.

The pair would meet again a year later with Haye convincing the public that he was better than ever and injury free, which was a complete falsehood. It was evident for all to see that he was still crocked, transferring all his weight to his other foot and Bellew managed to claim an empathic fifth round stoppage over a well past his prime, and still injured, Haye.

Everyone has a former great on their record, and Haye was Bellew's. However, Bellew was super sharp, boxed brilliantly, and took Haye out in hardy any time at all. He deserved all the plaudits for his career-best win.