Home Boxing News 2014 A Great Year For Welsh Boxing

2014 A Great Year For Welsh Boxing

2014 has been an active and sometimes turbulent year for Welsh boxing. We’ve seen the comeback of Nathan Cleverly, in pursuit of becoming a two-weight World champion. A comeback that turned sour, when he dropped a twelve-round decision to bitter rival Tony Bellew in Liverpool. Fan favourite Gavin Rees served up two entertaining fights with Gary Buckland and announced his retirement from the sport; that saw him crowned WBA Light Welterweight champion back in July 2007.

Rees’ stable-mate Enzo Maccarinelli, saw his dreams of winning the WBA Light Heavyweight title dashed due to an horrendous eye injury, in his challenge to defending champion Juergen Braehmer in Germany.

Lee Selby had another great year and is leading the Welsh charge to World honours, as he is now in-line to fight ‘El Ruso Mexicano’ Evgeny Gradovich in 2015, for the IBF Featherweight crown.

Here are some of the prospects that remained unbeaten and flew the flag for Wales in 2014, and will continue the march up the rankings in 2015.

Liam Williams – 12-0-1, 7 KOs

The 22-year-old light middleweight found himself competing in the lower 154lbs weight class and travelled to Germany, to face Portugal’s Yuri Pompilio on the undercard of Maccarinelli vs Juergen Braehmer. It was a polished display by Williams who became the first to stop the tricky

journeyman, in the eighth and final round. He followed that up with a career best performance in dominating, and stopping, fellow prospect Ronnie Heffron, in a fight that made the British boxing fraternity sit-up and take notice. The best kept secret in South East Wales had finally captured the imagination of Boxnation and the fight press, with a fast, powerful and skilful display.

The youngster from Clydach Vale followed the victory up with two quick, powerful performances against Stephan Horvath and Michael Lomax. The crushing win over Lomax bringing Commonwealth title honours.

Now the mandatory for the British title, held by Liam Smith – 2015 promises to be an eventful year that will surely solidify Liam’s position as one of the best young talents in the UK, under the watchful eye of trainer Gary Lockett.

Chris Jenkins – 16-0, 8 KOs

The Prizefighter Light-Welterweight champion has maintained his winning running but has been frustrated. Talent and winning doesn’t always bring the rewards, as Jenkins found-out when a fight with Tom Stalker fell through because his opponent wanted an easier route.

The year started off well with a solid ten-round points victory over tough Frenchman Christopher Sebire; the win netted Jenkins the WBC International title. Two eastern European imports, Asan Yuseinov and Jacek Wylezol both found-out, to their cost, the impressive body punching of the Cwmgor’s boxer while Nicaragua’s Miguel Aguilar couldn’t compete with the skills and precision of Jenkins lightening attacks, losing in the seventh round.

2015 finally sees Chris Jenkins get his big opportunity, when on the 23rd of January at the Phones 4u Arena, Manchester he gets a crack at experienced campaigner Willie Limond for the British title. In 42 fights, Limond has only lost to the best like Amir Khan and Erik Morales and is riding high on recently beating Curtis Woodhouse.

The 26-year-old Jenkins will need all of his guile, ability and speed to beat Limond and is more than capable of taking the British belt back to Swansea.

Craig Kennedy – 10-0, 5 KOs

‘The Kid’ was only out three times in 2014 and once again a Welsh title fight avoided him, with opponents pulling out. The year started with a solid display against durable Moses Matovu, in a bout that brought with it the British Masters Bronze cruiserweight title. Lithuanian Remigijus Ziausys, was out-boxed and outclassed in Merthyr Tydfil. It would be the leisure centre in the famous fight town that would be the scene for Kennedy’s biggest fight – against colourful contender Wadi Camacho. Wadi packs power with fist and mouth but instead of talking; it was a bite that

brought a controversial and disappointing end, in the second round. The fight was competitive, while it lasted, and the disqualification stopped Kennedy from being able to showcase his pedigree.

But, often controversy brings more publicity and ‘The Kid’ is now known on the British scene which should bring more challenges in a packed division.

The 29-year-old will now look to push up the rankings, in the hope of getting a British title-shot by 2016.

Craig Evans – 13-0, 3KOs

The talented southpaw from Blackwood, scored points wins over France’s Dame Seck and Scotland’s Ronnie Clark but will have wanted to have been more active. The clear victory over prospect ‘The Shark’ Clark grabbing the attention and the victory should mean a much busier and productive year for the 25-year-old Evans. The Tony Borg trained prospect’s talent deserves to be competing on the British stage and beyond.

Promoted by Frank Warren and a stable-mate of Lee Selby, 2015 should now bring more opportunities for Evans.