On Saturday Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton tallied a unanimous points victory over Kiko Martinez to claim his first world title. The newly-crowned IBF Super Bantamweight champion, who scored the bout’s only knock-down when he felled Martinez to the canvas in the fifth round, has with this victory added himself to the significant pool of British talent prevalent in world boxing.
Frampton, coached by Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan, unleashed a barrage on the resilient Spaniard in their second meeting, the first similarly won by Frampton with a 9th round KO. Demonstrating the well-rounded, comprehensive nature of his boxing style, combining McGuigan’s penchant for swarming forward into close quarters with considered and accurate distance work, Frampton maintained his unbeaten record of 19 wins, 13 by knockout. Quick to set his sights on unification, Frampton called for a chance with WBA champion Scott Quigg, evidently ambitious to stake his claim as the frontrunner of his division.
A clear talent even in his amateur days, Frampton first emerged when, representing Ireland, he took the flyweight silver medal at the 2007 EU Amateur Boxing Championships in Dublin. Like Frampton it is these amateur international contests in which many of Britain’s brightest boxing talents have shone, none more so than the 2012 London Olympics. Alongside the landmark victory of Nicola Adams, the first Olympic gold medallist in female boxing, Team GB also saw gold medals for Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua.
The first of the men’s victories, Campbell won out over Ireland’s John Joe Nevin in a tightly-contested bout, scoring 14 successful contacts to the head or upper body to his opponent’s 11. Awarded an MBE for his efforts, Campbell turned professional shortly after, and began his career with a debut victory over Andy Harris in his home town of Hull with a first round TKO. He repeated the feat with another first round victory in his second fight on the substantially grander stage of the O2. His impressive form continued, including becoming the first to stop Scott Moises and a successful move abroad when he overcame American Steve Trumble in Carson, California, before he announced a break to his boxing career following his father’s diagnosis with cancer.
Campbell’s Team GB colleague and fellow recipient of an MBE, Anthony Joshua has impressed in the heavyweight division since turning professional, with a string of seven consecutive victories, none of which have lasted longer than two rounds. Joshua appears set for a highly successful career, with an effective combination of power and speed reminiscent of British boxing legend Lennox Lewis, who has publicly endorsed Joshua, going as far as suggesting he might be the first man to become Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World since Lewis himself in April 2000. Requiring the unification of all four available titles (WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF), one more than was necessary for Lewis after the WBO was officially recognised in 2007, while it would be a herculean task for Joshua with his set of skills it nevertheless appears achievable.
Furthermore, the 24 year old may only have a short wait for the first of the four titles needed after being presented with a chance for the vacant WBC title in October. The bout with Russia’s Dennis Bakhtov, a full ten years older than Joshua, comes under a month after Joshua’s meeting with Konstantin Airich, such is the confidence of the young Briton, who will total nine matches in just over a year including this opportunity for a first championship. Bakhtov, in comparison, aims to enter the ring for the first time since October 2013.
Adding to the ranks of successful British boxers, already swelled with the presence of super middleweight champion Carl Froch and Amir Khan, who remains hopeful of a title with welterweight unified champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., the likes of Frampton, Campbell and Joshua find themselves in esteemed company. With bright futures ahead of all three, and Joshua potentially joining Frampton as a world title holder, British boxing appears certain to continue to build on its successes.
How might Joshua further his progress and achieve his full potential?