By Neil Leverett
- Britwatch Sports takes a look back at the 2018 sporting year
- Tyson Fury catapults himself back into the main event picture
- Britain’s Anthony Joshua overcomes tricky year to remain undisputed World champion
- Long-standing feud between Kell Brook and Amir Khan comes to a head
BOXING – Britwatch Sports looks back on 2018 in Boxing, as the heavyweight division continues to grow, Anthony Joshua remains undisputed and undefeated, whilst Brook-Khan bout hovers on horizon
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Fury fires back onto heavyweight scene
As former champion, Tyson Fury‘s comeback on the boxing scene in 2018 was nothing less than stunning, even with just three fights under his belt since his well-documented return after mental health issues.
The 30-year-old Manchester fighter has his many critics and doubters, but after a potential heavyweight unification fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua failed to be agreed, Fury stepped in to throw a spanner in the works.
As the two met to close out a spectacular year in the sport, a Los Angeles showdown in the shadow of Hollywood lived up to its’ billing to the equivalent of a movie classic. Fury looked in the shape of his career, and thought controversially denied the regaining of his former belt via a draw after a dramatic 12th-round knockdown, Fury had won a lot of new fans and silenced many of his nay-sayers.
Whilst a rematch swirls in the near future, the same man who struggled to enjoy life and on some days have the motivation to keep living, returned to the scene in emphatic fashion and will undoubtedly have a big say in the title picture in 2019.
Joshua overcomes Povetkin test to hold throne
Away from the WBC champion Wilder, the reigning IBF, WBA and WBO title-holder Joshua continued his dominance over the past 12 months, whilst waiting for his career-defining fight against the ‘Bronze Bomber’.
The Briton may have only added two fights to his resume, but after a unanimous points win over WBO holder Joseph Parker in March, Joshua’s reputation grew across the globe. With the New Zealander disposed of however, came Joshua’s biggest to date under the bright lights of Wembley Stadium against Alexander Povetkin.
As the mandatory challenger to Joshua crown, the Russian came into the contest undefeated, having knocked out David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard on the same night in Cardiff.
The fight was a real test of his credentials, but after negotiating an awkward first four rounds with some heavy punishment, Joshua stepped up his game and went through the gears before stopping the Russian in Round 7 to retain his titles.
Joshua states he now wants the Wilder fight with Wembley again booked out tentatively for an historic unification title fight on April 13, but the status of Fury together with a circling Dillian Whyte wanting his title shot after knocking out Dereck Chisora earlier this month, together with the brash Jarrell Miller and Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk looking to move up a division, has further muddied the waters.
One thing is certain though; If 2018 was a vintage heavyweight boxing year, 2019 could be an epic one.
Brook-Khan bout on horizon
After months and years of a heated feud, it seems a fight between two bitter rivals could now happen. After the fall from grace to some extent of both Kell Brook and Amir Khan, their return to the limelight of late has seen rumours gather pace.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has in the last few days stated to BoxingNews24 that Khan should opt to fight Khan, adding that the Bolton boxer ‘wants to fight Brook’, but that the dangling carrot of a title fight with IBF welterweight champion Terrence Crawford in Las Vegas is quite the temptation.
A fight years in the making took a major step closer after both men picked up losses in the last two years – Khan beaten by KO against Canelo Alvarez, whilst Brook lost twice, to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr.
Those three defeats combined have forced both men to re-assess their remaining career years, and after Brook laboured to a points win over Michael Zerafa last month, Khan may now see his chances of coming out on top and more favourable. There is still a little way to go make this fight happen, but 2019 could also see one of the biggest nights in British boxing history.
Boxing continues throughout 2019, with Wembley Stadium set to stage its’ next event on April 13.
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