By: Oliver McManus
THE 2018/19 WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES will pit together some of the best super-lightweights from around the globe – including Maurice Hooker, Kiryl Relikh, Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit – in a bid to determine just who is the ultimate number one.
But look at the scene in Britain and you could almost create a domestic version of the Super Series with eight of the best super-lightweights from this country, alone! Let’s take a look at six of the best super lightweights from the United Kingdom (not including Ohara Davies or Josh Leather because I’ve already spoke about them LOADS);
Photo Credit: Josh Taylor Twitter Account
‘The Tartan Tornado’ as he’s known, Josh Taylor is the leading Brit in the 140lbs division and is in contention to fill one of the remaining slots in the WBSS but the toughest test of his career comes on June 23rd when he faces Viktor Postol in a career-defining fight.
Taylor has already swept his way to the top of the scene by winning the Commonwealth title in only his seventh bout before a thunderous victory over Ohara Davies – to claim the WBC Silver title – sent ripples around the globe.
Four successive knockout victories have established him as the powerhouse of the lighter division with a gritty flurry of punches capable of sending even the toughest of opponents into their shells. Light on his feet and explosive in the hands, the 27 year old is undoubtedly on the route to stardom and is already heralded as a living legend up in Scotland.
That fight against Viktor Postol will serve as a final eliminator for the WBC World title and Postol will provide him with the sternest test and the granite chin of the Ukrainian – toppled a mere once by, the pound-for-pound star, Terrence Crawford – will be an acid test as to whether the Scot is set for the big time.
One thing’s for sure – Josh Taylor is THE real deal.
This time last week Terry Flanagan was SUPPOSED to be a two-weight world champion, he was supposed to be too much for Maurice Hooker to handle. Boy did we get that wrong.
Make no mistake, though, Terry Flanagan still has a legitimate claim to being an elite super-lightweight despite his only fight in the division resulting in a loss. Flanagan was poor on June 9th but showed an incredible heart to recover from a gaping cut to the forehead early on before rallying back and pressuring Hooker.
The rematch looks unlikely with Hooker set to enter the 2018/19 WBSS and whilst Flanagan may have to wait another 12-18 months there are plenty of sensational fights – not least with fellow Brits – in which he can prove his credentials.
We all knew that Terry Flanagan is superb in terms of his technical ability and whilst he came unstuck against Hooker – the American had a nine inch reach advantage – he still managed to enforce a tactically-astute game-plan with terrific timing and the knowledge of when to step up the pressure and pin his opponent to the ropes.
A proven boxer in the lightweight division, super-light is the heaviest Flanagan will be able to go and retain at the top of his game – it may be good that the Mancunian seems to run under-the-radar as the next few fights will all be about developing his style to the slightly heavier division but when he’s on his game and got everything clicking, Flanagan will be unstoppable.
Catterall was being lined-up for a thrilling all British title clash with Flanagan but, evidently, that all went awry following Terry’s failure to capture the WBO crown. It would be ill-informed to suggest the career path of Catterall was dependent of the result of his more senior stablemate.
Outright Caterall is a top-15 Super Lightweight and there’s no doubt that he’ll be banging on the door of world title holders in the not-too-distant future and El Gato has worked his way up the hard way – opponent withdrawals and injuries have hampered his development.
Under the tutelage of, new trainer, Jamie Moore, however, Jack is looking invigorated and twice the fighter from beforehand; 21 fights into his career and still at the tender age of 24, it’s inevitable that Catterall still has his best fighting years ahead of him and with Moore in his corner then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to unlock all of his explosive potential.
I say explosive because the one thing all of Catterall’s opponents should be cautious of is his sickening body punches, which the Chorley resident has been utilising to maximum impact as of late.
Despite being so young Catterall is already a former British Champion having upset the odds to defeat Tyrone Nurse comfortably over 12 rounds despite many suggesting he was too inexperienced prior to the fight.
His next outing will be on June 30th as he steps in to fight Tyrone McKenna in Belfast in a battle of two undefeated fighters – with the WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight title on the line – who both have exciting futures. The winner will be able to push on and earn the right to call out the best of the world but what a fight we will witness that night – a barnstormer in Belfast.
You could be forgiven for thinking of Glenn Foot as the “forgotten man” but the Commonwealth Champion has been in the form of his life over the past since the turn of 2017 and has been bringing his A Game to all the big fights.
Heads turned in November of last year when he lost a narrow unanimous decision to Josh Leather in a contest that was for the IBF European title – expectations outside of the Foot camp were minimal with Leather expecting to convincingly conquer the former Prizefighter champion.
Foot took little notice of expectations, dropping Leather in the 2nd round and proving that he can NEVER be considered an under-dog; earlier this year Foot fought Jason Easton in one of the best domestic fights of all time – bold statement but I’m sticking with it – 11 actions of all-out war resulted in both fighters getting battered around the ring before a concussive crack of a right hand sent Foot’s corner into ecstasy as he claimed the Commonwealth title.
The fighter now appears to be in a partnership with Eddie Hearn and has been mandated to fight Robbie Davies Jnr for the British Super-Lightweight title and Foot, aged 30, will be looking to capitalize on the opportunity to get another big-name fighter on his record and continue his own push for the bigger titles.
Glenn Foot and “boring fight” simply do not go together.
Robbie Davies Jnr
And here we move onto the guy that Foot has been mandated to face for the vacant British belt – Robbie Davies Jnr, 28 years of age with 16 victories and the single loss. That loss, against Michal Syrowatka, came via a 12th round knockout after Davies had controlled the fight for much of the previous 11 rounds and was avenged a mere six months later via a 12th round knockout of his own, dropping his opponent in the 3rd, 4th and 12th to stamp his authority all over the fight.
A professional of five years, the next year should be the time for Robbie to push on and grab bigger titles of his own and with a world ranking it shouldn’t be too long until we see him in the colossal fights.
I’ve always been impressed by the engine on the Liverpudlian which enables him to keep the pressure up all day, every day without ever allowing his opponent the opportunity to get a rhythm; against Zoltan Szabo, in January of last year, we saw a mature performance from Davies up against a tricky, gritty Hungarian before getting the job done with a crunching body shot in the ninth round.
I think that’s what we’ve seen develop most from Davies in the last few fights – a maturity that many would lack when in the ring whilst trying to rush the stoppage whereas Davies is happy to just keep the work-rate ticking over before landing calculated shots to drop his opponent.
The only question we need to ask is “how on earth hasn’t this guy been on TV more often?”. Arguably the best fighter currently fighting out of Liverpool.
Akeem Ennis Brown
A nonchalance, an evolution of body movement and a fluid science to his punching, Akeem Ennis Brown is an art to watch providing drama, entertainment and explosivity all in one. When he claimed the English title he was the youngest champion and the first from Gloucester but that won’t be the defining by-notes of his career.
Riidy is on the road to big things and his victory over Chris Jenkins in May saw him claim the WBC Youth World title and climb one rung higher up the ladder – there’s plenty of names on Riidy’s resume to warrant the hype around him and his performance against Freddy Kiwitt in 2016 was just a sign of things to come.
Not particularly blessed with the biggest punching power, Akeem doesn’t lack when it comes to creating angles in which to unleash flirtatious combinations – against Glenn Foot last summer we witnessed a coming of age for the 21 year old as he battled to win a majority decision over the experienced fighter.
That’s the other strength Riidy has – he’s 21! Still only 21 and raking in experience like there’s no tomorrow and when you look across his fights there has been no shortage of learning – so when it comes to the EVEN bigger fights he’s all prepared for the bouts.
There we have six of the best super-lightweights from British boxing but, let’s be honest, this is probably the most exciting division in all of world boxing; six was just the tip of the iceberg, of course we’ve got Ohara Davies who I’ve discussed at length and then there’s Joe Hughes, Tyrone McKenna, Jeff Saunders, a whole gamut more so let’s just sit back and enjoy these phenomenal talents.