A brief history of all-British world title boxing bouts
This Saturday, that rarest of rare beasts – an all-British world championship boxing match – takes place at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester.
Carl Froch, the current unified IBF and WBA super-middleweight champion, puts his titles on the line against George Groves.
Groves, who as of yet is undefeated since turning professional, was installed as the mandatory challenger for the IBF title. However, compared to the grizzled veteran Froch, Groves hasn’t yet got the experience, although his talent isn’t in any doubt.
World title fights between two British fighters aren’t too common, but when they happen, millions of us anticipate a fight to remember. Where, we ask ourselves, will Froch v Groves stand in that crowd of classics?
Recent all-British world title fights across the weight divisions that come to mind include Amir Khan against Paul McCloskey for the WBA Light-Welterweight title and the duel between Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell for the WBA Lightweight crown.
Neither fight captured the public’s imagination, although due to their rarity, all-British title fights are events that receive plenty of attention from the media and eager fight fans. Some ‘Battles of Britain’ live up to the billing, most notably the two fights between Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank.
Benn and Eubank fought for the WBO Middleweight title back in 1990 in a match that defined one of the sport’s greatest rivalries. The rematch didn’t disappoint either, even though they moved up a division to super-middleweight. The fact they both held world titles three years later added some spice.
Another all-British world title fight that comes to mind is the match between Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno for the WBC Heavyweight title in 1993. The pre-match banter saw both fighters go at each other’s throats, while the fight itself was pretty even but for a decisive hook in the eighth round from Lewis.
Froch v Groves has a lot to live up to, but there is a lot of interest. Froch, having seen off some of the best fighters in his division, will want to add Groves to his list of conquest. As for his opponent, he’ll want to fulfil his undoubted potential by becoming the UK’s newest world champion.
The Cobra is favourite to win the match at 2/7, boasting plenty of big fight experience. Groves, an outsider at 11/4, seen by many as a plucky upstart, will want to upset the odds and make a name for himself, but they’re firmly against him causing a big shock.