With Edwards’ win, United Kingdom adds another Champion to their list

As in the United States and Mexico, boxing is extremely popular in the United Kingdom. The proof in the pudding? Sunny “Showtime” Edwards’ registered scores of (118-111, 120-108 and 115-113) when registering his unanimous decision victory over Moruti Mthalane of South Africa, who’s record now drops to (39-3). Like his brother and father before him, “Showtime” dominated Mthalane to remain at the top of his division just as the heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua remain at the top of the heavyweight division with their combined five World Title belts.

If we list all of the Championship belts now held by the Brits, you have Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) from Wilmslow, Cheshire, United Kingdom, 32 years-old and standing 6’9″ tall with his 85″ reach in possession of the WBC World Heavyweight Title. Next is the 31-year-old Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) from Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, who stands 6’6″ tall with an 82″ reach in possession of the IBF, the IBO, the WBO and the WBA Super World Heavyweight Titles after defeating the 31-year-old Andy “the Destroyer” Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) of Imperial, Calif. who is just 6’2″ tall and has a much shorter reach of 74″.

Next in line they have cruiserweight Lawrence “The Sauce” Okolie from Hackney, London, United Kingdom. He is 28-years-old and stands 6’5″ tall with a record of 16-0 with 13 KOs. Okolie is now the current WBO World Cruiserweight Title holder after first defeating the 29-year-old, 6’3″ tall, #58 ranked Nikodem Jezewski from Koscierzyna, Poland by TKO and then defending that title against the 34-year-old, 6′ tall Krzysztof Glowacki (31-3, 19 KOs) of Walcz, Poland who at the time of their meeting was ranked #10.

Low and behold, holding down the World Boxing Organization’s Light Heavyweight Title is 31-year-old, 6′ tall, 76″ reach Joe Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) who was born in the U. S. and currently resides on Long Island, New York. After battling Dmitry Bivol in March of 2019 and losing by a unanimous decision, Smith fought the 34-year-old, 6’3½” Russian Maxim Vlasov (45-4, 26 KOs) in April of 2021 at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma and won a 12 round Mixed Decision Victory to claim the vacant WBO World Light Heavyweight Title. Chalk one up for Uncle Sam.

In the Super Middleweight Division, there’s the revered Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Guadalajara, Mexico, who’s next opponent is the 31-year-old, southpaw Billy Joe “Suberb” Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom who stands 5’11” tall and has a 71″ reach. Alvarez and Saunders will be battling it out on May 8, 2021 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for Alvarez’s WBC and WBA titles plus Saunder’s WBO Title.

In Saunders’ last fight back on December 4, 2020, he won a “no doubt” Unanimous Decision victory over fellow Brit Martin Murray who then dropped to (39-6-1, 17 KOs). At that time, the gentlemen were returning to the ring after an unusual 13 month lay-off to battle for that WBO World Super Middleweight Title. And now on Saturday in Arlington, Texas we’ll be seeing Billy Joe Saunders returning to the ring after a five and a half month layoff while his opponent Saul Alvarez has remained the busier, more dedicated, more focused of the two. How Alvarez has done versus southpaws is the only real question worth pursuing. If you consider the fact that Canelo has manhandled his last three southpaw opponents, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, it appears there is little reason for concern. With Alvarez being the more focused of the two, it sure looks like this victory is headed towards the Mexico coffers.

Next we have the Middleweight Division with their multitude of Champions: Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, southpaw Zhanibek “Oazaq Style” Alimkhanuly from Kazakhstan and the still undefeated southpaw Demetrius Andrade of Providence, Rhode Island (30-0, 18 KOs) the WBO title holder who has now defended or won either the WBO World Super Welterweight crown or his present WBO World Middleweight Crown on nine occasions.

The only time the (41-1-1, 36 KOs) Gennadiy Golovkin tripped up was against Saul Alvarez back on September 15, 2018 when Alvarez won a split decision. Lara has remained the WBA Super Welterweight Title holder for three years. The British representative Chris Eubank Jr. (30-2, 22 KOs) stopped Matvey Koroboz early, a second round TKO on 12-07-19 to win the WBA Interim World Middleweight Title and then stopped fellow Brit Marcus Morrison (23-4, 16 KOs) on 5-1-21 with no belt on the line.

In the Middleweight Division, Jermell Charlo holds down three belts, the IBF, the WBA Super World and the WBC World Light Middleweight title while Erislandy Lara controls the IBF and WBA. There are no representatives from the United Kingdom in the running. Perhaps Prince Harry should represent the monarchy in one of the seven now vacant World Boxing Organizations.

Next, you have the Welterweight Division which is controlled by Errol Spence Jr. and Terrence Crawford from the U. S. while in March of 2021, Britain’s only challenger within this weight division was Michael “Mikey-the-Problem” McKinson (20-0, just 2 KOs) from Portsmouth, Hampshire, U. K. who defeated a host of lightweights to include Chris Kongo (12-1, 7 KOs) to secure the WBO Welterweight Title. The only other up and comer within this division is the 23-year-old Vergil Ortiz Jr. (17-0, 17 KOs) from Grand Prairie, Texas who recently KO’d Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker to win the WBO’s International Welterweight Title.

In the next weight class, the Super Lightweight Division, you have a virtual free-for-all. Our current local fan favorite is 28-year-old, 5’10” tall Jose Carlos “Jaquar” Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) from Avenal, Calif. Then there’s two southpaws, the 30-year-old Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) from Prestonpans, Scotland, United Kingdom and the 32-year-old Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) from Houston, Texas. The 25-year-old Liam Paro (20-0, 13 KOs) from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is also a contender.

From this point to the Flyweights, the Brits, our neighbors from across the pond, are hurting.

The Lightweight Division certainly has everyone’s attention after the 23-year-old Teofimo “The Takeover” Lopez (16-0) from Jonesboro, Arkansas by way of Brooklyn, New York, the current IBF, WBA, and WBO World Champion upset the apple cart by soundly defeating Vasyl Lomachenko and win his titles. After Lomachenko’s successful surgery, everyone is now wondering how long will it take him to make his “successful” comeback. Yvan Mendy (46-5-1, 22 KOs) from Pont-Sainte-Maxence, Olise, France by way of Paris, France is now 35-years-old. Then, you have 26-year-old southpaw Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) from Baltimore, Maryland making his move. People are wondering if Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (37-2-1) from Rosemead, Calif. can rebound from that KO loss to Gervonta Davis. People are also wondering how the less tested Kevin Haney (25-0), the current WBC Caretaker, will do against a real force like Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs).

Like the Lightweights, the Super Featherweights have a very interesting cast of characters led by Jamel Herring (23-2, 11 KOs), Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) from Sonora, Mexico, southpaw Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs), Chris Colbert (15-0, 6 KOs), Michael Magnesi (19-0, 11 KOs) and will Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (37-2, 33 KOs) the former WBC Champion be able to make his comeback after dealing with the affects of COVID 19? Southpaw Shakur “Fearless” Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) from Alexandria, Virginia is also getting impatient. Stevenson’s match-up with Jeremiah “Low Key” Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs) of Walvis, Namibia should be a very competitive.

Above, we have the 5’4½” tall, 32-year-old southpaw Gary Allen Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KOs) from Capitol Heights, Maryland who continues to control the Featherweight Division ever since December 20, 2014 the night he fought San Diego’s Chris “the San Diego Kid” Martin, now-retired and part owner of the Azteca Boxing Gym in Bonita, Calif. With Russell’s lightning fast maneuvering, quick hands and the fact that over his career he’s gone from fighting six times a year in 2009 to just twice a year in 2012, twice in 2013, three times in 2014, then just once in 2015, once in 2016, once in 2017, once in 2018, once in 2019 and then just once in 2020. His strategy has become, if you don’t fight you can’t lose. The man who could defeat Russell is Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete the current WBO Featherweight World Champion from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Distrito Federal, Mexico. Will that fight ever get made? Unlikely.

For those hoping to see Russell fight either Emanuel Navarrete, the 27-year-old Can “Monster” Xu of Beijing, China, or the 23-year-old Brock Jarvis (19-0, 17 KOs) from Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia. Good luck!

At present, the Super Bantamweight Division is loaded with talent. You have the 5′6½″ tall, 27-year-old Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton Jr. from Philadelphia with his 70½″ reach, (19-0, 8 KOs record), the WBO Champion after his 1-23-21 resounding defeat of Angel Miguel Leo, “El Chinito” (21-1, 9 KOs) by a unanimous decision (119-109, 119-109, 118-110). At this point, Stephen Fulton is preparing to face the 24-year-old, 5’8″ tall, 72½″ reach, WBA and WBC Champion Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa (22-0, 1, 17 KOs) from Weslaco, Texas which should be a classic.

Barring a serious injury, the 5’5″ tall Japanses sensation Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) from Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan should rule in the Bantamweight Division for years to come. After defeating all comers, to include standouts like Michael Dasmarinas, Nonito Donaire and Emmanuel Rodriguez, what more does he have to prove? Inoue’s fight IQ, toughness plus stamina – makes him simply amazing. Instead of a sport of toughness, he makes it look like boxing is a video game that he invented. Dominating the likes of the 26-year-old Ryoichi Taguchi (18-1-1, 8 KOs) when Inoue was just 20-years-old and fighting in just his fourth professional fight, was mindboggling fete.

Known for his resilience and whip like punching that comes at you from every angle, it appears at this stage there’s no one able to defeat Naoya Inoue and he could rule his Division for a long time.
Julio Cesar “El Rey” Martinez of Mexico City (left) is another gifted boxer who came along after what 130 years of the sport and decided to drastically change his style of offensive so he could completely confuse his opponents. He did just that on February 29, 2020 versus Jay Harris (r).

On that night, Martinez (16-1) earned himself a 12 round unanimous decision over the formerly unbeaten Harris (now 17-1) in their WBC World Flyweight Title fight at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas. The telltale difference in their ability to win this fight? While Martinez was landing 32% of his punches, Harris only landed 20%. Harris also dropped to the canvas after a body shot in round 10. In regards to the Judges’ scores, all three judges had Martinez winning. The judges scores: 118-109, 115-112, 116-111 which gave our current Undisputed Flyweight Champ Julio Cesar “El Rey” Martinez his unanimous decision victory and an even firmer grip on that Flyweight title.

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