A number of British boxers enjoyed a fine 2018, with a few British warriors realizing a life-long dream and becoming world champion. Most recently, at flyweight, Charlie Edwards captured the WBC crown in a genuinely feel-good moment. Callum Smith won a world title at super-middleweight this year, while at featherweight, Josh Warrington captured the IBF title.
Heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury had a great year: Whyte winning three fights, in doing so becoming the most deserving world heavyweight title challenger out there. Fury, we know is The Comeback Fighter of The Year, and he is in the running as far as Fighter of The Year also. While Anthony Joshua, British boxing’s biggest star by far, added the WBO heavyweight belt to his growing collection this year.
All in all it was a good year for British boxing in 2018, with the UK boasting five world champions here at the end of the year: Joshua, Smith, Warrington, Edwards and, at junior-bantamweight, Kal Yafai.
But there is one clear choice from this ringside seat when it comes to choosing The British Fighter of 2018: Josh Warrington.
Warrington, 28-0(6) fought just twice this year, yet he made both big fights count big time. The warrior from Leeds with the incredible punch output, stamina and refusal to give a single inch in any fight was the underdog on both occasions he fought, yet the 28 year old, at-his-peak Warrington rose to the occasion. In May, in his first big, big fight (barring, possibly, his 2017 fight with Kiko Martinez, a majority decision win for Warrington), “The Leeds Warrior” upset the classy and experienced Lee Selby to take the IBF 126 pound belt via split decision.
Now champ – and getting the movie treatment – Warrington entered his first super-fight – his December 22 defence against recent pound-for-pound entrant and former two-weight world ruler Carl Frampton. The fight was epic, with both men giving their all over twelve slugfest rounds. Marking Frampton up, hurting him early and again a number of times as the war raged on (as Frampton, classy in defeat, admitted), Warrington hinted at greatness with his clear decision win.
Showered with all manner of praise for the win (the fight itself being compared to the special fights from years gone by) Warrington let none of it go to his head. Now looking at having an even bigger, even more exciting 2019, Warrington and his fans know a great future lies ahead. Warrington seems to have it all: a terrific engine, a rock chin, fast hands, good boxing skills and that relentless style. Indeed, Warrington does have everything but KO power.
But has this lack of fight-ending power held him back at all? No way. In fact, the featherweights of the word should be thankful Warrington doesn’t have terminating power. He’s a heck of a handful, for anyone, as it is.