Wales has a proud history in the noble art of Boxing, with fighters such as Jim Driscoll, Freddie Welsh, Tommy Farr, Howard Winstone, Joe Calzaghe and Jimmy Wilde, many of those named and others have won titles either at World, European, Commonwealth or domestic levels. This article looks a the current crop of Welsh fighters, those who are currently holding titles or those plying their trade at title level opposition, or have the potential in next year or so, to be doing that.
At Cruiserweight, the Welsh top star is Craig Kennedy from Cardiff. Kennedy recently had a tilt at the British Cruiserweight title losing to Matty Askin. Kennedy is a serious challenger at domestic level and hopefully can bounce back from that defeat.
At Light-Heavyweight, Nathan Cleverly is the current WBA World Champion. The fighter from Cefn Fforest has won titles domestically and World level and is a top class fighter. His initial reign as World Champion was ended by an elite star in Sergey Kovalev, and after an ill-fated tilt at Cruiserweight Cleverly moved back to his correct weight and now reigns as a World Champion. There are some big names in that division such as Adonis Stevenson, Andre Ward and Kovalev, hopefully Cleverly can get himself a big money fight.
At Middleweight, Fred Evans from Cardiff has only just made his debut in the professional ranks, but with an amateur career where he won numerous titles including European Champion and also won silver at the 2012 London Olympics. Evans has had some issues outside of the ring, but if he can fulfil his potential, Wales could very well have another boxing Champion on their records.
At Light-Middleweight/Welterweight, Wales has campaigning at these weights, Liam Williams and Dale Evans. Williams from Clydach Vale is the current British, European and Commonwealth Light-Middleweight Champion. Williams lost to Liam Smith in May, but as Smith did not meet the weight limit at weighing in time, he was not eligible to take the belts. The outcome of the fight was controversial and seems there will be a rematch in September this year. Dale Evans from St Clears is a Welterweight who has been fighting at higher levels of domestic level for a while now and in July will fight current titleholder, Bradley Skeete for the British crown.
At Light-Welterweight, Swansea-born, Chris Jenkins is the current WBO International Champion. Jenkins has fought twice for the British title against Tyrone Nurse, and in two bruising fights has suffered a draw and a loss. He is a fine fighter and hopefully will gain another title soon.
Craig Evans is a Lightweight from Blackwood, who has fought for the British title losing on points to Scott Cardle. Evans is a game fighter who at domestic level will give anyone a tough night’s work, I am sure there are some decent battles for Evans over the coming years.
At Junior-Lightweight, Joe Cordina from Cardiff in his few outings at professional level looks a star in the making. Cordina was a fine amateur, winning gold at the European Championships and bronze at the Commonwealth Games. Cordina has a high profile and in only three fights has already been on the card at Wembley Stadium. There are some really big fights at his weight and similar weights around him in the future, and I expect big things from Cordina in the near future.
At Featherweight, Wales have Lee Selby and Josh Wale. Selby from Barry is the current IBF World Champion and has previously held British, Commonwealth and European titles. Selby is a class operator but his career seems to have stagnated, he needs a big name fight soon to reignite his career. He has the ability to go up against the very best. Selby will be defending his title next month against Argentinian, Jonathan Victor Barros, who is a former World Champion. Selby needs a strong performance which I fully expect him to do. Josh Wale has twice fought for the British title and in strong performances has just come up short. Wale is a tough fighter who will be around top domestic level fighters for quite a while.
At Flyweight, Andrew Selby brother of Lee is the current British Champion as well as being IBF Inter-Continental Champion and the WBA International Champion all in only nine professional fights. Selby as an amateur was European Champion twice and also won silver and bronze at the World Championships. He could be a major star in the world of boxing if his desire and dedication to the sport stay intact as he sometimes gives off the impression he is not too bothered with the sport. There is no doubting his ability and I fully expect him to be a World Champion by the end of 2017.
So there you have it a run through of Welsh boxing currently, as you can see it is in a very healthy state, with World and British Champions and more to come. My current top 5 pound for pound in Wales would be as follows:
1/ Lee Selby
3/ Andrew Selby
4/ Liam Williams
5/ Joe Cordina
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