By Leon Stewart
The British Heavyweight title, the original Lord Lonsdale belt. Arguably the most prestigious title offered up to the fighting men of Great Britain.
Previous holders of the iconic red, white & blue belt include a host of world champions, European belt holders and a long list of MBE’s, OBE’s and men worthy of the nation’s highest honour, The Knighthood.
So it is with great concern that I am even considering this thought… Has the title that so many strived to hold lost some of its worth, its glamour or its appeal?
There is widespread talk of David Haye’s protégé Joe Joyce competing for the title in the imminent future, the same can be said for Frank Warren’s wrecking ball Daniel Dubois. Undeniably these men hold great future’s in the squared ring, with Joyce in particular possessing a wealth of experience in the amateur code. But is that enough? Is that enough to skip past the likes of David Allen, the returning of David Price & the young but exciting Nathan Gorman?
In my humble opinion, no. Do the rounds, climb the rankings. There is no short cut to success.
Let’s look at Dubois first. There seems to be no rush for the London man to be moved on too quickly, wise choice. No surprise though considering his hall of fame promoter Frank Warren has been in the business longer than most.
A very raw, novice professional who will surely learn and develop. He is likely to go on and hold multiple titles throughout his career, but is he worthy of being held in the same frame as the likes of former Lonsdale holders such as Herbie Hide, Michael Murray & Gary Mason? Short and simple answer, no.
What about Joe Joyce? The perennial villain David Haye claims he is a world champion in waiting. Well let’s do the numbers. Our greatest heavyweight of modern times, Lennox Lewis, our most notorious world champion Tyson Fury & our current ruler Anthony Joshua, guess what they all have in common. Each reached 14 – 0 prior to contesting that beautiful belt. As for the aforementioned Herbie Hide, himself a world champion, 20 – 0.
But there are rumours of offers being made to current holder & seasoned professional Sam Sexton to defend in just Joyce’s second pro outing. It happens in world boxing of course, Vasyl Lomachenko gained world honours in just his third paid contest. Are we suggesting that Joe Joyce is worthy of the same treatment, albeit on a lower scale? For the sake of fight fans the U.K over I certainly hope not.
Get your man in line David, let’s keep the prestige intact!