The current Welsh boxing landscape is an exciting place to behold, sure its a country that is championless in terms of World honours since the retirement of one of the countries greatest in Joe Calzaghe with Gavin Rees, Nathan Cleverly and Enzo Maccarinelli following suit before the recent dethronement of IBF Featherweight champion Lee Selby, all that aside the residents still have a lot to be excited about.
\\ The melancholy that was felt after the latest setback of Lee Selby losing his title to Josh Warrington is one that’s replaced with renewed optimism following the Barry residents decision to move up in weight class, opening up a plateau of options that are sure to bring big fights to Wales.
\\ Liam Williams’ Interim world title attempt was unfortunately cut shot quite literally as he was stopped by Liam Smith following a nasty headbutt the rematch yielded another loss that gave Williams cause to think long and hard about his future plans, coming to the heart-wrenching decision of moving away from longtime trainer Gary Lockett with the conclusion being a long drive to Sheffield to link up with Dominic Ingle to further pursue that evasive world title bid.
These are the two big names that carry the hopes of the nation on their back, two who will be accompanied by a host of others in the next year or so to come as the new generation of fighters look to stamp their tickets to the world stage.
\\ Leading the pack is Cardiff’s Joe Cordina, before I continue I must confess that I’m very much a cautious person when predicting the future of prospects but this is one that I give with confidence. Cordina, a 2015 European Gold Medallist who was quickly signed to Matchroom Boxing upon making the decision to turn professional, In his 8 fight career he has shown the reasoning behind that decision, taking the international Lightweight title along with a brilliant display in outpointing Sean Dodd to win the Commonwealth strap.
\\ The most exciting talent to come out of Wales I would even go as far as to say the UK will step back through the ropes following a brief hiatus from the ring, Andrew Selby will commence his hunt for a world title with Cristofer Rosales firmly in his crosshairs, Selby already holds a win over the WBC king with a repeat fully in his expectation when the two inevitably meet. Until then Andrew will use a couple of fights to sharpen his reactions before putting the Flyweight division back on notice.
\\ Kody Davies is another to keep a keen eye on for the future, I doubt you’d likely miss him with his array of different hairstyles for different occasions, he is quickly becoming a fan favourite with skills to match his lofty expectations, having learnt his craft with the GB setup he has employed the vast knowledge of former world champion Gavin Rees which looks a formidable partnership that is sure to bear fruit in the years to come.
\\ Ashley Brace holds the highest accolade of all Welsh fighters at the time of writing, her being the European champion, after the heartbreak of a split decision draw in her first tilt against Melania Sorroche in her hometown of Ebbw Vale, Ashley decided to drop down to Super Flyweight where she outclassed Xenia Jorneac on route to a decision victory. It was a performance of pure quality, showing a stronger version than the one we have seen previous, one that will be a force at world level if the opportunity presents itself.
\\ Commonwealth Flyweight champion Jay Harris is one who I feel is underrated in the great scheme of things, which is an injustice, In a tough division Harris continues to chip away, making inroads hopefully towards a big title push in 2019/2020, a big fight with Ross Murray awaits on November 3rd which promises fireworks and we can all dream but in a division which also houses Andrew Selby, a domestic matchup isn’t a million miles away.
\\ A 2014 Commonwealth games Bronze Medallist Nathan Thorley as taken his professional record to 11-0 scoring some highlight reel knockouts along the way, his recent move to Gary Lockett will further enhance/tweak his already solid skill set within a richly populated Light Heavyweight division.
\\ Alex ‘Bad News’ Hughes is ready to make up for the lost time taken after an eye operation sidelined him, TCB’s Jonathan Harris talked to Alex at length recently where there is no mistaking his intent on making a statement in his comeback with two fights scheduled to finish off 2018 with the focus hopefully turning to titles in 2019. Sparring sessions with former world champion George Groves showed that he has the ability to match up with any fighter in the division.
\\ Lightweight Gavin Gwynne who currently holds the Welsh title with a superb victory over Henry Janes is certainly one to watch, The man from Treharris is exceeding all expectations as he continues to impress and improve, a contest with Myron Mills awaits which will pit the English title against the Welsh titleholder in Newport this month.
\\ Rounding up the list, JJ Evans, this is one which I felt obliged to alert people to, Evans is a supremely talented individual who is able to box from the front foot or moving backwards on the counter, after watching him throughout a prestigious amateur career he is yet to make his mark in the paid ranks but its only a matter of time before this changes.
I’m sure I have missed more than a few fighters off the list, Please be sure to let me know by Tweeting me @TOPCLASSBOXING with my apologises given in advance, in my defence is an easy mistake to make with Wales being a breeding ground of talent.