Boxing


Britainís Best Bigman

02.05.04 - By Daniel Baguley: After watching last weeks British and Commonwealth title bout between Michael Sprott and Matt Skelton I though it would be an opportune moment to discuss who the best heavyweight in Britain is.

The current world heavyweight scene is scarce of talent and the British scene is no different unfortunately. Twenty years ago if you held the British title it meant you were the best in Britain but after watching last weeks maul between the above mentioned it is clear this is no longer the case. Many thought Michael Sprott was lucky to have wrested the title from Danny Williams in January of this year but few could begrudge him the win after a strange performance by Williams who seemed more intent on mocking his opponent than actually getting down to business.

Danny Williams has to win the prize for being the most frustrating heavyweight in Britain. It is clear he has an abundance of talent but seems incapable of producing the goods when it really matters. For example, in his fight with Sinan Samil Sam he completely lost his nerve and ended up being pasted. Lennox Lewis didnít become Undisputed World Champion by having a lack of nerve so I think this factor alone will sadly confine Williams to domestic action only.

So what about the man who beat him, the afore mentioned Michael Sprott? If nothing else he showed a gutsy display against Williams and managed to shake him up with a few eye-catching punches. I hoped his ability and experience would have carried him through against the aggressive but crude styling of Matt Skelton. Unfortunately it didnít. He failed to show half of what he did against Williams and seemed frightened by the highly charged but highly inexperienced Matt Skelton.

On his record it would appear Skelton has power but I donít believe this is necessarily the case. It appears to me as if Skelton simply swarms his opponents and wears them down through shear doggedness. Whilst I donít question his heart I believe a few well timed uppercuts from a more composed opponent would question his chin. He comes in with his head low swinging punches and I think because of his advanced age he wonít progress much further than he has now. Even with the lack of talent out there it wouldnít take some of the more ďeliteĒ fighters long to work him out.

So weíve ruled out these three from emulating Lewis. What about Keith Long? Well he gave Williams a fright (havenít they all?) but Long is a limited hard nut. Does this gain him respect, yes, does this gain him major honours, no. So who is my tip for the top you may be asking? Well I believe Audley Harrison could be the man to make a few waves in the division. Last time out the Olympic gold medallist looked impressive in finishing off Richel Hersisia in the fourth of his first bout scheduled for twelve. After softening him up with jabs for the opening three rounds Harrison absorbed a rally from Hersisia in the fourth with his arms and then unloaded an accurate combination that left the Dutchman in no position to continue.

Audley had to take a few from Richel and seemed quite capable of doing so, answering a few questions about his chin. Although he is not the complete package youíd have to say he has the best chance out of the current British crop of making a name for himself worldwide. I would like to see him fight Skelton but I believe boxing politics will keep them apart. With Dominic Guinn and Joe Mesi having been exposed it seems as if there would never be a better time for the tall southpaw to make his move. All he must do is maintain his focus and keep winning. Whilst it would be unfair to compare him to his hero Lennox I do believe he can gain himself major alphabet honours if he can negotiate the right fights.

Whilst time isnít on his side he is no older than Vitali Klitschko who recently gained universal recognition as World Heavyweight Champion. So although Audley doesnít hold the British title it seems quite clear to me he is the best big man in Britain. Iím sure Skeltonís management would have a few words about that but all they need do is compare each mans last performance and honestly say who was the more impressive.


Article posted on 02.05.2004



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