The winner of this weekend’s big British heavyweight title fight at the O2 Arena will find themselves on the fringes of a world title shot. Whoever that is, will need more experience before they are ready to take that giant leap, but that is not the only prize at stake.
The Lord Lonsdale belt has been fought for by British Heavyweights since 1905 when Jack Palmer become the first champion. Some famous names have held the title and gone on to challenge for world honours including: Tommy Farr, Don Cockell, Brian London, Henry Cooper, Joe Bugner, Richard Dunn, Lennox Lewis, Herbie Hide, Scott Welch, Danny Williams, Matt Skelton, Dereck Chisora, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Hughie Fury.
There have been times when the British Heavyweight champion fell short when challenging the world champion and derogatory names such as “The horizontal heavyweight” taunted a nation desperate to claim its place amongst the ranks of heavyweight immortality.
As we speak, British heavyweights lurking around world title level include: Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Hughie Fury, Joe Joyce, Dereck Chisora, Nathan Gorman, and Daniel Dubois.
There is so much at stake for the victor of Saturday’s Daniel Dubois (11-0-0 10Ko’s) vs Nathan Gorman (16-0-0 11Ko’s) fight, but both men should be applauded for taking such a meaningful fight at a time when the world title holders have all failed to face one another.
The last time two Brits met in a British heavyweight title fight of this magnitude was in 1991 when Lennox Lewis fought Gary Mason. Both were highly ranked and when Lewis stopped Mason in 7 rounds it was a springboard to the world title which Lennox attained 18-months later.
Fighting for the Lonsdale belt is a big deal for British fighters and the heavyweight version has produced some great spectacles, none more so than Danny Williams Oct 2000 come from behind win over Walthamstow’s Mark Potter when Danny overcame the handicap of a dislocated shoulder to somehow knockout Potter with a ‘Hail Mary’ left uppercut and win the vacant title for a second time.
Every British boxer turning professional dreams of winning the Lonsdale belt and only a few achieve it, so Dubois and Gorman will leave everything on the line to add their name to a select club.
won and kept 3 Lonsdale belts during his illustrious career. ‘Our Henry’ will
always be best remembered for dumping a young and precocious Cassius Marcellus
Clay on the seat of his trunks at Wembley Stadium in June 1963, only seconds
away from a victory that would have changed heavyweight history. Many years
later, at the end of Coopers fighting days, he faced a young upstart named Joe
Bugner for not only the British, but the Commonwealth and European titles in a
huge domestic fight that captured the nation’s attention.
The 15 round decision given to Bugner by referee and sole abettor Harry Gibbs haunted Cooper for the rest of his day, so sure was he that he had done enough to defeat his nemesis.
Others have demonstrated their passion for the title in other ways. Blackpool’s two-time world heavyweight title challenger Brian London lost his temper so badly after his stoppage defeat to Newport’s Dick Richardson in 1960 that he started a fight with Richardson’s corner man and then with the big Welshman for a second time.
Gorman and Dubois have a lot to live up to when they challenge for the vacant title. History will be made and hopefully their battle will live up to those great encounters of the past.
Good luck boys, and may the best man win!