The Horizontal British Heavyweight

Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, May 1955, Rocky Marciano pounds brave British title challenger Don Cockell to bloody defeat in 9 rounds in defence of his world heavyweight title.

If you are old enough to remember the age of The horizontal British heavyweight then you will also remember how embarrassing it was to hear our brave boys being called this.

It all started in the 1930s with Phil Scott, real name Phillip Suffling. Now there can be no doubt that Scott could fight, his career ended with 65 wins, 13 losses and 4 draws. He won British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles.

Scott fought 8 times in America and due to winning a 12 rounder at Madison Square Garden against Otto Von Porat on disqualification and then losing a final eliminator to Jack Sharkey 2 months later by 3rd round Tko while claiming a foul, the American media labelled him “Fainting Phil”.

Efforts to win the title away from our American counterparts didn’t fare well until the 1990s when Herbie Hide, Henry Akinwande, Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis all held versions.

American Charles Martin loses his IBF title by knockout in 2 rounds to Britain’s Anthony Joshua.

It was Lewis that really bucked the trend though. He could actually take on the best the Americans and the rest of the world could throw at him and come out victorious.

Now, of course, the heavyweight division would appear to have returned to its ancestral home, Great Britain. Only WBC champion Deontay Wilder can dispute the title although most observers believe he lost to Lineal title holder Tyson Fury of Manchester, England in their highly controversial bout last December.

The big conversation in heavyweight boxing today is who would prevail in a round robin of Wilder, Fury and WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Anthony Joshua.

American heavyweight champions Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Tim Witherspoon all turned back challenges from British heavyweight champions and yet Fury and Joshua are quite conceivably the two best heavyweights on the planet right now.

Add WBC No 1 Dillian Whyte, Daniel Dubois, Joe Joyce and things are looking up for the division in the UK.

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