The county of Lancashire and the North West of England has been a famous breeding ground for some of Britain’s best boxing talent. The Britain has some fantastic arenas where the nation’s top promoters have staged fight events that have been televised throughout the world.
Liverpool’s John Conteh was the WBC’s light heavyweight champion between 1974 and 1977. He would pack out stadiums even fighting at Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC on three occasions. In a 39-fight career he had 34 wins 4 defeats and 1 draw. It is claimed that his show biz life style may have affected his performances later in his career, appearing on the front cover of the Wings album “Band on the Run”, and appearing in a number of films such as “Man at the Top” and “The Stud”.
The most recent world champion from the same city is Tony Bellew. He won the WBC Cruiserweight title in 2016 when he beat IIunga Makabu at Goodison Park, but has since vacated the title as he has chosen to fight at a heavier weight. As well as performing in the ring he also appeared in the film “Creed” acting alongside Sylvester Stallone. His current record is 32 fights 29 wins 1 draw and 2 losses.
Manchester has also unearthed world champions in the boxing ring. Ricky Hatton is one of the most popular figures in British Boxing. His style of all-out attack endeared him to his fanatical
Manchester support. He won the WBU lightweight title in 2001 and successfully defended it on 15 occasions before moving up in weight and winning the WBA Welterweight title.
He then collected different titles and in his career, he collected 6 different world belts. There was a sense of theatre about Hatton’s contests. There were times when he would lose over 30 pounds in weight as he prepared for fights and he was followed by a huge army of Manchester fans. He was an ardent Manchester City fan entering the ring to the strains of his football club’s anthem “Blue Moon”. He would be decked out in light blue and fought in his home city on 17 occasions in a career of 48 fights that produced 45 wins 1 draw and 3 defeats.
Currently Terry Flanagan is flying for the flag for Manchester on the world stage. So far, he is unbeaten in a career of 33 fights. He won the WBO lightweight title in July 2015 and has retained it on 5 occasions, but is now concentrating on the light-welterweight division.
Like Hatton Flanagan is a Manchester City fan, but that is where the similarity ends. Despite his unbeaten start to his career he has failed to capture the public’s attention and outside of the boxing community he remains relatively unknown. Amateur boxing is well supported in Lancashire. There are numerous clubs and they have produced many young Lancastrians that have gone on to pursue successful professional careers. The Moss Side Boxing Club was started in 1981 by Phil Martin after the riots had blighted the area, and young local people needed a local club for them to attend.
In a relatively short period of time the club has gone on to be one of the best amateur clubs in the country producing both amateur and professional champions. It is now at the centre of the local community giving a real sense of pride to this inner-city area.
The county of Lancashire is a real hotbed of British boxing and has been at the centre of some of the most famous nights in British boxing.