Five months into 2019 and Josh Taylor is set to be the first Brit to have a maiden world title shot as he takes on Ivan Baranchyk in Glasgow, for the IBF Super-Lightweight title.
The amount of Brits involved in world title action has been far and few between this year. Having been to the top of the mountain in his lengthy, prestigious career, former unified light-welterweight World Champion Amir Khan fell short against pound-for-pound star Terrence Crawford last month
As well as Khan, another former World Champion Anthony Crolla got brutally stopped against elite lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko, whilst lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury may face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a rematch later this year.
On the defending side of things, WBC Flyweight champion Charlie Edwards successfully defended his belt for the first time against Angel Moreno in comfortable fashion.
As well as a lack of world title fights, we’ve seen a number of British prospects who have fallen at the first hurdle, and had to earn a shot at the world title in the last few months.
Ted Cheeseman, Lewis Ritson and most recently Jordan Gill have ultimately failed in different ways after cruising to respective British titles. Whether those three are good enough, or have been pushed too soon is another debate.
British Boxing needs new faces if they are going to attract casual boxing fans. Here's hoping to a final six months with plenty of British World title action
POTENTIAL BRITISH WORLD TITLE FIGHTS
Below are a list of hopefuls who can expect to potentially join the likes of Anthony Joshua & Callum Smith as respective World Champions in 2019.
Heavyweight – Dillian Whyte
Will this be the year where ‘The BodySnatcher’ gets his shot? After negotiations for a huge fight against AJ in Spring 2019 fell through, Whyte is returning to the ring in July after seven months out against the undefeated Oscar Rivas.
Along with the AJ fight that never looked like it was happening, Whyte & his team have been caught up in a confusing situation with the WBC, regarding his position as mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder.
Originally touted as the mandatory challenger, Whyte doesn’t appear to be in a strong position at the moment, most recently being leapfrogged by Dominic Breazeale who fights Deontay Wilder this weekend.
Most recently Whyte has been ordered to face Tyson Fury in a WBC final eliminator; another bout that many question the legitimacy of.
Unfortunately, Whyte may be in for another frustrating year as Wilder & Joshua may find themselves tied up with other arrangements whilst Whyte may continue to come up against the rest of the heavyweight division that don’t hold a world title.
Cruiserweight – Lawrence Okolie
Unlike Whyte, Okolie hasn’t fought at world level, let alone against former World Champions.
However, after breezing through the likes of Luke Watkins, Isaac Chamberlain & Wadi Camacho at British level, there have been calls for Okolie to be ‘fast-tracked’ to world title level rather than aim for European title level.
Due to being ranked highly with the WBA, Denis Lebedev has been rumoured as the man that Okolie could potentially take on come the end of 2019. Turning 40 in the Summer and enjoying his 18th year as a pro, many believe that the Russian could be Okolie’s ‘queue jump’ ticket to becoming a world champ after only 12 months.
Light Heavyweight – Anthony Yarde
If recent suggestions are to be confirmed, one British fighter who will be fighting for a world title for the first time this year is Anthony Yarde.
Having spent a considerable amount of time just below world level and criticised by some for it, Yarde looks like he’s ready to take the step-up and fight a former pound-for-pound star in Sergey Kovalev.
Yarde who perhaps gets a lot more stick than he deserves has still only had eighteen fights, having made his pro debut just over 4 years ago.