An intense heavyweight bout will follow this weekend, when Fabio Wardley takes on Nathan Gorman at Wembley Arena for the British belt, the title that boxers from these shores have coveted for more than a century.
Newcastle’s Jack Palmer was Britain’s first official heavyweight champion, knocking out Geoff Thorne in one round to become the then-National Sports Club heavyweight titleholder.
The first match for the now immortal Lord Lonsdale Belt took place between reigning British champion Gunner Moire and Mexborough contender William Hague, who knocked out the champion in one round, setting a new record for the match. Win the fastest in a championship match and kick off the title’s lineage.
The Lonsdale belt is one of the sexiest belts in the entire sport, with a historical credibility to match. If you ask an English amateur who is turning professional, don’t be surprised if they tell you that becoming an English champion is their top goal.
Henry Cooper, famous for sending Muhammad Ali off the canvas during their 1963 contestwas one of the notable British heavyweight champions of the 20th century as well as the longest reigning, topping the title for eight years from 1959 to 1967.
While some might question his “Britishness” given his election to represent Canada at the Olympics, few would argue that the great Lennox Lewis is the best heavyweight boxer ever. British belt. It’s no surprise that Lewis’ reign was short, holding the Lonsdale belt for just over a year before he inevitably moved on to pursue world titles.
Since the turn of the millennium, a host of famous boxers have had the honor of claiming to be British heavyweight champions. Among them are future world champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua (and Daniel Dubois, if you ask Frank Warren) as well as British title-winning men who will surpass any expectations they have. from boxing, such as Sam Sexton and Scott Gammer.
For this Saturday night, Wardley vs Gorman is a title contest with such a lineage of boxers. A fascinating clash of styles, two opposing circumstances, but the two fighters have always performed at the level the sport should encourage, although in recent years seem to have strayed a bit. sadly.