Brits will bounce back
Johnny Nelson assesses the state of British boxing and says there is plenty to be optimistic about.
Last Updated: 21/12/11 10:48am
British boxing ends this year with just one fighter holding a world title - but there's plenty to be optimistic about in 2012.
Yes, some big names have been defeated in 2011 - David Haye, Amir Khan and, last weekend, Carl Froch have all lost their world titles - but in the next 12 months there will be some exciting match-ups involving British fighters to look forward to and I can't wait to see how they pan out.
Now's a good time to reflect on the year and, looking at 2011 from a positive angle, we've seen a lot more British fighters get a shot at world titles than in many years previously.
Matthew Macklin, Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes and John Murray are just a few of our talented domestic fighters who've had a shot at the biggest titles.
Unfortunately some of our fighters have come up against outstanding boxers this year. Saul Alvarez, for instance, ended the challenge of Hatton and Rhodes. Similarly Froch was at the top of the tree until he came across Andre Ward, who appears to be very special.
Froch, though, will have learnt a lot from that experience and he will bounce back in 2012, I'm sure, with a mouth-watering clash with Nathan Cleverly a possibility if 'the Cobra' steps up a weight division. There are plenty of other exciting fights to look forward to domestically - and that says a lot about the state of British boxing.
Froch v Cleverly is a dream fight. So is George Groves v James DeGale, part two. There's the potential return of Haye, too - he turned a spotlight on the heavyweight division this year and the razzmatazz he brings to boxing is the reason Vitali Klitschko is in talks to bring him out of retirement. Then there's Khan v Kell Brook, which could be a huge fight towards the end of the year.
I really believe Khan v Brook can happen in 2012 and, held on British soil, it would be absolutely massive.
Kell Brook made his US debut on Saturday and produced the goods, defeating Luis Galarza. He attracted so many new fans with that performance in the States and is now on the brink of achieving an ultimate goal. Brook is going to be a star of tomorrow and he is someone we can all look out for next year.
Meanwhile, Khan remains a class act. The only reason he's a former world champion is because he took Lamont Peterson too lightly - and so did I.
When you're a world champion it's the unknown fighters you have to watch out for. Peterson ate, drank and dreamed Amir Khan for months and delivered in front of his home fans to make his life into a movie. Peterson will never box that well again.
I know Khan will still feel bitter and hurt by the loss but he's been absolutely brilliant this year and impressed against Zab Judah and Paul McCloskey. I fully expect him to return to the top in 2012 - and then face Brook in front of a full-house in the UK.
These fights aren't just great for us domestically but are also outstanding match-ups on a world stage - and show the strength of British boxing.