|European boxing gains momentum|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: Apr 23, 2012
The roots of modern boxing are planted in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom. The heavyweight division was the spark that ignited the popularity of boxing. During the 1800s UK-born boxers such as Joe Coburn, Mike McCoole, Tom Allen, Joe Goss and Paddy Ryan were the rage.
They later made room for the likes of Americans John L. Sullivan and ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett. The European imprint was lasting however. In later generations, the United States boxing scene and that of Latin America became prominent. Now, the pendulum is swinging back towards Europe. Today, Floyd Mayweather of the United States and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines are the sports two most noted competitors. However, the Europeans have made significant inroads. In fact some might say that area has taken over for the most part.
Certainly more of the biggest payday fights are being made in Europe. In the heavyweight division, the Klitschko brothers of Ukraine, Vitali and Wladimir, own all of the recognized significant titles. Wladimir heads the International Boxing Organization (IBO), the World Boxing Organization (WBO), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA).
Older brother Vitali is the World Boxing Council (WBC) Champ. After the Klitschkos, the top 10 heavyweight boxers are predominantly European. There’s Russian Alexander Povetkin, Robert Helenius of Finland, Tomasz Adamek of Poland, Alexander Dimitrenko of the Ukraine, Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, and former champion Ruslan Chagaev of Russia. Anthony Thompson, Chris Arreola and Eddie Chambers, all of the United States, are the only others at the top of the heavyweight list.
In other weight divisions, the European influence is not necessarily as strong, but solid nevertheless. There is a view in some local pro boxing circles that perhaps emphasis should be placed on connecting with the European scene as opposed to the big U.S. concentration. It’s a good thought.
Jermain Mackey as the Commonwealth super middleweight champion was on his way to further stardom using that forum, until decisions that are regarded as simply terrible, derailed his career. Bahamian lightweight Edner Cherry and super featherweight Meacher Major have both indicated an interest in getting into the Commonwealth picture.
Then, there is Sherman ‘Tank’ Williams. He had several opportunities to engage in Commonwealth fights against European opponents. Williams was sought after by UK promoters during the latter part of the last decade but nothing materialized. The European scene would have done much better for him than his U.S. base. That’s my view. Williams is now 39. He’ll be 40 in September. He hasn’t fought since January of 2011, over a year. The boxing business can be brutally frustrating.
I encourage Major and Cherry as they are confronted with their final years of prime boxing, to look to Europe to fulfill their careers.
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