The revival of black British boxers in the UK | Exploring the resurgence of talent in the ethnic community

The 90’s produced some spectacular black British boxers. The likes of Chris Eubank, Johnny Nelson, Lennox Lewis and Nigel Benn held world titles and were…

The 90’s produced some spectacular black British boxers. The likes of Chris Eubank, Johnny Nelson, Lennox Lewis and Nigel Benn held world titles and were internationally acclaimed. They established themselves as legends in the sport and were role models for many of the younger generation coming through the ranks and the ethnic community on a whole. However, the 2000’s saw a downward trajectory in the popularity of the sport in the US for a few reasons.

The sport lacked popular champions like those of yesteryear, with Floyd Mayweather being the most notable in this era till today. Alleged corruption meant that fans did not get to see they fights they wanted. In addition, there was an increase in the popularity of other combat sports such as MMA which led to many fans switching allegiance. Other factors such as the global financial crisis meant that the sport received less investment. While this was ongoing in the US boxing enjoyed a renaissance in the UK and Europe.

The new generation coming through were hungry and ambitious. Events such as the London 2012 Olympics breathed new life into the sport as future talents such as World Heavy weight Anthony Joshua were put into the spotlight for the first time. Post 2012, there appears to be a revival of black British boxers, who are promising. Importantly, this list non-exhaustive, as there would be too many talented individuals to name. Instead these names have been chosen from different divisions as representatives.

Lawrence Okolie

record- 12W’s (9KO’s) – 0L’s – 0D’s   Weight class- Cruiserweight

Hailing from Hackney, east London this bruising cruiserweight has taken the domestic scene by storm. Currently the WBA continental and British champion, Okolie’s long reach, strength and footwork separate him from many of the up and coming boxers in the division. With a patient jab and a vicious right hand, Okolie has the potential to take his talent to the highest levels. Okolie is very confident in his ability with his recent victory over Wadi Camacho has edging him closer to a world title shot he surely deserves.

Dillan Whyte

25w’s (18 Ko’s) 1L 0D’s   weight class-Heavyweight

A bonified heavyweight, Whyte has been on the scene for a few years. A hardnosed, gritty fighter who’s not afraid

to take and give punishment. Suffering his only loss to Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, Dillan has proven himself to be a legitimate threat to in the division. He has yet to be granted another opportunity at the title (possibly du to politic, though without a doubt-in the mix when it comes to talks of future champions.

Chris ‘2 Slick’ Kongo

10 w’s (6KO’s) 0L’s 0D’s weight class- welterweight

Winning national titles from the age of 13, Chris Kongo is no stranger to success. Following in his brothers’ footsteps from the age of 8, Kongo has dedicated his life to the sport. Kongo has gotten his footwork down to a science, his impeccable balance allows him to reel off punches in successive combinations. Utilising his range, Kongo avoids unnecessary contact but certainly isn’t scared to exchange when need be. His head movement routinely makes his opponents miss, which must be frustrating for them but pleasurable for true fans of the sport. Kongo undoubtedly has world championship potential, though at the moment it appears he is comfortable at honing his craft and racking up wins under his belt.

 Joshua Buatsi

10 w’s (8 KO’s) 0L’s 0D’s weight class- Light heavyweight

Recently winning the light heavyweight championship, Buatsi has cemented himself as a legitimate contender in his weight division. A product of the 2016 Olympics, winning a bronze Buatsi’ has paid his dues to get to the position he is in. With an incredible hand speed and insane footwork, he resembles that of a young Sugar Ray leonard. Buatsi’s style is fascinating to watch, he is perhaps the most complete boxer on this list. A true gentleman who’s humble and driven, he will be a prospect on the grandest of stages for sure. It is my prediction that he will become a world champion in the next 3 years. A move up towards heavyweight would be amazing, considering the scene lacks true speed punchers reminiscent of Legends such as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

by Temi Adedeji


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