Not Clever for Brits

  • By: Derek Bilton
  • Last Updated: October 2 2013, 6:29 BST

Our boxing expert Derek Bilton brings you his latest British P4P rankings after a bad month for domestic fighters.

Nathan Cleverly lost his unbeaten record with defeat against Sergey Kovalev.
Nathan Cleverly lost his unbeaten record with defeat against Sergey Kovalev.

It's been a depressing few weeks on the British beat with the sport left reeling from news that the heavyweight duel between Tyson Fury and David Haye has been postponed due to the latter picking up six stitches in one of his final sparring sessions.

The scrapping of the bill also means that Scott Quigg will have to wait for his world title chance with his WBA world super-bantamweight shot set for the same bill also falling through as a result.

Happily the Haye v Fury fight has been rescheduled for February 8, giving both protagonists a few extra weeks to polish both their hyperbole and their combinations.

Nathan Cleverly lost his unbeaten record and his WBO world light-heavyweight title when he was bombed out by Russian powerhouse Sergey Kovalev in Cardiff.

Clev never got into the fight and the writing was on the wall after he was twice dumped on his rump in the third round of their bout. The end came a round later and on this evidence Kovalev certainly looks the real deal.

Elsewhere, Ricky Burns put in another uninspiring shift but somehow managed to retain his WBO lightweight title against Raymundo Beltran.

Burns suffered a broken jaw in round two and was dropped in round eight, held for much of the fight (without being deducted a point) but still managed to claim a draw amid silence at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow.

Make no mistake Beltran, a boxing nearly man who has given his heart and soul to the sport down the years, won the fight. It was his night. But 'they' took it from him and frankly the judge who gave it to Burns by three rounds at the end should surely never officiate at the top level again.

Add to all that the sudden death of famed trainer, matchmaker and manager Dean Powell and it's clear that the noble art on these shores has enjoyed happier times.

One ray of sunshine amidst all the gloom however has to be the latest performance of Billy Joe Saunders. The 24-year-old edged a close and often thrilling battle with big domestic rival John Ryder at the Copper Box Arena recently.

Both men left it all in the ring and their reputations were enhanced as a result but it was Saunders who got on the nod via a close but unanimous decision. He's not the most hurtful puncher in the world but Saunders is fit, game, busy and has massive cojones. The win leaves him one win away from making history by becoming the first Traveller to win a Lonsdale belt outright.

On the same bill Saunders' former Olympic team-mate Frankie Gavin was underlining just why he's being touted as a future world star as he cruised to victory against David Barnes.

Gavin, who stopped Denton Vassell last time out, won at a canter against Barnes and showed glimpses as to why Frank Warren sees the Birmingham stylist as a world champion in waiting.

Britain's only world amateur champion is now 16-0 and having secured a Lonsdale belt outright with his latest win can now plot a route into Europe and beyond. pound-for-pound British top 10:

1 Carl Froch
2 David Haye
3 Kell Brook
4 Amir Khan
5 Scott Quigg
6 Carl Frampton
7 Ricky Burns
8 Tyson Fury
9 Nathan Cleverly
10 George Groves

Honourable mentions: Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders, Darren Baker and Martin Murray.

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