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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Pa Sport Staff

Can Fury-Chisora trilogy fight compare to all-time British classics?

PA Wire

Tyson Fury has announced an all-British fight for December – though not against the opponent many expected.

Fury has spent the year calling out Anthony Joshua for what would surely have been the biggest domestic fight of all time, but, after no deal was struck, old foe Derek Chisora has stepped in for a clash at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 3 December.

The pair have fought twice before, making their rivalry a trilogy, though given the one-sided nature of it so far, few will expect this contest to end in anything other than a Fury win.

But there have been plenty of unforgettable all-British affairs in the past, and could this be another? Here, PA news agency explores some of the others.

Carl Froch v George Groves II – 31 May, 2014, Wembley Stadium

Months earlier, a highly contentious stoppage saw Froch retain his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles and lit the touch paper for an immediate return. A post-war British record attendance of 80,000 – since surpassed by Anthony Joshua’s fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 – watched on as Froch conclusively ended the rivalry and brought the curtain down on his own career in perfect fashion by flattening Groves with a crushing overhand right in the eighth round of another absorbing battle.

Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno – 1 October, 1993, Cardiff Arms Park

National identity was at the heart of this heavyweight grudge match as Bruno questioned the validity of Lewis’ Britishness, having seen his rival win Olympic gold for Canada in 1988 before reverting to the country of his birth after turning professional. Bruno adopted the moniker ‘True Brit’ and was ahead on the scorecards until he was tagged by a wild left hook and, slumped against the ropes, he was stopped in the seventh round as the unbeaten Lewis successfully defended his WBC title for a second time.

Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank – 18 November, 1990, Birmingham National Exhibition Centre

The pair were polar opposites in personalities and a bitterly hostile feud raged for years even after two enthralling bouts, with their brutal first meeting one for the ages. Eubank’s mouth was bloodied and Benn’s left eye swollen shut as they each weathered savage blows. But it was Eubank who left with the WBO middleweight title after Benn was sent reeling back to the ropes and ruefully stopped on his feet. A rematch three years later ended in a debatable draw and attempts at a third fight fell flat. Considered two of the best fighters from these isles, they have buried the hatchet in recent years.

Henry Cooper v Joe Bugner – 16 March, 1971, Wembley Empire Pool

Cooper, who had twice fallen short against Muhammad Ali earlier in his career, was approaching his 37th birthday when he defended his British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles against 21-year-old Bugner. The youngster’s circumspect but effective approach earned him few fans but he was declared the winner by a quarter of a point by referee Harry Gibbs in a verdict disputed by many. Cooper was irate, ending his celebrated career shortly afterwards while refusing to speak to Gibbs for many years.

Josh Taylor v Jack Catterall – 26 February, 2022, Glasgow OVO Hydro

Taylor had hoovered up all four major world super-lightweight titles, seeing off his last six opponents with an awesome combined record of 136 wins and one defeat. But the Scot was given his toughest test by mandatory challenger Catterall, the Chorley fighter who knocked down and seemingly outboxed the hometown favourite over 12 rounds in a battle of two undefeated fighters. However, Taylor was given the nod via split decision, an outcome that has led to plenty of soul-searching in the weeks since then.

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