Five Manchester boxers who became world champions

Manchester boxing is firmly back on the map after Tyson Fury’s emphatic seventh round victory over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Fury became unified heavyweight world champion when he beat Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in November 2015, but against Wilder on Saturday he found another gear in a legendary boxing masterclass.

It’s been an eventful few years since his win over Klitschko, but the Gypsy King is back where he belongs and is a rightful world champion.

Fury is a champion with a larger-than-life personality, as his story with mental health struggles show.

The city he’s from certainly doesn’t lack personality, and neither do past world champions from Manchester.

MM takes a look at five other Mancunians aside of Fury who have won world boxing titles in the twenty-first century.

1. Ricky Hatton (Super-lightweight/Welterweight)

‘The Hitman’ Hatton was a rough-and-ready fighter who always gave as good as he got in the ring.

The blood and guts scrapper became a two-weight world champion midway through the first decade of the twenty-first century.

British, particularly Mancunian boxing fans, fell in love with Hatton’s ring style and personality. And they did so even more in 2005 when he upset the odds to beat Australia’s Kostya Tszyu at the MEN Arena to become a super-lightweight world champion.

He became a unified world champion at that weight when he beat Carlos Maussa later that year, before moving up to welterweight and becoming a world champion in the division above.

Fighting pound-for-pound welterweight kings Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao in Vegas in 2007 and 2009 proved a step too far, but it certainly didn’t ruin a stellar boxing career for a stellar champion from Manchester.

Hatton’s good work inside and outside the ring certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed either, he was inducted into the Manchester City of Champions Hall of Fame in four months ago.

“I have received many awards over the years, but to receive an award from your own city is special and it means a lot to me. It makes me very proud,” Hatton said last week.

2. Anthony Crolla (Lightweight)

Like Fury and Hatton did with their mental health struggles, ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla also suffered adversity outside the ring.

In December 2014, he was hit by a burglar with a concrete slab after he confronted two robbers who tried to raid his neighbour’s house in Chadderton near Oldham – tackling one of them only for the other to perform an act of cowardice towards Crolla.

Crolla suffered a fractured skull and was lucky to be alive, but he didn’t let it affect him. The brave Mancunian became WBA lightweight world champion seven months later, beating Darleys Perez at the MEN Arena in July 2015.

Crolla defended his title against the same opponent four months later and Ismael Barraso the following year.

But as Mayweather and Pacquiao were for Hatton, Venezuelan Jorge Linares and ‘Matrix’ Vasyl Lomachenko both beat Crolla who bowed out of boxing with victory over Frank Urquiaga in Manchester in November.

3. Scott Quigg (Super-bantamweight)

Another Mancunian former world champion comes in the shape of Bury’s Scott Quigg, who claimed the WBA world super-bantamweight title in 2012 by beating Leicester’s Rendall Munroe.

After their first match ended in a technical draw at the Velodrome following a nasty third round clash of heads, Quigg settled the scores at the MEN Arena five months later with a sixth round TKO of Munroe.

He defended his WBA belt six times before Carl Frampton edged him out via a split decision in a unification bout in 2016.

4. Terry Flanagan (Lightweight)

Flanagan last year had two world title fights in the same division as Hatton made his name – super-lightweight.

But like Hatton, Flanagan moved up from the division below after making five defences of his WBO lightweight title which he won when he beat Mexican-American Jose Zepeda at the Velodrome in 2015.

The Crumpsall-born southpaw gave a good account of himself at super-lightweight last year against world champion Maurice Hooker and Regis Prograis, taking both fighters all the way to the final bell only to lose on points both times.

Prograis endured a war in his narrow points defeat to Josh Taylor in their October unification bout at super-lightweight, while Hooker was stopped in the other unification bout between him and Jose Ramirez in July.

Since moving back down to lightweight, Flanagan has won three fights out of three.

5. Amir Khan (Super-lightweight)

Bolton’s Amir Khan has been around in boxing for a while. He’s had 40 fights since making his pro debut in 2004.

The 33-year-old became a British Commonwealth champion at lightweight in 2007 at the age of just 21.

Khan soon became a world level fighter, and earned his first official world title at super-lightweight when he beat Ukraine’s Andriy Kotelnik via unanimous decision in Manchester in July 2009 to win the WBA world title.

Like Taylor did in October against Prograis, Khan unified and won the WBA and IBF titles in 2011 against Zab Judah before defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.

Khan has had another two shots at world titles since, against world boxing stars Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2016 at middleweight and Terrence Crawford in 2019 at welterweight.

He was well beaten on both occasions, but it doesn’t take the gloss of his more than respectable boxing career, particularly in his younger days.


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