Danny Flexen selects 3 UK boxers who have recently suffered their first defeat but can come back strong this year
They all suffered a first professional defeat in 2019, but I predict these three UK boxers will enjoy a return to form in the coming year.
The Glasgow talent looked rather unfortunate to lose his British bantamweight title to Edinburgh’s Commonwealth king Lee McGregor in their gripping November 12-rounder. Even disregarding the point deducted from McGregor’s score for holding, the slicker, more active Farooq appeared to have done enough. He had previously caused quite a stir in winning and securing the Lonsdale Belt, all within a year. Kash was signed by Matchroom the following month and only turns 24 tomorrow (happy birthday). He will be guided smoothly back to top domestic level and beyond.
You wait 26 fights for your first world title chance, and earn a mandatory shot, only to fall just short in a drab affair with a contentious verdict. Awkward, effective Galahad dropped a split decision to IBF feather king Josh Warrington in the latter’s Leeds stronghold in June, but gets an eliminator for the same belt next month, against Claudio Marrero of the Dominican Republic. It’s a winnable opportunity and in the Sheffield man’s home city, so expect the 29-year-old to get a second bite at the cherry.
Despite a conclusive ending to his WBO light-heavyweight title challenge in August, when a wily Sergey Kovalev recovered from a nightmare eighth round to knock him out in the 11th in Russia, Yarde emerged from the defeat with more positives than negatives. The Londoner proved competitive and, though behind, nearly stopped the far more experience champion before succumbing to Kovalev and his own exhaustion. Yarde (28) and his team have little interest in easing back, with a WBO eliminator against Maxim Vlasov being negotiated for early this year. Their vacant 175lb belt should soon be disputed between Gilberto Ramirez and Umar Salamov, so the Yarde vs Vlasov victor will be in pole position to challenge the new champ.