One of the most sought after titles in British Boxing’s history, the Lord Lonsdale belt. The beautiful blue, white and red strap around your waist was something fresh talent would dream of. Three successful defences and the title is yours to keep forever on your mantelpiece alongside a place in the history books.
An outright winner of this title is however a rarity in the sport today, the last boxer to win the British title outright was current World champion Billy Joe Saunders beating Nick Blackwell to the vacant middleweight title in 2012 going on to successfully defend it against Matthew Hall, John Ryder and then finally Chris Eubank Jr to win the belt for keeps in 2014. Nearly 2 and a half years have passed since then and only now could we have our next outright winner of the title. Scott Cardle seeks to be the first boxer in any weight division since to win this prestigious title outright but why is this?
Ohara Davies was made mandatory to face Tyrone Nurse for his British title (which he could win outright a week after Cardles attempt.) but OD decided to go a different route. Since then the classy Nurse has continued to defend his title next facing Joe Hughes in Leicester April 22nd. Davies however has won the WBC silver title and retired a warrior in Derry Matthews, now don’t think for one second I am rating the WBC silver as a better belt than the Lonsdale but boxing is about rankings and progression, something Ohara has gained over Nurse.
Time is something that is not on your side when it comes to a career which not only takes its toll on a humans body but one that could end in an instant, as the saying goes, ‘You don’t get paid overtime in boxing’. Current Welterweight British champ Bradley Skeete’s mandatory challenger today is Shayne Singleton, a mandatory position which was gained over 12 months prior to the scheduled fight date between these two men, the fifth fight date for this proposed fight date. Is it worth the wait? Many believed Skeete would be challenging for World honours by now.
World honours is the aim for any professional boxer, the British title is now in my opinion a stepping stone to a world title. Terry Flanagan won the British title and never defended it, within three fights Turbo had won a European title and the world title he still holds to this day. Chris Eubank Jr is another example of this. Jr won his British title at the second attempt and he did defend it once against Welshman Tom Doran then in his next fight eight months later Eubank Jr like his father before him won a disputed version of a world title.
To conclude it seems fighters who want to win this strap outright are a dying breed with the next generation of fighters opting to either vacate the title before three successive defences or even avoiding taking the title shots at all. The availability of these silver titles and international titles are damaging the future of the Lonsdale belt.
Written by James Lupton.