Boxing: Britons ready for world stage

Cleverly and Mitchell show title credentials with impressive displays at Wembley

Nathan Cleverly and Kevin Mitchell emphatically underscored their potential as the rising stars of British boxing with sparkling and spectacular victories at Wembley last night which have pushed them to the forefront as world title contenders.

Maths student Cleverly, 23 this week, added the vacant European light-heavyweight title to the British and Commonwealth crowns in a short career of just 19 pro fights by stopping his best opponent yet, the Italian Antonio Brancalion, in five rounds. It was his sixth successive KO. Mitchell, chirpy and confident, knocked out Colombia's Ignacio Mendoza with a thundering right hand to retain his WBO inter-continental lightweight title in just two rounds.

For promoter Frank Warren, the night was an opportunity to show that there is life in his stable after his prize thoroughbred Amir Khan's defection to America's Golden Boy. In Cleverly and Mitchell he has two home-grown golden boys. Here was proof that Britain indeed has talent and that Cleverly and Mitchell, together with the Olympians James DeGale and Frankie Gavin who both improved their records to six fights without defeat, have the X-factor.

Cleverly graduates from university in May, and last night showed he may well be on the way to an honours degree in the noble art. Brancalion may not have been world-class but he was no mug. The young Welshman has a smart head on his shoulders and he out-boxed and then clinically dismantle the 34-year-old Italian. This victory manoeuvres him into the world's top 10, and title contenders will be wary of his powerful and accurate right-hand punches.

Brancalion's legs began to wobble under a systematic assault in the fourth and he was floored as the bell sounded at the end of the round. Cleverly stepped up the pace in the fifth, the French referee rescuing Brancalion after 1min 15sec as two more solid rights thudded on to his jaw.

"This was my most mature performance," he said. "I picked my shots and my progress has been astronomical really, but I know I need to show more patience. The European title is a good platform to move on to world level."

If anyone has the clout and charisma to be Warren's new Khan it is Mitchell, the 25-year-old London lightweight now unbeaten in 31 contests. After moving up from super-featherweight to show Khan the way to beat his one-round nemesis Breidis Prescott in December, Mitchell dealt brutally and brilliantly with the 26-year-old Mendoza, knocking him out with a peach of a punch after 1min 24sec of the second round.

The Madrid-based Mendoza just never knew what hit him. After an opening round in which Mitchell coolly counter-punched and boxed thoughtfully, he opened up in the second, lifting Mendoza off the floor with a right hand which landed flush on the jaw. Mendoza was counted out and had to be helped to his feet.

Immediately negotiations have begun for Mitchell to fight for the WBO title against the lively Australian Michael Katsidis. "I'd relish the chance," he said. "When Amir was fighting it was always the Amir Khan show, now it's the Kevin Mitchell show. It's all about me. Tonight I wanted to show I had power as well as boxing ability and it worked. Bang."

Super-middleweight DeGale, the Olympic champion fighting for the first time in his home town, stopped fellow southpaw Matthew Barr midway through the second round.

Gavin, also a southpaw, was taken the six-round distance for the first time but the Birmingham welterweight, who is Britain's only world amateur champion, won every round against the former Irish champion Peter McDonagh with a fine exhibition of back-foot boxing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game