A guide to Britain's super-flyweights

The rarest breed of British boxer is the super-flyweight. With only five men competing at the 8st 3lbs weight limit, it's little surprise that domestic campaigners often have to look outside their preferred weight division to land fights.
This problem was recently illustrated when current British champion Lee Haskins took a fight in Morocco at two weeks' notice. With few options available, what else could he do to get a world ranking?
Such brave moves are essential for our current crop of super-flyweights.Here's a guide to the five active fighters in the division...1. Lee Haskins W22 (KO 11) L2 (KO 2)There would appear to be little domestic competition for the unorthodox British champion. He landed the British title by defeating champion Andy Bell in 2008 on a close points decision before going on to upset the oddsmakers and wrestle the commonwealth belt (which he was later stripped of for his subsequent failure to defend it) from Don Broadhurst a year later. And it really was a wrestle. Time and again the awkward southpaw and orthodox stylist became entangled in what turned out to be a terrible advert for an increasingly moribund division.For his part, Haskins was able to use his superior strength and lateral movement to outhustle and ultimately baffle his opponent over the course of the fight.
Yet, Haskins is no spoiler. He's a heavy-handed super-flyweight a fact borne out by 11 victories inside the distance - but he's also a skilful boxer with a good repertoire of punches.
'The Playboy's' most recent win perfectly illustrated the full range of his abilities. Haskins outclassed Frenchman Mohamed Bouleghcha to land the WBA intercontinental title (up at bantamweight) in Morocco after accepting the fight at short notice. He forced the local favourite, who had never been knocked down, to take a couple of counts over the course of the twelve rounds. It's a victory which leaves the 27 year-old Bristolian ranked number 12 by the WBA.The two career defeats that Haskins suffered at bantamweight are now four years in the past, and his current rate of development suggests these were lessons learned rather than innate weaknesses set to be exposed again.
2. Don Broadhurst W11 (KO 3) L2 (KO 0)Though ranked as the second best super-flyweight in Britain, Broadhurst's career trajectory hastaken an alarming downward turn. It seems that Haskins not only dismantled the 27 year-old's rhythm and poise but also his confidence over the course of their drab 12 round encounter. After tasting defeat for the first time and losing his Commonwealth title - he moved up to bantamweight to face former Iraqi Olympian Najah Ali. Once again, Broadhurst lost a points decision in a fight he was expected to win.
Broadhurst has an impressive pedigree, winning the ABAs in 2005 and coming away with a commonwealth gold in 2006. However, that was in the amateur code. When inspecting his 11-fight professional record prior to the Haskins defeat, it's clear that he was relatively untested. Arguably, his toughest opponent was Ghanaian Isaac Quaye a man who himself had an inflated 10-3 record prior to their inaugural commonwealth title scrap.For Broadhurst to get back on track, he needs to develop a few rougher edges to complement his smooth boxing style and accept that cute boxing skills alone won't suffice.
3. Jamie Conlan W7 (KO 4) L0 Belfast's Jamie Conlan made an impressive start to his professional career with five victories in the space of 13 months. That's no mean feat considering the lack of options at this level and suggests the 24 year-old has the hunger and ambition to maximise his potential. He's remained busy in 2011 with another points win over the ever-present Delroy Spencer and an impressive knockout victory over Kyle King. King had never been stopped.There has been talk of Conlon facing local rival Luke Wilton who currently campaigns at flyweight and you'd to have to fancy the bigger man if the fight is made. One possible concern for Conlan may be cosmetic: he has the pale thin-skinned features of a fighter liable to cut easily. If Haskins was to vacate the British title, a match-up with Broadhurst would be of real interest and on current form could go either way.
4. James Mulhern W3 (KO 0) L0James 'Where Are They Now?' Mulhern has been out of the ring for over a year and has only had three fights since turning professional in 2008. There have been reports that Mulhern's progress has been hampered by hand injuries, which is a shame because he has showed some early progress. Will we see the Coventry man make his annual appearance in the ring this year? Time is ticking...
5. Anwar Alfadli W1 (KO 0) L15 (KO 1) D2Though his record tells a miserable story of routine defeat, Alfadli is as tricky a customer as you would expect from someone fighting out of the Ingle stable. The fact that he has only been stopped once and has found himself on the wrong side of a few tight decisions bears this out. His loose switch-hitting style usually makes for interesting match-ups and offers an important learning experience for the young inexperienced prospects he routinely gets fed. It's easy to forget that he's only 23 himself.Next up, Alfadli pits his unorthodox stylings against Zhanat Zhakiyanov, a Kazakhstanian with an impressive14-1 resume. Can he pull off an upset?

8/15/2011

 
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