When Ultimate Boxxer returns to BoxNation on Friday 13th December, live from Manchester, it will be Heavyweights who take centre stage.

Eight men will be battling out for £50,000 in prize money and fighting with pride, passion and skill.

The Ultimate Boxxer format guarantees excitement and knockouts with the winner having to win three fights inside three hours to trouser the winners’ cheque and golden robe.

Fans love the Heavyweight division and some of British boxing’s greatest nights have come when the big boys have been trading leather.

BoxNation pundit, Steve Lillis, recollects five great Heavyweight nights when British stars went to battle:


October 1st 1993, Cardiff Arms Park

Lennox Lewis Frank Bruno

It was the biggest ever all-British Heavyweight fight – the first time two men from Blighty had fought each other for a slice of sports richest prize with Lewis defending the WBC belt.

In the UK it was all that mattered – front page, back page and centre spread. The battle marked Sky Television’s arrival as a major player when they paid well over $1 million to stage the contest.

Lewis earned $5 million and Bruno $2 million for the showdown that made boxing the trendy sport of Brits. Bruno’s lawyer Henri Brandman even slapped a writ on Lewis at a press conference for slander.

More than 26 years have passed since Lewis, who had been unwell pre-fight, came from behind to stop his bitter rival, but the memories will remain part of British boxing folklore.


March 16th 1971, Empire Pool, Wembley

Henry Cooper Joe Bugner

[Image credit: Chronicle Live]

Back then there was one World Champion for every weight division and Cooper's luck wasn’t in then or in his final fight against Joe Bugner in March 1971 when the British, Commonwealth and European Titles were on the line over 15 rounds.

Bugner was the young braggart and Cooper the grizzled veteran a couple months away from his 37th birthday. After a fierce contest referee Harry Gibbs made Bugner the winner by ¼ of a point, and it remains one of the most disputed results in British sporting history.

It made Bugner hugely unpopular. He and Cooper never spoke for 37 years and finally buried the hatchet with a handshake and a hug in 2008.


March 6th 1991, Wembley Arena

Lennox Lewis Mason

Rising star Lewis was risking his European crown whilst Gary Mason but his British belt on the line in a fight christened the biggest all-British Heavyweight fight since Cooper-Bugner.

It was Lennox’s 15th professional fight and his first serious test, with Mason the owner of an intimidating undefeated record of 35-0 (32 KOs).

Mason showed his heart was king sized by fighting almost blind in one eye until Larry O'Connell stepped in after seven rounds.
That fight showed how good Lewis was. Lewis always spoke highly about the testing time Mason gave him that night. Given Mason's record, plenty thought he would be the man to topple Lewis, who was simply too good for his London rival.

Lewis would go onto achieve world honours, whereas Mason is now remembered as one the best British Heavyweights never to get a World Title shot.


July 14th 2012, Upton Park

Haye Chisora

It started with a fist fight at a press conference and ended with Haye and Chisora hugging in front of 35,000 fans at Upton Park after the fight lived up to the hype.

They were always going to settle their differences in the ring since their ugly press conference brawl moments after Chisora’s gallant points defeat against WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko in February 2012.

After a nervy opener Haye landed his own heavy ammo in round two including a naughty shot after the bell, which led to a stern warning from referee Luis Pabon.

In round three, Chisora stormed back, wobbling Haye with a right hand which he’d been looking to detonate since the first bell.
Round four was explosive, and Chisora had more success than at any other time. Haye still looked in front, but the match hung in the balance.

Haye was tired and it looked unlikely he would last the 10 round distance, but that became academic when he landed a huge left hook which dropped Chisora.

Amazingly Dereck rose at five, but another flurry dropped him again and although he beat the count Pabon made the correct decision and stopped the contest.


October 24th 1987, White Hart Lane

Frank Bruno Joe Bugner

Bugner, who was now an adopted Aussie, returned home still a public enemy for beating Henry Cooper and was now aiming to topple another British darling.

‘Aussie Joe’ had a couple of semi-decent wins before-hand to boost his hopes, but was no match for Bruno who went on to lose to Mike Tyson in his next fight 16 months later.

Bugner tried to use his head to unsettle Bruno in the opening rounds, but the Londoner who was 12 years his junior quickly settled.
The older man tired from the sixth and although his pride kept his night going his corner threw in the towel after another barrage as round eight ended.