Wales’ two-weight world title hopefuls

As ex-cruiserweight king Enzo Maccarinelli prepares for a tilt at Juergen Braehmer’s WBA light-heavyweight crown, here’s a look at the other men who’ve had a shot at becoming Wales’ first two-weight world champion.

Enzo Maccarinelli‘s career looked to be on a downward spiral after he lost his WBO world cruiserweight crown to David Haye in 2008.

Enzo Maccarinelli

Could Maccarinelli become Wales’ first two-weight world champion? (Photo: Enzo Maccarinelli, Facebook)

But a drop in weight to light-heavyweight has been part of a remarkable recovery by the Swansea banger, who has now won a shot at Juergen Braehmer’s WBA light-heavyweight belt.

He will be a big underdog, but – should he win – Maccarinelli will go down in history as Wales’ first two-weight world champion.

It was a goal that Nathan Cleverly also had in his sights, the Cefn Fforest man targeting cruiserweight glory after losing his WBO light-heavyweight crown to Sergey Kovalev.

Cleverly has yet to fight since that defeat, though, leaving the way to the history books clear for Maccarinelli.

The last Welshman to have had such an opportunity was Gavin Rees.

The diminutive Newbridge man made a most unlikely move up to light-welterweight to claim his WBA world crown.

When he lost his first defence in 2008 he followed the more unusual two-weight route taken by Maccarinelli, dropping down in weight to pursue his future ambitions.

The switch paid off, Rees enjoying an 11-fight unbeaten run at lightweight that took him to British and European titles and a shot at Adrien Broner’s WBC crown.

The American, then being hailed as boxing’s next superstar, proved too strong in their February 2013 showdown, stopping a brave Rees in the fifth.

Joe Calzaghe can perhaps class himself as the most unfortunate man not to have claimed the two-weight world-champion mantle, falling victim to boxing politics and the alphabet title conundrum.

Robbie Regan (right) with Jamie Arthur (Photo: Robbie Regan, Facebook)

Robbie Regan (right) with Jamie Arthur (Photo: Robbie Regan, Facebook)

After long struggles with such problems at super-middleweight, Calzaghe finally unified the division before choosing to move up to light-heavyweight for his final two fights.

At the new weight he defeated living legends Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr on their US homeground to earn the acknowledgement of Ring Magazine as the world’s leading light-heavyweight.

But neither the Hopkins nor Jones bouts were recognised by any of the four acknowledged world bodies – the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO – as being for a version of the world title.

On this particular occasion, Calzaghe was denied an entry in the history books.

The other Welshman to have come closest to two-weight glory was Robbie Regan.

The Cefn Fforest man lost his first world title opportunity, stopped in nine rounds in his 1995 challenge for Alberto Jimenez’s WBO flyweight title.

In his next bout he defeated Ferid Ben Jeddou to claim the interim IBF flyweight title, but before fighting for the full crown he moved up to bantamweight for a shot at Daniel Jimenez’s WBO belt.

Regan won that one, but it would prove to be his last fight as medical problems ended his career.

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