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Written by Ian Wallwork

Big Ben chimed and fireworks exploded last night as the world welcomed 2012. It's going to be an exciting year; we've got the London Olympics, the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, and the end of the world as predicted by the ancient Mayan race.

Boxing-wise the calender is already filling up. I talked about the first three months of the year here, where we've got guys like Jesus Chavez Jr and Erik Morales fighting. A two deal fight between Carl Froch and Lucian Bute was confirmed last night. One bout will be in Canada and the other in Froch's hometown of Nottingham. I think it's a great bit of business for two reasons.

First, it's good that we get one of the fights in the UK. This is the biggest fight to be made in super middleweight without mentioning Andre Ward, and UK fans have been starved of hometown action over the last twelve months. Second, Froch couldn't have acted better on his defeat to Andre Ward. He was gracious in his loss on the night when he praised Ward's ability, but more importantly he has gotten right back on it by taking on a top-three opponent.

Compare this to Amir Khan's behavior after his loss to Lamont Peterson, where the former champion has done nothing but bitch about the decision and talk about fighting Floyd Mayweather. Froch does British boxing a good turn with the way he acts abroad.

The next Brit fighting this year is Derry Matthews, the lightweight last seen holding EBU champ Gavin Rees to a draw. Matthews will fight on January 20th against Emiliano Marsili, with the IBO title on the line. Marsili is 23-0 but he is thirty-five years old and hasn't beat anyone significant. This is also going to be his first time fighting out of Italy, with the bout being held in Matthews' hometown of Liverpool. I expect Matthews to take this one and win his first world title.

At Punchbag Blog we're going to introduce some new features over the year ahead. First up we want to do some coverage of fights, most likely via round by round updates where we score the fight as we go along. We want you to join us in this and see what we all think of the fights we see.

Secondly, you can expect more on local fights right here in Britain. I'm going to try and get down to a few fights in person this year, with the main one being Froch-Bute. I will sell my grandma to get tickets to that. I'd love to cover some of the events over in Vegas, but it would cost £1000 just to get there. Travelling to Manchester or Liverpool will cost me all of £10. It's a no-brainer.

We're also going to introduce a Punchbag Blog pound for pound list and maybe even a top five in each weight class. If we do, we'd appreciate you guys taking the time to tell us your p4p lists too. Boxing discussions don't get any more heated than when people compare their opinions on who the best in the world are. If you don't agree with our list, then hopefully you will disagree enough to tell us why we are wrong. It could be fun.

So, I hope you all had great nights last night and that your hangovers aren't too severe this morning. Happy 2012 everyone.

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Boxing Fixtures 2012
The Best British Boxers - Part One