Glenn McCrory: British boxing in golden era
Former IBF cruiserweight world champion Glenn McCrory believes British boxing is currently in a "golden age" thanks to the current crop of fighters.
IBF super-middleweight champion Carl Froch and WBO light-heavyweight holder Nathan Cleverly are just two to have impressed McCrory in a strong field.
"Nationally the current state of boxing is fantastic, we're entering a golden era," McCrory told BBC Look North.
McCrory's sparring fame
Prior to become a world champion, McCrory went to Los Angeles to spar with then heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson.
"I got a call from Beau Williford and he asked if I would come out and do a bit of sparring with Mike.
"It was a wonderful time, very scary and very hard work. Every day in sparring was like a world title fight. Oliver McCall was there, James Broad, great names. He was bashing them up. To be in that company was wonderful.
"I was very quick, I made sure I used my speed. I gained Mike's respect and he loved it. I did 96 rounds with him and it was great work."
"I've never seen such a crop ever like what we have had."
The 2012 Olympics showed the strength of the British amateur ranks, with gold medals for Hull bantamweight Luke Campbell and Watford-born super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua to add to British boxing's professional achievements.
Meanwhile, within McCrory's native north east, the loss of Sunderland's Tony Jeffries to the sport through retirement has been offset by success for British cruiserweight champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson.
"We came out top of the medals table at the Olympics in boxing, which is phenomenal," McCrory added.
"Look at the fights we've got coming up - Kell Brook, Gavin Rees, Carl Froch, Nathan Cleverly, Ricky Burns - they're all at world title level.
"Locally, it's now picking up again too, I think we're going to see an era where we'll see fighters to match the likes of me, Billy Hardy, John Davison coming along again.
"There's a lot of interest there and kids are turning professional earlier, and the future looks very bright."