The best of Morson Sport: 2019 in review
From the worlds of rugby union, boxing, horse racing and now rugby league, we look back at our sporting highlights that defined 2019 #TeamMorson
Overcoming Challenges in Sport and Business Event
This past April we arranged the biggest event on the Morson sporting calendar, our ‘Overcoming Challenges in Business and Sport’ event at Hotel Football. Dominic McGuinness hosted an acclaimed panel from various sporting disciplines with Bryan Robson, Ricky Hatton, Mark Cueto and Harry Derham all sharing their stories of success and lessons learnt.
During the panel, Bryan Robson reminisced on his Premier League title wins and how Sir Alex helped him transfer his skills into management, whilst Ricky Hatton looked back on his famous Vegas fights and world title wins. Ex-England and Sale Sharks player, Mark Cueto, also discussed his playing career and his move into the commercial world with the sharks. With the event taking place prior to the Grand National, Harry Derham highlighted how the major race has increased in scale in the modern era and offered advice on ones to watch for his fellow panelists.
The event was brilliant in highlighting the ups and downs on the road to success, the importance of mentors and the incredible sporting moments Morson have been involved in over the past few years. We couldn’t have been prouder to bring such admired athletes together in front of a captivated audience and look to hold similar events in the years to come.
This year saw Morson's array of world class boxers competing on some of the grandest stages in the sport. From the Staples Centre in LA to the world-renowned Madison Square Garden in New York, this was undoubtedly the biggest platform for our fighters since Ricky Hatton competed against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas back in 2007.
Anthony Crolla secured a dream match-up with one of the most admired and awe-inspiring athletes in the sport, Vasyl Lomachenko, back in April. Even though Anthony came up short, it was a massive testament to how far the Moston man had come. From being counted out early in his career, to surviving a life-threatening injury and then going on to fight the sport’s elite, after winning a world title himself.
After securing the biggest pay day of his career, Anthony turned to coaching throughout the summer, as he guided Dylan Evans to a couple of impressive wins. We followed Crolla during his first night as a coach at Kieran Farrell’s show in May and it was brilliant to see him on the other side of the ropes, sharing all the knowledge he has learnt from the sport over the years with a young, up and coming talent.
With talk of retirement being in the background for the past couple of years, the former WBA champion decided that November was the right time to enter the ring for the last time at the place he had made his own, the Manchester Arena. A comfortable win over Frank Urquiaga served as the final bow for Crolla and he reflected on his illustrious career at a recent panel event at Adamson House. We couldn’t be prouder for one of the great representatives we have had over the years.
Callum Smith began the year raising awareness for autism at our Q&A event in Liverpool alongside his brothers, Paul and Stephen. During the event the three brothers gave an insight into their family’s experience taking care of their 18- year old sister, Hollie, who struggles with severe autism. This was an informative event for a great cause and allowed the attending audience to get to know Liverpool’s most famous boxing family even more.
Callum returned to the ring on one of the biggest cards in recent history on June 1st as he served as the co-main event to Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Smith retained his super-middleweight world titles in dominant fashion as he stopped Hassan N’Dam in the third round.
Next up for Smith was mandatory challenger, John Ryder in a fight that many believed would be a straightforward victory for the Morson fighter. The fight turned out to be tougher than expected, with John Ryder putting in a valiant effort that forced Callum to dig deep to secure the victory on points.
This now places the 29-year-old in position to fight some of the biggest names in the sport in 2020 with Canelo, Genady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders all on the radar.
The Best of the Rest
We predicted that Morson's Nathan Gorman would compete in one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights of the year against fellow rising star, Daniel Dubois and that finally happened in July. The fight was an all-out war whilst it lasted, with both men having success in the opening rounds. It was always going to be a case of whoever landed the bigger shot first, had a high likelihood of sealing the win and in this case, it was Daniel Dubois. The 22-year-old secured the first knockdown in the third round and finished the fight in the fifth.
History has shown that some of the greatest world champions have been made through growing from their experience from early setbacks, and we have no doubt that Nathan will come back stronger than ever in 2020.
Elsewhere, Robbie Davies Jr went 2-1 in his three fights this year. Winning the European super-lightweight title against Joe Hughes and narrowly being defeated in a fight of the year contender by Lewis Ritson means that the Liverpudlian is still in line for some intriguing fights next year.
Kieran Farrell continued to grow his brand as a promoter and trainer, with a number of brilliant fight nights from Kieran Farrell Promotions in the Greater Manchester Area this year. Kieran was also in the corner of his brother, Nathan, who made his pro-debut this year and ended the year 3-0. After Kieran watched Nathan battle depression and a career threatening injury, seeing his brother fight on two of Eddie Hearn’s biggest domestic shows has got to be up there with the career best moments for Team Morson’s Kieran Farrell.
Sale Sharks’ steady growth continued as the side competed for a top four position for much of the second half of the 18/19 season. However, slip ups in winnable games such as Newcastle and Worcester saw the Sharks finish the season in seventh. Despite missing out on a targeted Champions Cup qualifying top six spot, Steve Diamond’s side still secured a place in Europe’s elite competition due to being the highest ranked non-qualifying club from the same league as the Champions Cup winner.
Heading into the 19/20 season, Steve Diamond recruited an array of international talent with the likes of the Du Preez brothers and Akker van Der Merwe reinforcing an already stacked squad. Key stars such as Faf De Klerk, Tom Curry and AJ MacGinty were missed at the beginning of the season due to representing their respective countries at the World Cup from September until November. It was a very strong showing from Sale on the world stage, with four players representing the club in the final between South Africa and England and it was ultimately Faf De Klerk’s South Africa that were crowned champions.
We caught up with Faf, Tom Curry, Mark Wilson and Valery Morozov at Sale Sharks Supporter’s Club’s panel event, as the four reflected on their experiences from Japan and looked ahead to the upcoming season with their club.
Sale currently sit at fourth in the Premiership, after an impressive win over league leaders, Northampton at the weekend has set up a promising season ahead.
Morson were proud to join Salford Red Devils as headline sponsors heading into the 2020 Super League season. The Grand Final runners up represented Morson in the Old Trafford game against St Helens, sporting our famous caps and will be proudly wearing Morson on their home and away jerseys next year. We look forward to adding coverage to a new sport in rugby league and will be following Salford every step of the way
Earlier in the year we travelled to Somerset for Paul Nicholls annual press day ahead of Cheltenham. The event served as an opportunity to watch the Cheltenham runners train, be paraded and have exclusive discussions with Paul Nicholls and Harriet Tucker. One of the proudest moments for Morson in the horse racing world this year was Harry Cobden guiding ‘Give me a Copper to victory at Wincanton and taking home the badger beer trophy. The victory was met with elation as Paul, Ged Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated their win as owners.
We will be visiting Somerset prior to Cheltenham in the new year and look forward to seeing Paul’s continued success.