Anthony Joshua v Paul Butlin – 26 October 2013
Long before Anthony Joshua was a world champion headlining at Wembley, he was an emerging heavyweight on the undercard of a Kell Brook fight at Sheffield Arena.
In just his second professional fight, the 2012 Olympic champion took on English journeyman Paul Butlin.
It wasn’t much of a contest.
Joshua – whose diet and training regime we recently revealed – put Butlin away in the second round after delivering what remains one of the most impressive one-twos that he has ever thrown.
That left hook, right-hand combination was evidence enough that he was going to become the huge star that he is today.
Kell Brook v Jo Jo Dan – 28 March 2015
On 4 September 2014, Kell Brook was stabbed several times in the leg with a machete while on holiday in Tenerife.
Just over six months later, he was back in Sheffield and back in the ring.
Considering he nearly lost his leg in the attack, even managing to fight again was a remarkable achievement for Brook.
It made this one of his most impressive victories, even though Jo Jo Dan was not much of a challenge.
The Romanian had previously only suffered two defeats in 36 fights, but was completely outclassed by Brook, who is in the latest boxing odds to beat Errol Spence.
The champion scored four knockdowns in four rounds before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Ricky Hatton v Carlos Maussa – 26 November 2005
Ricky Hatton had been a hero in Manchester for years, but this was his first fight as a genuine British star.
The Hitman had beaten light-welterweight king Kostya Tszyu in his previous bout, winning the IBF and The Ring world titles.
And he added another belt to his collection in Sheffield, stopping WBA champion Carlos Maussa in the ninth round.
Hatton made a career out of grinding opponents down with relentless pressure and body shots. He was never really a spectacular puncher.
This, however, was a clean knockout.
As the fatigued Maussa’s hands dropped in the ninth round, Hatton whipped in a left hook that caught his chin, and the Colombian failed to even make it to his feet before his corner stepped in.
Naseem Hamed v Jose Badillo – 11 October 1997
Sheffield’s greatest ever fighter returned to his home town for the first time in three years to take on the durable – but unremarkable – Jose Badillo in 1997.
Making the eighth defence of his title, Prince Naseem clearly wanted to put on a show in what would be his last fight before going to make his name in the US.
This was Hamed at his flamboyant peak.
The then-featherweight champion of the world danced his way into the ring, and then around it, producing an incredible display of both showboating and world-class boxing.
He peppered the Puerto Rican with jabs and corkscrewing uppercuts, eventually forcing the stoppage in the seventh round.
Joe Calzaghe v Chris Eubank – 11 October 1997
The only Sheffield fight bigger than Hamed’s homecoming actually took place on the same night.
The featherweight champion headed ringside after his win to watch the main event of the evening, with Joe Calzaghe getting his first shot at a vacant world title against former champion Chris Eubank.
Aiming to show Prince Naseem and the rest of Britain that he was still boxing’s No. 1 showman, Eubank strutted to the ring, Tina Turner’s Simply the Best blaring out of the arena’s PA system.
Just 15 seconds in, though, the usually granite-chinned super middleweight was on his back, caught by Calzaghe’s looping left hand.
The Englishman got to his feet, nodding and smiling, and showed tremendous heart to last 12 rounds against a younger, faster, and frankly superior boxer.
Calzaghe won comfortably on points, though, and went on to win the next 23 fights of his career, retiring as an unbeaten two-weight world champion.
The result pleased Hamed, no doubt.
He spent the entire fight goading Eubank, even drawing a response of “shut up, Naseem” in the eighth round.