British Pound for Pound

By Cain Bradley on October 30, 2017
British Pound for Pound
It has been a bad year for Frampton. He is at the top of this list, but only just. (Jim Cooke)

The Jackal left Cyclone Promotions and announced an underwhelming homecoming fight with Frank Warren…

1. Carl Frampton
It has been a bad year for the Jackal. It started by losing his world title in a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz where the Mexican swarmer outboxed him. A homecoming against Andres Gutierrez was cancelled as he slipped in the shower, the day before the fight. He went on to fight for a world title against Abner Mares, while Frampton left Cyclone Promotions and announced an underwhelming homecoming fight with Frank Warren. He remains at the top of this list, but only just.

2. James DeGale
DeGale would have had a chance to be number one if injuries had not caused him to be inactive this year after his draw with Badou Jack. He has missed the chance to be in the World Boxing Super Series, although with the winner looking likely to be a domestic rival, he could well end 2018 fighting the champion. His next fight has been announced for a Frank Warren card in December but has no opponent yet.

3. Anthony Joshua
The face of British boxing defeated Carlos Takam this past Saturday night in a dominant fashion. However, it did not necessarily add to his stock. 2018 could be a huge year though with Wilder, Parker, Fury and Whyte potentially on the list.

4. Kell Brook
This actually feels a little bit high to have Brook, given the last 18 months has seen him lose to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence with no wins. His win over Porter was still an impressive one that no one below him has matched. He is scheduled to return in early 2018 but having suffered serious eye injuries you have to wonder how good he will look. The perfect matchup for me remains Amir Khan.

5. Terry Flanagan
The Mancunian lightweight will hopefully get his shot to prove just how good he is in 2018. He had been circling Jorge Linares with a unification looking likely but has instead announced he will move up to light welterweight. He looks set to take on Mo Hooker for the WBO Title

6. George Groves
Groves does not get enough credit. He has three losses. Two to British legend Carl Froch who was typically rated the second best super middleweight of his era and a split decision to Badou Jack, who has proven his quality since. He has a win over James DeGale and his last six wins have shown a rejuvenated man under Shane McGuigan. He will probably have to beat Chris Eubank and Callum Smith to win the World Boxing Super Series and you have to be very excited to see how those fights would turn out.

7. Jamie McDonnell
McDonnell will defend his WBA Bantamweight Title on November 4 against Liborio Solis. He has already defeated Solis but it was debatable. McDonnell is used to close fights and had to beat Tomoki Kameda twice as well. It is 9 years since Lee Haskins defeated him and it really is astounding to see how much improvement he has made. He can now argue he belongs in an elite group of Bantamweight fighters.

8. Lee Selby
The Welshman is desperately craving a bigger fight having defended his IBF Featherweight Title. It looked like he was going to face Frampton at the start of the year but a loss to Santa Cruz interfered with the plans. It seems like he could come up against another domestic rival in Josh Warrington. He would be heavily favoured in that clash and would hopefully proper him to bugger things.

9. Khalid Yafai
In one of the deepest divisions in the world, Yafai holds a world title which he defended twice, both in dominant fashion. The rumour mill suggests he will be part of the SuperFly 2 card to begin 2018 which will give him a chance for a marquee victory.

10. Ryan Burnett
What a year for Burnett. Two big wins have made him the unified IBF and WBA Bantamweight Champion. He dominated Lee Haskins for the WBA Title in June and showed his versatility when out pointing Zhanat Zhakiyanov. The Irishman has shown his huge ability and a willingness to take on difficult opponents.

11. Callum Smith
The youngest Smith brother has long been regarded the one with the most potential. He would sometimes flatter to deceive but moments like him wiping out city rival Rocky Fielding showed him at his best. His toughest task came against Erik Skoglund and he beat the strong Swede rather impressively. He is a huge man with a lot of power. He is heavily favoured to make the World Boxing Super Series where he will take on either Groves or Eubank.

12. Tony Bellew
Bellew will have to prove he can beat Haye without an injury in December. If he can then he is primed for bigger things, probably Joseph Parker. It was a huge and possibly unnecessary risk for Bellew to take the rematch but the Scouser believes in himself and a clear win here will be impressive.

13. Billy Joe Saunders
A very hard man to rate. His best wins are probably close contests with Andy Lee and Chris Eubank. So often he flatters to deceive. Against Willie Monroe the best that can be said is he won clearly. David Lemieux is up next and that is an intriguing bout. Saunders may not get a Canelo/Golovkin fight for a while but if he can defeat other men in the top ten then he will be moved up this list.

14. Scott Quigg
Quigg is another man, fighting in Monaco on November 4. Part of the buzzing Featherweight division, he seems almost a forgotten man. He takes on Oleg Yefimovych, another gatekeeper in the division. He is highly ranked by the IBF and WBC but Selby has lined up his next three fights without mentioning Quigg. The WBC title will be held by Gary Russell or JoJo Diaz and Quigg would be underdog against either man.

15. Luke Campbell
Campbell is coming off a loss but has improved his stock recently. He boxed Jorge Linares, a highly ranked pound for pound boxer. It was a split decision loss, away in America which many people thought he won. He also waited till after to reveal his Father had passed in the weeks leading up to the fight. The Linares fight showed an ability to box at world level.

16. Chris Eubank Jr.
Eubank is involved in one of the biggest upcoming fights for anyone on this list as he will take on George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series semi final. He destroyed Avni Yilidrim, adding to his win over Arthur Abraham. I still do not have complete faith in his ability, I have questioned his power although it looked legit in his last bout and will a better boxer like Groves expose him as being hittable? Thankfully we will find out at the start of 2018.

17. Anthony Crolla
Crolla rebounded from two losses in world title fights to Jorge Linares by comfortably defeating Ricky Burns in a domestic clash. His first bout against Linares was close whilst in the second bout he was dominated by the classy Venezuelan. He still has big clashes available to him that would still intrigue fans.

18. Andrew Selby
The Welshman has put himself in place for a world title shot after only 10 bouts. He comfortably dominated Maximino Flores in a WBC eliminator which puts him in line to box Japanese sensation Daigo Higa. He is a joy to watch, with a great sense of anticipation and timing. You do wonder how the skills will translate when he steps up to the highest level.

19. Josh Taylor
Taylor is a really potential superstar. He has gone from strength to strength as a prospect and last time out dominated domestic rival Ohara Davies. He viciously stopped the Londoner who is rated a decent prospect himself. Next up comes Miguel Vazquez, a tough test who hardly anyone has ever impressed against. If he wins that he will surely move onto a world title shot in 2018 in a division that looks devoid of stars.

20. Liam Williams
21. Liam Smith

These two will be grouped together as they fought each other in both men’s last bout and will take each other on soon. Smith won the first bout but that came after Williams suffered a nasty cut and had dominated the bout in the early stages. I think Williams should be favourite for the second bout, having outboxed Smith for large parts of the fight.

22. Amir Khan
It is really getting hard to keep Khan on the list. Sure we all know about his talent. His last win however was 30 months ago against Chris Algieri. There seems to be no fight on the immediate outlook as he has been on Twitter, once again calling out Floyd Mayweather. If he could just fight Kell Brook, that would surely be the solution to make everyone happy.

23. Stephen Smith
Third ranked of the four brothers, Smith has only lost to top ranked opposition. His losses have come against Jason Sosa, Jose Pedraza and Lee Selby. All are former or current world champions. He may not quite have it in him to be a world champion in a very good division but he has shown that he belongs around the top ten. He will take on Juli Giner for the EBU Title.

24. Josh Warrington
Warrington was impressive in the way he took apart Dennis Ceylan, who was a previously undefeated European champion. He has put himself in line for a title shot, probably against Lee Selby. Selby is just much better than him for me right now and I think Warrington has done very well because of a huge fan base rather than having huge potential.

25. Charlie Edwards
The baby-faced super flyweight has bounced back impressively since losing to John Riel Casemiro in a world title clash in only his ninth bout. His best win since was Iain Butcher for the British title but his talent is huge. Hopefully he progresses through European level over the next year.

26. Paul Butler
Butler is part of the Bantamweight division, which is arguably the strongest in Britain. He schooled Stuart Hall for the second time in a recent bout since signing with Eddie Hearn. He does have a loss to Zolani Tete, although there is no disgrace in that. Hearn has alluded to a Butler-McDonnell matchup in 2018 and the classy boxer could well trouble McDonnell.

27. Dillian Whyte
The London Heavyweight only has one loss, to Anthony Joshua which is definitely no disgrace. His best wins have come over Chisora and Helenius. He is a tough out for anyone given his relentless body attack and will be looking for a world title fight in 2018.

28. Martin Murray
Murray is happily floating between 160 and 168 pounds. Since a loss to George Groves (again, no disgrace) he has three solid wins over Nuhu Lawal, Gabriel Rosado and Arman Torosyan—all decent gatekeepers. Murray has to wonder whether he will ever be a world champion, but he is top ten probably in both weights and could still be in intriguing bouts.

29. Gavin McDonnell
Brother of world champion Jamie, he lost his first world title shot at the start of the year to Rey Vargas. His wins around that have been impressive but he seems to have found his ceiling. I do wonder if he will soon have a crossroads matchup with Gamal Yafai.

30. Liam Walsh
Walsh looks like he has also reached his ceiling in one of the strongest divisions in boxing. He was stopped viciously by Gervonta Davis. However he suffers by being in the division and still has some impressive European wins. A Stephen Smith bout appeals

Just missed out: Hughie Fury, Ricky Burns, Bradley Skeete, Jamie Conlan and Lee Haskins
Soon could be on the list: Anthony Yarde, Joe Joyce, Jack Catterall, Ted Cheeseman and Josh Kelly

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  1. Sheldon Leonard 12:53pm, 10/31/2017

    Frampton/Mares is the fight….there’s a very big win waiting there for Carl! Where’s Katie Taylor? Taylor/Holm is more intriguing than Holm/Rousey by far! Both Ramirez and Benavidez scorch DeGale! Dillian White is cruising for a bruising….Wilder KOs him early….for that matter Povetkin does the deed too but not as quick! Lemieux is gonna stretch Saunders simply because Saunders won’t be able to keep him at bay for 12 rounds!

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