British Pound for Pound

By Cain Bradley on May 1, 2018
British Pound for Pound
The best thing about it now is the depth. (Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)

It does feel slightly like British boxing, although still in a wonderful place, is not quite as high as it was…

It does feel slightly like British boxing, although still in a wonderful place, is not quite as high as it was. The best thing about it right now is the depth, with many prospects who could potentially see themselves on this list.

1. Anthony Joshua
Joshua has really ascended to this position as others who were in front of him begin to disappoint. He has mainly done what he has been asked in defeating Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker. He has grown as a boxer but in his last couple of fights it has arguably been at the detriment of his excitement. The current talks are of a massive unification showdown between him and Deontay Wilder.

2. Carl Frampton
After a bad 2017, he is looking to reestablish himself at the top of the division. He returned with a labored victory over Horacio Garcia but looked better when defeating Nonito Donaire in his last bout. He is looking to win a world title at Windsor Park possibly against Lee Selby.

3. George Groves
Groves has been in sensational form since winning the world title over Chudinov. He entered the World Series of Boxing and viciously stopped Jamie Cox before upsetting the odds when outclassing Chris Eubank Jr. The final should take place at some point later this year, pitting him against unbeaten Callum Smith. 

4. Terry Flanagan
“Turbo” Terry Flanagan largely had an underwhelming reign as lightweight champion after a promising start. No one really got near him but he did not take on the top of the division. He is looking to step up to Light Welterweight where he will take on Maurice Hooker, which could be one of his better wins.

5. Kell Brook
The Sheffield man bounced back from two defeats with bad eye injuries to beat Sergei Rabchenko in two rounds. He is up at Light Middleweight where he reckons a less stressful weight cut can lead to him being a contender. Many names have been called out but we await to see who he will fight next.

6. Lee Selby
Selby is one of the most underappreciated British fighters. The Welshman is a slick stylist. He holds the IBF Featherweight Title and has been pretty dominant against the opponents he has faced. Next up comes a clash against domestic rival Josh Warrington, before he looks for bigger fights including potentially Carl Frampton.

7. Jamie McDonnell
Another underrated British boxer, McDonnell is attempting to get himself onto the Pound for Pound lists by taking on Naoya Inoue in Japan. It is a huge challenge for the British fighter to take on but he has made his title reign by beating the odds. His wins include Liborio Solis and Tomoki Kameda twice.

8. Billy Joe Saunders
The unbeaten British Middleweight looked at his best when defeating David Lemieux prior to Christmas in a dominant fashion. He tends to fight to the level of competition which provides hope that he will raise his level whenever he takes the step up.

9. Khalid Yafai
Yafai is quite hard to rate. He won the WBA Super Flyweight Title in impressive style by defeating Luis Concepcion. He has defended his title twice and looked good against solid opposition. Next up he takes on David Carmona, which should be a comfortable win. In a division full of impressive fighters, you hope a big fight is round the corner.

10. Ryan Burnett
Burnett unified the WBA and IBF Bantamweight Titles last year after wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. He had to drop the IBF Title but defended his WBA Title by defeating Yonfrez Parejo. He is also in a strong division and with a World Boxing Super Series referenced, we could see him take on big challenges over the next 18 months.

11. Callum Smith
Callum Smith has always shown great promise, whether he has come close to delivering that can be debated. His best performances have probably come when stopping Rocky Fielding in one and then when overcoming Erik Skoglund by decision. He has shown tantalizing flashes of ability but never put it together totally.

12. James DeGale
A tough twelve months for DeGale after a tough draw against Badou Jack. He missed out on the chance to enter the World Boxing Super Series tournament through injury before rushing back, losing his title belt to Caleb Truax. He won it back but the performance was nothing special against a man generally considered to be a gatekeeper rather than an upper level contender.

13. Josh Taylor
It is hard not to love this guy and the way Cyclone Promotions have built him up. He destroyed domestics rival Ohara Davies before impressively stopping Miguel Vazquez. He will take on Viktor Postol in a WBC Eliminator later this year. Postol is one of the premier fighters in the division and taking him on is a big leap for him.

14. Tony Bellew
The big rematch takes place on May 5th, as Bellew looks to prove he can beat David Haye without an injury. 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. If he can get the win over Haye he has spoke of taking on the victor of the Cruiserweight WBSS tournament.

15. Scott Quigg
Although a former world champion, Quigg has looked to be a step below world level. He has lost to Carl Frampton and most recently to Oscar Valdez. He will be looking to rebuild himself, with talk of a potential WBSS tournament at his weight.

16. Andrew Selby
Little brother of Lee, Andrew is possibly the more talented of the pair. He is so good, he seems to get bored in the ring, looking for ways to challenge himself. He recently won an Eliminator for the WBC Title, which is held by Cristofer Rosales, a man Selby has already beaten.

17. Luke Campbell
Campbell has not been seen since his defeat to Jorge Linares, which coincided with the loss of his Father. He proved himself to be world title level in that loss and the current suggestion is he will look to avenge his only defeat against Yvan Mendy.

18. Liam Smith
Smith was due to fight Sadam Ali to for the chance to become Britain’s next world champion. He got that shot with two wins over Liam Williams. The second was the more decisive of the pair, although it was still close.

19. Anthony Crolla
He got a win on the Anthony Joshua undercard over Edson Ramirez. He is looking to bounce back to title contention after two losses to Jorge Linares. A win over Ricky Burns sent him in the right direction and another domestic showdown with Like Campbell has been feted.

20. Josh Warrington
The Leeds man worked his way through some good wins and is now getting his world title shot. He takes on Lee Selby later this month. His form has never suggested he should be favoured against Selby but wins over Ceylan and Martinez were impressive.

21. Liam Williams
The Welshman suffered a bit of a bump in the road after being defeated twice by Liam Smith. The first loss cane after a devastating cut whilst the second was a debatable decision. He will be looking to bounce back to title contention, a level he belongs at.

22. 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. He will attempt to win the title that Ryan Burnett gave up when taking on Emmanuel Rodriguez.

23. Chris Eubank Jr.
The second generation star was humbled by George Groves, when being outclassed in the World Boxing Super Series semi final. I wonder what his next step will be, a domestic clash with James DeGale intrigue if he stays at Super Middleweight.

24. Amir Khan
The returning Welterweight looked very impressive when bombing out Phil Lo Greco. The question remains about whether he can reach the top level or if his chin will hinder him. Hopefully a much anticipated domestic clash with Kell Brook happens in 2018.

25. Dillian Whyte
Dillian got arguably his most impressive victory when stopping Lucas Browne in vicious fashion. He also had wins over Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora as well as rocking Anthony Joshua who went on to beat him. He is looking to get a title shot over the next year and has called out both Alexander Povetkin and Deontay Wilder.

26. Gavin McDonnell
Little brother of Jamie McDonnell, Gavin has worked incredibly hard to get where he is. Although he lost a world title opportunity, he performed well against a quality operator. He recently beat Gamal Yafai and is now taking on Stuart Hall.

27. Martin Murray
Murray is a solid contender at either Middleweight or Super Middleweight. He will once again look to become champion, when he takes on Billy Joe Saunders. At this point though he is probably below world title level.

28. Charlie Edwards
A brilliant amateur, Edwards still shows a lot of potential. He lost to John Riel Casemiro in a world title shot but that came after only eight bouts against an experienced operator. He will look to win the WBA Continental Title against Anthony Nelson.

29. Rocky Fielding
These final two spots were very difficult. Fielding has only one loss to Callum Smith, hardly a disgrace. He bounced back and has recent wins over David Brophy and John Ryder which look very impressive. He was meant to fight Erik Skoglund but his unfortunate injuries saw that cancelled.

30. Tyson Fury
The announced return of Fury is enough for me to put him back in this spot. He has not boxed since 2015, but that was a special victory, defeating Wladimir Klitschko. No one has any clue how he will be in the ring but the talent means he gets in here.

Just missed out: Liam Walsh, Lee Haskins, Jamie Conlan, Ricky Burns and John Ryder
Soon could be on the list: Ted Cheeseman, Jack Catterall, Joe Joyce, Josh Kelly, Lewis Ritson

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