British Pound for Pound

By Cain Bradley on November 2, 2018
British Pound for Pound
A win over either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder would have his star rising. (Hamish Brown)

The obvious number one is Anthony Joshua. Not only is he one of the biggest stars in world boxing but a unified world heavyweight champion…

Whilst British boxing may lack a high number of top tier stars there is no arguing with the strength in depth. British boxing is still looking strong with seemingly a fight every week. This is my rankings of British boxers

1. Anthony Joshua
The obvious number one is Anthony Joshua. Not only is he one of the biggest stars in world boxing but a unified world heavyweight champion. Wins over Dillian Whyte, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin have sealed his spot at the top of the list. A win over either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder would have his star only rising.

2. Carl Frampton
Frampton has been a victim of circumstance, missing out on big fights in a loaded division. He will get his fight, in December, against Josh Warrington. Most believe Leo Santa Cruz to be the best fighter in the division and Frampton has split fights against him. He also has wins over Scott Quigg and Nonito Donaire.

3. Billy Joe Saunders
A failed drug test has made me at least consider this position. As per usual though, I’ve found it hard to work out if he is right or wrong. So I have left him in his spot, which is due to his high standing in one of the strongest divisions in boxing. His win over David Lemieux was a great performance but I wonder whether he will struggle to get big fights now he has lost his title.

4. Callum Smith
Callum Smith confirmed his promise was real by winning the World Boxing Super Series. He stopped George Groves with a vicious combination. A win over Rocky Fielding also looks a lot better in hindsight. He has solidified his position as number one in the division and there are some intriguing matchups for him.

5. Ryan Burnett
Burnett had a great 2017, winning a world title and then unifying it with wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. He has the potential to have an even better 2019. He is the number one seed in the World Boxing Super Series. He will come up against rival Zolani Tete in the semi final before either Naoya Inoue or Emmanuel Rodriguez in the final.

6. Kai Yafai
Yafai has had an incredibly underwhelming campaign as champion. He beat Luis Concepcion to win the title almost two years ago but has not fought anyone since. He has defended his title three times and the best opponent is probably Sho Ishida. He will take on Israel González in Monaco and if he defends he should look towards a big unification bout to start next year.

7. George Groves
Groves was the runner-up of the World Boxing Super Series, losing to Callum Smith. He was beginning to take over the fight before getting caught. He also had a big win in the semi final over Chris Eubank. It would not surprise me if Groves does not have many fights left but hopefully he is in high profile clashes.

8. Josh Taylor
I have been hyping up Taylor every time I have done these lists. Now he is in the World Boxing Super Series and has a chance to show the world how good he is. He will fight three unbeaten fighters to win the tournament in Ryan Martin, Ivan Baranchyk and probably Regis Prograis.

9. Josh Warrington
I had never rated Warrington on the way up. A ticket seller who was promoted as better than he was. He proved me wrong. He took the world title off Lee Selby, by bullying the Welshman to a decision victory. He will once again be underdog and look to prove people wrong when taking on Carl Frampton.

10. Kell Brook
I find it really hard to place Kell Brook. He has two losses against Errol Spence and Gennady Golovkin, both world class boxers. His last great win possibly comes four years ago against Shawn Porter. If he remains at that level he deserves to be higher on this list, but he hasn’t proven it for a while and could well be lower on this list.

11. Jamie McDonnell
After one of the best runs in British boxing, McDonnell finally came unstuck against Naoya Inoue. He was viciously stopped before announcing he will move up in weight. His run of defenses, mainly abroad, was incredible.

12. Dillian Whyte
Dillian Whyte has proved himself to be a genuine contender in the heavyweight division. Wins over Lucas Browne and Joseph Parker have put him in the top five of the division. He is looking for a fight with a world champion, but first could end up taking on Dereck Chisora.

13. Lee Selby
I have always been a big believer in Lee Selby. He did lose to Josh Warrington but spoke of being weight drained and moving up in weight. He is an incredibly classy boxer, who can move brilliantly. Hopefully we see him return soon and take on a big clash.

14. Tony Bellew
I still find Bellew so hard to rate. This is probably a bit high and his fame is larger than it deserves to be. His signature wins are Nathan Cleverly, an injured David Haye and Ilunga Makabu. Hardly an inspiring list. He gets the chance to make his biggest splash when fighting Oleksandr Usyk.

15. James DeGale
Chunky relinquished the IBF World Championships that he had recaptured with a victory over Caleb Truax. A draw with Badou Jack is still an impressive result although you wonder whether he still has that level of ability. A big fight with one of the other British fighters in the weight would sell.

16. Luke Campbell
Luke Campbell finally avenged the first defeat of his career by overcoming Yvan Mendy. He has only one other loss, coming against Jorge Linares by split decision in a world title fight. Based on that performance, he can at least hang around top level and should receive another title shot soon.

17. Tyson Fury
Another difficult man to rank. He is ranked here off one night, almost three years ago. That night he overcame Wladimir Klitschko to become world champion. We have all heard about his battles since but he returned this summer, looking unimpressive against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. He takes on Deontay Wilder in December, looking to prove himself an upper echelon Heavyweight.

18. Rocky Fielding
Another man who has rebounded from a defeat, Fielding is booked in a fight opposite the biggest star in boxing. He won the WBA Title against Tyron Zegue and now takes on Canelo Alvarez. Most don’t give him a shot.

19. Andrew Selby
Selby has had an extended period out of the ring but he has already shown us his talent. Perhaps most impressive was his win over Cristofer Rosales who is now a world champion and highly rated in the division.

20. Liam Smith
Liam Smith has probably been found out at the top level of the division. He had twice lost to world champions, in Canelo Alvarez and Jamie Munguia. He had two wins over Liam Williams but you imagine it will take a good few victories before Smith returns to that level.

21. Anthony Crolla
Crolla is another man who has lost to Jorge Linares. The first fight was close but there was a class gap in the second. He is a former world champion after beating Darleys Perez and impressively besting Ismael Barroso in his only defense. He beat three weight world champion Ricky Burns since losing the title and clashes Daud Yordan soon. 

22. Chris Eubank Jr.
Eubank has only been seen once since his loss to George Groves. That was on the undercard of the WBSS final where he stopped JJ McDonagh. We did not learn much from that fight, Eubank has always looked sensational against lower ranked fighters who stand in front of him. It is a big weight division for British boxers and some huge fights are there to be made.

23. Gavin McDonnell
Little brother of Jamie got his second shot at a world title and this time was stopped. He has now lost to two of the division’s top fighters in Rey Vargas and Daniel Roman. Between that he landed some impressive domestic victories over Stuart Hall and Gamal Yafai, however he could be a step away from world title contention.

24. Scott Quigg
Another man who has dropped his two most recent title challenges is Scott Quigg. He lost a decision to Oscar Valdez in a fight, after also doing the same against Carl Frampton. He has moved up to Super Featherweight and it will be intriguing to see if that move rejuvenates his career.

25. Martin Murray
Murray is another contender level boxer who will probably struggle to win a world title. He has won four fights in a row since attempting to move up and losing to George Groves. He has failed in three world title attempts against Arthur Abraham, Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin. He should have fought Billy Joe Saunders earlier this year but Saunders pulled out.

26. John Ryder
Ryder has really rebounded from his losses, two of which now look great in hindsight. He lost to Billy Joe Saunders and Rocky Fielding, both of whom are above him on the list, but he run them very close. Since the loss to Fielding he has three great wins over Patrick Nielsen, Jamie Cox and Andrey Sirotkin.

27. Ted Cheeseman
I have long been a fan of Cheeseman, since watching him take on great fighters in his first year as a senior amateur. He showed to me against Asinia Byfield just how good he is. His pressure and shot selection is mature beyond his years and he cannot be far away from a step up in class.

28. Liam Williams
Williams vs. Cheeseman would be a fun fight but given the promotional split, I do not expect to see them in the ring any time soon. Williams has twice run Liam Smith close and the results could have gone the other way. He is undergoing a rebuild, having twice beat journeyman lately.

29. Amir Khan
Is his last good win against Devon Alexander at the end of 2014? Khan has always been incredibly talented and is a two weight world champion with his signature win probably coming against Marcos Maidana. His return has been underwhelming though and we need to see him in a big fight soon.

30. Jack Catterall
Catterall got a big domestic win lately over Ohara Davies, winning a comfortable decision. Other big wins include Joe Hughes, Tyrone McKenna and Tyrone Nurse. He deserves a step up towards world level very soon.

Just missed out: Callum Johnson, Jason Welborn, Terry Flanagan, Kid Galahad and Lawrence Okolie
Will be here soon: Joshua Buatsi, Josh Kelly, Charlie Edwards, Zach Parker and Jordan Gill

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  1. Cain Bradley 04:56pm, 11/04/2018

    Fan: Do not see the relevance? Look at Bernard Hopkins!
    Thrashem: I’ve hardly put AJ on a pedestal and have not compared him to Lennox Lewis. He’s had wins over probably four top ten opponents, maybe 5. No other British fighter can match that?
    Kid Blast: He’s a tough one to rate. So long since a meaningful win. Coyle I cannot have in this. Who is his best win?

  2. fan 01:09pm, 11/04/2018

    Boxing is sometimes ridiculous when a 40 years old fight against a 20 years old. Boxing should match boxer with the same ages.

  3. thrashem 07:35am, 11/03/2018

    Joshua hasn’t beaten anyone important. How can you put him on a pedestal, he hasn’t done anything. Lewis fought everybody, what the hell has he done , fill me in??? So, he got lucky against an old man who reigned into his 40tz. At least it was a boxing match, unlike the twit Fury.
    You have proven journalist BS exists!

  4. Kid Blast 12:28pm, 11/02/2018

    29. Amir Khan is a bit much, Cain. Also, where is Tommy Coyle? And I like Cullum over BJS, but all in all, you did a good list. And a useful one at that as I shall use it in my research. Thanks.

  5. Lucas McCain 07:53am, 11/02/2018

    Very useful column for me—No arguments since I’ve only seen about half these guys.  But I’ll come back to this column when I get the chance to see them or read about them.

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