British Pound-for-Pound Rankings

By Cain Bradley on May 18, 2016
British Pound-for-Pound Rankings
The outspoken Tyson Fury has the best British win over the last five years. (Reuters)

Britain has twelve world champions and many potential champions honing their skills. But which boxer would currently sit atop a British pound-for-pound list?

British boxing is possibly the strongest it has ever been. Investment into the amateur game has seen it thrive and that production has been matched at the professional level. Britain has twelve world champions and many potential champions honing their skills. But which boxer would currently sit atop a British pound-for-pound list?

1. Tyson Fury
The outspoken heavyweight has to be ranked number one. He has the best British win over the last five years. Defeating the undisputed heavyweight World Champion Wladimir Klitschko was an incredible performance. He had not lost for eleven years and Fury gave him nightmares. He also holds win over Dereck Chisora, Kevin Johnson and Steve Cunningham. Next up is a rematch with Klitschko.

2. Kell Brook
Kell Brook has possibly the next best win for a British boxer over that time. He defeated Shawn Porter who has been impressive ever since. Brook could really do with a big fight, at a weight where finding big fights is not difficult. Kevin Bizier and Frankie Gavin are not the most impressive.

3. James DeGale
James DeGale it could be argued timed his rise to the peak of the super middleweight division very well. He rose after Carl Froch and Andre Ward, both tough matchups for DeGale, had left the division. Two decision wins over Lucian Bute and Andre Dirrell are impressive and the loss to compatriot George Groves looks like one that could be overturned on recent form.

4. Carl Frampton
The young Irishman is one of the most exciting talents around and has been looking to break into America. His best win was over Scott Quigg but he also has a number of good wins. Chris Avalos, Kiko Martinez and Hugo Cazares are all downed opponents. Up next is Leo Santa Cruz where a win would really establish Frampton as a top boxer and move him up this list.

5. Scott Quigg
In fifth, I have to give respect to Scott Quigg. He is the highest non World Champion but he never really got started against Frampton. When he did, he looked like he could win the bout. He will probably regret what seemed to be a bad tactical choice. He also impressively stopped Kiko Martinez prior to that fight.

6. Terry Flanagan
Terry Flanagan has been very impressive in the lightweight division, being the WBO lightweight champion. His stoppage wins over Jose Zepeda and Diego Magdaleno were nothing short of brilliant. He also beat a tough Derry Matthews but suffers in these rankings from a weak lightweight division.

7. Amir Khan
Amir Khan is so hard to rank. His ability is so great but his record in recent times is not so impressive. He has lost three of his last eight with Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri the best wins. However, he was unfortunate against Lamont Petersen and was performing admirably against Canelo after taking a huge step up. It is hard to rank him this low but also putting him this high over world champions feels a bit harsh.

8. Anthony Crolla
The second best lightweight in the world is probably Anthony Crolla. He looked like being a domestic fighter who could perhaps pick up a European title. However, some good performances put him in line for a shot against WBA champion Darleys Perez who had only lost to Yuriorkis Gamboa. He was unlucky with a draw in the first bout before stopping him in the rematch. He then defeated the very dangerous Ismael Barroso in seven.

9. Lee Selby
The Barry boy has gone from strength to strength in his career after an early defeat. Selby has had four big wins on the world stage. He stopped Joel Brukner before beating Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF title. Fernando Montiel and Eric Hunter were also dispatched by the Welsh warrior. A fight with Carl Frampton could be interesting if Frampton beats Santa Cruz.

10. Jamie McDonnell
McDonnell had already won the IBF bantamweight title when he took on Tabtimdaeng Rachawat for the WBA title. He has also beaten Javier Chacon, Tomoki Kameda twice and Fernando Vargas to retain his belt. Unification of a challenge for the Super WBA title will hopefully be next for McDonnell.

11. Billy Joe Saunders
I am a big fan of Billy Joe and think he can really progress up this list. He cleared up the domestic division beating John Ryder, Spike O’Sullivan, Nick Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jr. He defeated Andy Lee impressively, to win the WBO belt. He could do with a bout soon to continue his strong momentum.

12. Anthony Joshua
The most hyped British boxer is the huge heavyweight. Following his gold medal at the Olympics he has won every fight by stoppage. After dispatching of domestic rival, Dillian White in a grueling seven rounds he was given a world title shot. He stopped Charles Martin emphatically in two rounds. Next up for the big man is Dominic Breazeale.

13. Callum Smith
Callum Smith is one of the most impressive prospects in the Britain and is entering a fascinating stage of his career. He has defeated Anthony Rebrasse, Rocky Fielding and Hadilah Mohoumadi comfortably. Mohoumadi took DeGale the distance but Smith dispatched of him in a round. He is ranked number one by the WBC and five by the IBF. He is fighting on the Tony Bellew undercard with opponent to be announced.

14. Chris Eubank Jr.
He took an unexpected step backwards for me in his last fight when opting to take on Nick Blackwell for the British title. He won comfortably and along with his win over Spike O’Sullivan will surely step up from the domestic scene. He has already lost to current World Champion Billy Joe Saunders but would surely welcome a rematch. He is ranked third with the WBC and second with the WBA.

15. Lee Haskins
Another boxer who looked like the world level was a step above, Haskins has impressively worked his way to a world title. Domestically he has won Prizefighter and defeated strong opposition such as Stuart Hall and Jamie McDonnell. After a five-fight winning streak he got a shot at the interim IBF title which he won. He was promoted to full champion when Randy Caballero weighed in heavy. He recently won his first defense and currently talks are of a domestic clash with Stuart Hall.

16. Tony Bellew
The best win of Tony Bellew’s career was probably domestic rival Nathan Cleverly, avenging an earlier defeat. He also has impressive wins over Ozil McKenzie twice, Edison Miranda, Mateusz Masternak and Isaac Chilemba. He also lost to Adonis Stevenson in 2013. Since then he has moved up to Cruiserweight and will fight Ilunga Makabu for the WBC title on May 29th.

17. George Groves
George Groves has never been as impressive since his two defeats to Carl Froch. After really taking the fight to the Cobra he lost both by stoppage in the 9th and 8th rounds. He defeated James DeGale prior to that and since has lost a split decision to Badou Jack. However his performances have not had the same quality to them. David Haye recently reported a black eye was down to the sparring from Groves. If he could return to form when taking on Martin Murray in June, he will probably look for a DeGale rematch.

18. Liam Smith
Liam Smith is the second Smith brother represented in this list and the lowest ranked world champion. He dominated the British light middleweight scene and stepped up to a higher level with wins over Zoltan Sera and David Romero. He won the vacant WBO title by defeating John Thompson. His second defense is against Predrag Radosevic in June. He will face a big step up in quality when defending his title.

19. Ovill McKenzie
McKenzie started his career off with five wins in eleven bouts. His major breakthrough would come in the Prizefighter tournament which he won in 2009. He was defeated twice by Tony Bellew before exchanging wins with Enzo Maccarinelli. He would then step up to cruiserweight, winning the British and Commonwealth titles. McKenzie accepted a Victor Ramirez fight on short notice and took it to the champion, managing a split decision draw.

20. David Haye
David Haye is more ranked here on past performance and ability than his results since his return. A former two-weight world champion who was badly defeated by Wladimir Klitschko. His return saw him defeat the Australian Mark de Mori and he steps into the ring this coming weekend against Arnold Gjergjaj in bouts that overall should not mean much in the big picture. Expect a Shannon Briggs after before he chases Anthony Joshua in the hope of a domestic world title.

21. Martin Murray
Another boxer who has won the Prizefighter tournament, Murray has been desperately unlucky to not be a World Champion. He drew with Felix Sturm, lost to Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham. The Sturm and Abraham fights, he will consider himself unlucky. He will take on domestic rival George Groves in June in what counts as a huge bout for both boxers.

22. Nathan Cleverly
Before the turn of the decade, Cleverly was considered the brightest British prospect. He won his first 26 bouts and was WBO champion having defeated Tony Bellew and Karo Murat. He was stopped by Sergey Kovalev and then domestic rival Tony Bellew beat him. His last fight saw him take on Andrzej Fonfara for the WBC title but he lost a decision.

23. Luke Campbell
The Olympic champion turned professional in 2013. He started his career strongly but took a break when his Dad was diagnosed with cancer. On his return he continued strongly defeating Tommy Coyle. After that he was shocked by Yvan Mendy in a split decision defeat. His return saw him beat Gary Sykes in two rounds. Many see Campbell as a rising star of British boxing and one defeat will not derail that. 

24. Josh Warrington
The Leeds fighter has developed a large fan following. He held the British, European and Commonwealth titles before progressing to the international level. He won the WBC international belt and has defended it by beating Joel Brunker and Hisashi Amagashi. He is angling for a fight with domestic rival Lee Selby.

25. Stuart Hall
The grizzled veteran has carved out a brilliant career for himself. Early losses in his career to Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins were offset by beating Vusi Malinga to win the IBF title. He lost it to Paul Butler and in a later shot to Randy Caballero. Since then he had won four straight and will get the next shot at Lee Haskins.

Just missed out: Paul Butler, Stephen Smith, Brian Rose, Frankie Gavin
Could be here soon: Andrew Selby, Khalid Yafai, Dillan Whyte, Jack Catterall

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  1. Hard Bop 07:05am, 05/31/2016

    Tyson Fury??!!!  British Pound for pound champ?!!!  Couldn’t even read further after that.  Fury is heavyweight champ who lives in Britain….period.  And after his next fight, he’ll just be a heavyweight boxer living in Britain….period. 

    Had Fury beaten an in-his-prime Klitschko I might be inclined to go along.  But Fury v Klitschko was a punch-less exhibition of posing by a couple of towering storks, not a boxing match.

    Sorry Cain, but Tyson Fury deserves that pound for pound ranking just as much as Buster Douglas did for beating the real Tyson….Iron Mike.

  2. KB 05:38pm, 05/19/2016

    Good response Cain

  3. Cain Bradley 04:02pm, 05/19/2016

    I wrote a really long comment then deleted it! Argh!

    As I state in the piece David Haye is in the top twenty on his talent and old wins. He cannot be top ten for me because he has not fought anyone of note for a while
    - Khan over AJ on strength of wins. AJ best wins come against Martin and Whyte. Khan has 4 better wins than either of those and losses against mainly great boxers. And he started strong against a pound for pound ranked fighter.
    I’m too young to even properly do a 90s list without lots of research and I have no idea where he is.
    - If Fury and Carl lose, they along with Quigg will move down.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:58pm, 05/18/2016

    Crolla and McDonnell stay in the top ten but two of the remaining eight have to make room for Haye and Joshua. Things will look a lot different after Leo bulldozes Frampton and Wlad recovers from his post-partum depression long enough to pancake Tyson.

  5. peter 11:45am, 05/18/2016

    Interesting article. Back in the ‘90s, where would you have put Tony Collins in a list like this? I saw him lose to Wally Swift Jr. in Reading. Interesting, tough, fight. Do you have any idea where Collins is now?

  6. Eric 09:13am, 05/18/2016

    The Gypsy King is a modern day Ali. Nope, I ain’t talkin’ bout boxing, but his willingness to stand up for what is right and speak out against the evils in our society. Hail King Fury! Keep fightin’ the good fight, Mr. Fury! The truth is on your side.

  7. kb 08:02am, 05/18/2016

    Khan before AJ ????

  8. KB 08:01am, 05/18/2016

    David Haye at 20 is ?????????????????

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