Britain’s Top Pound For Pound Boxers
By Jack Price
Britain is a big player in world boxing right now. We currently have six world champions and a lot of young talent coming through.
We’ve got big star names like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Amir Khan who are known by pretty much everyone worldwide.
But we also have lesser known fighters in terms of name but who are arguably just as good if not better in terms of their talent in the ring. So in this feature article I’m going to be compiling a list of the top 10 boxers pound-for-pound in Britain today.
No.10 – Kal Yafai (25-0, 15 KO’s), WBA Super-Flyweight World Champion
Better known as ‘Kal’, the second smallest man on the list. Unbeaten in 25 fights, the 29-year old is the WBA world champion but hasn’t really took on any of the elite fighters in his division yet. He picked up the vacant title against Luis Concepcion back in 2016 and has only defended it four times since, against decent but not spectacular opposition. He has looked like a class fighter throughout his career though so he does deserve his place on the list. But if he wants to work his way up to a higher spot he needs to step in the ring and take on some of the fellow champions and higher-rated fighters in and around his weight class.
9: Charlie Edwards (15-1, 6 KO’s), WBC Flyweight World Champion
Fan favourite Charlie Edwards is the smallest man on the list. All the way down at flyweight he holds the WBC world title and is one of the country’s fastest-improving young fighters. He took a knock-out loss back in 2016 in his first world title fight against John Riel Casimero but he had only had 8 fights at the time and was very inexperienced. He’s bounced back superbly since then beating some decent guys and becoming world champion at the second attempt. His performance last time out is the reason he’s on the list for me. It was a career-best performance against Angel Moreno, who is no world-beater but was expected to at least provide a bit of a test. But the Spaniard didn’t lay a glove on Edwards for the entire 12 rounds and Charlie just looked on a completely different level.
Like Yafai though, Edwards does need to start upping the level of his opposition if he wants to be seen as a real pound-for-pound contender.
8: Carl Frampton (26-2, 15 KO’s), Featherweight
Just three years ago Carl Frampton could have very much been at the top of this list. The Irishman was on top of the world after becoming a two-weight world champion and taking the unbeaten records of Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz.
However, since losing a close rematch to Santa Cruz in 2017 he seems to have slowed down a little. He’s only lost once since the Cruz loss, and that was to the incredible and in-form Josh Warrington but he hasn’t looked as sharp and explosive as he used to. At 32-year old his best years may be behind him but I believe he’s still got enough left to keep his place in this list and maybe even become world champion once again. Featherweight is a very tough weight class right now though so it’s a big ask.
7: Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KO’s), Lightweight
‘Cool Hand’ Luke Campbell is stylistically one of my favourite fighters in Britain today. His boxing ability is up there with the very best which showed when he pushed Jorge Linares, one of the most formidable fighters in the world at the time, to the limit when they met in 2017. That was his second defeat. His first was a split decision loss to Yvan Mendy relatively early in his career but he avenged that with an impressive performance and wide points victory three years later. He’s a man that isn’t afraid to take on the very best and his next fight looks like it’s going to be against Vasyl Lomachenko, the fighter who is considered by most to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet right now. It’s going to be a very, very tough test for Campbell but I do believe he’s got the size, style and ability to cause Lomachenko a few problems.
6: Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s), Heavyweight
When I first started compiling this list Anthony Joshua was up at No.2 and the unified heavyweight champion of the world but his shocking upset loss to a huge underdog in Andy Ruiz Jr recently has seen him come crashing down and has put a lot of question marks around his ability and the hype that used to surround him.
He is still a former unified champion though and has better wins than most fighters on this list (Klitschko, Parker, Povetkin, Whyte) so he does deserve to still be this high in the rankings for me although some people may not agree. His last performance was very poor though and if it happens a second time in the rematch then he will slip even further down the ladder.
But if Joshua can bounce back to win the rematch and show it was an off night then build from there, we may see him start to climb in to the top 5 and towards the top again.
5: Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KO’s), IBF Light-Welterweight World Champion
Josh Taylor has the least amount of fights out of anyone on this list but he has already faced some very tough competition. He’s already got wins over the likes of Ohara Davies, Miguel Vazquez, Viktor Postol and Ivan Baranchyk. You won’t see a more impressive resume than this after 15 fights for any British boxer around right now. He had a tough test against Baranchyk last time out when he picked up the IBF title but although he was pushed to the max, he showed he can come through tough times and still get the victory.
Taylor seems to be getting better with every fight and his next contest is a massive one; the final of the prestigious World Boxing Super Series. He will be facing Regis Prograis, the man who is currently the No.1 in the division. If he gets a big win here and takes home that Muhammad Ali trophy then he will be definitely climbing up the ladder in these pound-for-pound rankings.
4: Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KO’s), WBA Super-Middleweight Super World Champion
Callum Smith is a fighter that has always looked like a serious talent but it wasn’t until he beat up and stopped modern British legend George Groves in his last fight that people really started to believe the hype. Before this he hadn’t really beaten anyone of real note but on this night, he proved that he’s up there with the very best. He now needs to keep this momentum going and build on from this big win.
Recently the 29-year old demolished the experienced but limited Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in New York and showed his class and power once again but now it’s time to start taking on the elite at 168lb. He’s considered by most to be the No.1 in the division already but there’s still the likes of Caleb Plant, David Benavidez and Billy Joe Saunders to face and prove his worth against at super-middleweight. At 6”3 the Liverpudlian has also got the size to go through the weights so that could help him climb the pound-for-pound ranks too.
3: Josh Warrington (28-0, 6 KO’s), IBF Featherweight World Champion
‘Mr. Underdog’ Josh Warrington is in incredible form right now. The Leeds fan favourite has always been a popular fighter coming through but he was seen as a bit limited in skill and power and wasn’t really considered an exciting prospect on the way up. However, in May of 2018 he upset the odds to beat the highly-rated Welshman and IBF world champion Lee Selby in emphatic style.
Despite this impressive victory he started as the underdog once again when facing Irishman Carl Frampton in December later that year. But he upset the odds once again and added another big British name to his unbeaten record. Next up he takes on another Brit in the unbeaten but untested Kid Galahad and this time starts as the favourite for a change.
If he comes through this as expected then there’s some real big players in the featherweight division to test his ability against. A win over any of the other champions who are currently Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez and Gary Russell Jr, could see him climb even higher and maybe up to No.1 if it’s in impressive style.
2: Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KO’s), WBO Super-Middleweight World Champion
In my opinion Billy Joe is the most skilful and talented boxer we have in Britain right now and one of the best fighters out there worldwide, but he’s just lacking that win over a real elite fighter which is stopping him from being considered a serious world pound-for-pound contender. But in Britain he’s definitely one of the best and he’s showed that with his impeccable wins over the likes of Chris Eubank Jr, Andy Lee and David Lemiuex.
Saunders became a two-weight world champion in his last fight against the tough but limited Shefat Isufi and called out the likes of Callum Smith, Canelo and Gennady Golovkin in the ring afterwards. He definitely has the ability to mix it with and even beat all three of these guys but he will have to be at his very best and that isn’t always the case with him so you could argue that he’d start as the underdog against all three. A win over any of them though would probably see him take the No.1 spot in Britain and break into the 10 pound-for-pound worldwide.
1: Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO’s), Heavyweight
It may seem weird that the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in Britain right now isn’t even a world champion at the moment, but he should be. Pretty much every person who saw Tyson Fury’s fight against WBC heavyweight world champ Deontay Wilder had the Brit winning the fight. Despite being knocked down twice he completely out-classed and out-boxed the American and won at least 8 rounds out of the 12 even if you were being generous to the champion.
The fight was scored a draw though by the three judges meaning Wilder got to hold on to his belts and Fury was left empty-handed. The fans got to see though that despite having almost three years out the ring and battling drug, alcohol and mental health problems, Tyson Fury was still pretty much a level above everyone else at the weight, as he proved earlier in his career when ending the 11-year reign of Wladimir Klitschko. Now for the ‘Gypsy King’ it’s just about keeping the big fights and big wins coming and cementing that legacy.