The Top 5 British Prospects
By Jack Price
There’s a lot of big stars in British boxing right now. You’ve got the likes Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Amir Khan who are household names throughout the UK and you’ve also got the six world champions Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Josh Warrington, Josh Taylor, Charlie Edwards and Kal Yafai who are at the top of their game, building momentum and becoming big stars themselves.
That’s just a few names in the current crop of stars we have in Britain right now. I can’t go through them all. But soon enough, like in any sport, the era and generation will change, and we’ll have a new set of stars carrying the torch for Great Britain in the world of boxing.
In this article I’m going to pick the five young prospects that I believe have the most chance of taking over and leading the way in British boxing over the next 5 or so years.
1. Joshua Buatsi (11-0, 9 KO’s)
Buatsi is, in my opinion, the main fighter to watch out for in British boxing right now. At just 26 he’s looked punch perfect in each of his 11 fights so far as a pro and seems to be getting better and stronger with every outing. His level of opponents has been pretty good for just that amount of fights too. He hasn’t beaten any stand-out names just yet but he’s disposed of some decent level opposition with relative ease. There hasn’t really been a challenging moment for him yet.
Buatsi also seems like a very likeable guy outside of the ring which helps a lot when making your way to the top in this sport. I expect his fan base to grow as fast as his ability has once he starts having bigger fights and getting noticed by more people.
Another thing going in his favour is that he’s at light-heavyweight, a division that is absolutely stacked with potential rivals domestically and internationally right now. I expect Buatsi to become world champion and be in some very big fights over the next few years, no doubt about it!
2. Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KO’s)
Some people may argue that you can no longer call Anthony Yarde a prospect considering he’s had 18 fights and been pro for just over four years, but he’s still young and very much still on the way up so he’s a prospect still in my eyes. It is about time he does start to step up though. He’s been levels above everyone he’s met in the squared circle so far so it’s pointless continuing to fight guys like he has been.
There’s been strong rumours circulating for a while that he’s going to take on the main man in the division Sergey Kovalev, the WBO light-heavyweight champ, in his next fight so we may finally get to see if he’s the real deal or just a hype job.
Win or lose in that fight, if he puts in a good performance and holds his own against one of the world’s best, he’ll prove to boxing fans that he is one to watch out for on the world scene.
Yarde is at the same weight as Josh Buatsi and the two men look set on an inevitable collision course over the next few years. There are some fans that want that fight to happen now but if you let it grow and they both keep winning, maybe both pick up a world title, a fight between these two men could be absolutely huge in Britain in a few years time.
3. Josh Kelly (9-0-1, 6 KO’s)
In terms of natural ability and skill, Josh Kelly is probably one of the most talented fighters we have in Britain at the moment. But his ring IQ and decision making seems to be a bit of a problem for him right now.
This was evident in his last fight when he drew with the American Ray Robinson in New York. It was a close contest and a draw was probably a fair result but it’s a fight you feel Kelly could have won pretty clearly if he’d have been more focused, less lazy and more reluctant to showboat.
However, he’s only 25 with only 10 fights on his record and if he learns from this little slip-up, he can come back a much better and more efficient fighter.
His cocky boxing style is what’s going to make him stand out from the rest. That’s if he can perfect it. Boxing fans love a show-off in the ring; just ask the likes of Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr and Naseem Hamed! I’m not saying Josh Kelly is going to be anywhere along the lines of these legends but he has that sort of charisma early on his career that if he can back it up with big wins and big performances we may just have a huge star of the future on our hands.
4. Conor Benn (15-0, 10 KO’s)
Conor is the son of British boxing legend Nigel Benn – That’s something that is already going to make him more appealing to the British boxing fans. But he’s looking to carve his own way and make his own name in the sport. One thing we do already know is that, just like his dad, every single fight he’s in is guaranteed excitement. His fighting style is very eye-catching and wild, he carries a lot of power in his punch and he’s susceptible to taking some big shots and going down himself. We’ve already seen a lot of drama from him in the ring after just 15 fights.
I’m not sure what level Benn is going to get to, and he might not hit the heights that his father did but like I said he’s always going to be in good fights meaning people are always going to want to see him in action. He’s got a bit of charisma and personality outside of the ring too so I can see him becoming a big fan favourite in the next few years.
5. Scott Fitzgerald (13-0, 9 KO’s)
Not a lot of people had heard of Scott Fitzgerald before he got the upset win over domestic rival Anthony Fowler back in March of this year. But that epic performance and his entertaining personality in the build-up caught the attention of the British fans and now he looks set for a big future in the sport.
The UK has a lot of decent quality in the light-middleweight division that he’s in right now too meaning that he isn’t going to be short of opponents to take on in big domestic clashes over the next few years.
There’s obviously the rematch with Fowler and then the likes of Ted Cheeseman, Kieron Conway, Liam Smith and James Metcalf that are all potential opponents for ‘The Mad Man.’
It’s Fitzgerald’s wild and slightly weird personality that will make him stand out for the rest too. I can see him causing a stir and a lot of chaos as his name and fame continues to grow in the sport. The build-up to the fights will be just as exciting as the action in the ring when they involve Scott Fitzgerald!