Boxing in the UK is very much in a transitional period. Many of the previous list have officially hung up their gloves or are seemingly well on their way to doing so. This has led to quite the reshuffling in BBB’s Pound for Pound Top 10 compared to 2018’s Pound for Pound list.
As ever, our list is based on recent achievements, overall body of work and our perception of their ability. Same as every other P4P list then!
1. Tyson Fury (27-0-1) – Heavyweight
No man on this list will cause as much debate as the Gypsy King. Despite his self-enforced absence from the ring, Fury’s record is up there with the best in the division. His win over a fresher version of Wladimir Klitschko than AJ, combined with his disputed draw (we had him winning) against WBC champ Deontay Wilder, are comparable with Joshua’s. The fact though that he had so much time out of the ring and jumped straight in with Wilder lifts him above his peers for us. It’s just a shame that the big 3 have all gone their own separate ways.
Let’s be honest, he and AJ need to meet in the squared circle to settle this discussion. Here’s hoping…
2. Anthony Joshua (22-0) – Heavyweight
Whatever your personal feelings are towards Joshua (or the hype surrounding him) the unified Heavyweight champ has beaten everyone they’ve put in front of him. Since we last compiled this list, AJ added Joseph Parker’s WBO title to his collection and stopped an admittedly past his best Alexander Povetkin with ease. Part of the reason that Joshua receives so much criticism (in my opinion) is because of how highly he is rated. Many are threatening to lose interest unless he faces Wilder or Fury soon, and that inadvertently shows just how good he is. If he weren’t at such a high level, then the scrutiny on him wouldn’t be so tough. His resumé stands up to scrutiny against anyone with so few bouts and even his harshest critics would consider him outside of the top 3 in his division.
He will easily be Number 1 on many people’s lists and we couldn’t really begrudge him that. When it comes to his best performances, they fall just short of Fury’s for us.
3. Josh Warrington (28-0) – Featherweight
For BBB, there is always something special about a journey from small hall shows through English, Commonwealth, British and European titles to World glory. Josh Warrington has completed this by the age of 28 only now is getting anywhere near the recognition he deserves. It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly, but with wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, the Leeds featherweight is rightly among the best in Britih boxing at present.
Those 2 wins (having been underdog both times) are up there with anything any fellow Brits have achieved and you’d certainly be brave to write him off against his fellow 126 lb champions. Warrington has worked his way steadily through the levels and is now in prime position to lead the next generation of UK boxers.
4. Callum Smith (25-0) Super-Middleweight
Already at number 3 on the list and we are struggling to split the best British boxers. Callum Smith secures such a high ranking based on his perceived ability as much as his best win. Smith deservedly dispatched George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series and, in doing so, cemented himself among the division’s elite. Groves has retired since, so there will be many who attempt to downplay Smith’s win, yet there is a recurring passing of the torch among the current rankings.
Smith did the business, just like Warrington previously, so deserves his ranking on our list. Let’s hope he is more active going forward and gets the chance to mix it with the best.
5. Carl Frampton (26-2) – Featherweight
While I am under no illusions that The Jackal is coming towards the end of his career, he still has the skill and ability to mix it with the best. His win over Nonito Donaire looks better in light of the Philippino’s recent resurgence.
Just what Frampton has left is very much up for debate but his overall body of work merits his place on this list.
6. Dillian Whyte (25-1) – Heavyweight
A lot is made of unbeaten prospects facing off early in their career. Anthony Fowler is the most recent example of taking a loss and still having potential to bounce back. Normally this is easier said after a close points lost, however Whyte has written the blueprint for doing so after a KO defeat.
The Body Snatcher has rebounded from the sole loss on his record (a brutal stoppage against long-time rival Anthony Joshua) in superb style. He was slightly fortunate to edge Dereck Chisora but has since stopped him to erase any doubts. In between those Chisora bouts, Whyte has put together a good string of wins and he is now widely considered as the number four heavyweight in the world.
7. Josh Taylor – (14-0) Super-Lightweight
A new entry on our list sees the popular Scot deservedly take his place among the British elite. Taylor came into the wider public eye with a domination of domestic rival Ohara Davies. Since then, the Shane McGuigan trained southpaw has accelerated into the world mix. A career best win over former world champion Viktor Postol saw Taylor take great momentum into the World Boxing Super Series.
He battered unbeaten American, Ryan Martin, into a seventh round stoppage to advance and will hopefully box for his first world title next time out.
8. Billy-Joe Saunders (27-0) – Super-Middleweight
Former WBO middleweight champion Saunders has definitely struggled when it comes to the ‘recent achievements’ section of our criteria. That does great disservice to Saunders’ talent and natural ability. He has recently made the move up to 168 lbs in search of his second world title in as many weight classes.
Like Callum Smith earlier, Saunders will benefit hugely from a solid run of activity and there are plenty of tantalising bouts out there for him.
9. Chris Eubank Jr (28-2) – Super-Middleweight
It is symbolic of modern boxing that Eubank and Saunders are still so closely ranked, 5 years after they met. Both men went their own ways, yet there is actually very little to split them. Saunders obviously has a legitimate world title on his record where as Eubank had seemingly run out of ideas.
That was until he beat veteran James Degale in his last bout. With that win, Eubank has received overdue respect from many critics and rumours of a clash with Martin Murray or Callum Smith are bubbling away at present.
10. Amir Khan (33-4) – Welterweight
“King” Khan sneaks into our list based firmly on his ability and past achievements. While he possesses the deepest record in British boxing, Khan continues to divide opinion. His best days are behind him but there aren’t many who come close to challenging Khan’s level of competition or world title credentials.
Next up is the phenomenal Terence Crawford in what will be another uphill task for the Bolton man.
Kell Brook, Luke Campbell, Kal Yafai, Charlie Edwards, Callum Johnson