UK Top 10 Pound for Pound Rankings

Published On Saturday, December 16, 2017By Tim Rickson

UK Top 10 Pound for Pound Rankings

British Boxing News Founder Tim Rickson ranked his top 10 UK fighters to end 2017.

The year started with a dozen world champions from these shores, but ended with less than half that number.

Despite that, it has been another momentous year for British boxing, with the momentum sure to continue into 2018.


1. Anthony Joshua (20-0)
Unbeaten IBO, IBF and WBA Super world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua takes the top spot, as widely expected.

Licensing issues and inactivity is the reason why his rival Tyson Fury isn’t present anywhere in this list.

His career-best victory when he rose from the canvas to halt Wladimir Klitschko in the penultimate round at Wembley Stadium last April to become a unified champion is more than enough to populate this pole position, whilst remaining unbeaten in 20 bouts strengthens that claim further.


2. Carl Frampton (24-1)
Despite kicking the year of with a loss to Leo Santa Cruz in January, ‘The Jackal’ is the clear runner-up in this esteemed list.

His first ever defeat against a former victim and world pound-for-pound contender was by a marginal two points on two of the judges’ scorecards, the third ruling as a draw.

The Ulsterman is a two-weight world champion, who also boasts a victory over Scott Quigg, breaking his jaw in the fourth round.

His only fight this year resulted in a tough points decision over Horacio Garcia in his first appearance under the Frank Warren banner. He should have bounced back with two wins by now, but a freak accident to Mexican opponent Andres Gutierrez in the night before their July meeting prevented that.


3. Billy Joe Saunders (25-0)
His tight 2014 verdict over enemy Chris Eubank Jr looks outstanding now while his WBO middleweight title-winning effort against Andy Lee was very impressive.

His reign as WBO middleweight champion has stalled at times but his dominant win over Canadian David Lemieux has rightfully awarded the Hatfield star a shot at superstars Canelo or Golovkin next.


4. Lee Selby
IBF world featherweight king has held his red belt for over two-and-a-half years now and defended it twice in his trio of fights in 2017.

He earned his lofty positioning in the pound-for-pound list way back then in 2014 and has retained his seating ever since.

A recent UD win over unbeaten Eduardo Ramirez in London has set up a grudge match with bitter rival Josh Warrington for 2018.


5. George Groves (27-3)

Capturing the world title on his fourth attempt against the WBA Super world super-middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov was heartwarming to see and provided an inspiration to all aspiring world champions out there.

A successful defence against the handful that is Jamie Cox in the quarter-finals of the WBSS last October was both impressive and masterful.

His display has led many to believe the power in his hands and experience under his belt will be enough to deal with the cocky Chris Eubank Jr in the semi-finals of the WBSS tournament next February.


6. Ryan Burnett (18-0)
The unbeaten 25-year-old Belfastman widely outscored long-reigning champion IBF world bantamweight Lee Haskins, then unified recently with a closer decision over WBA Super ruler Zhanat Zhakiyanov.

There are no debates required for his qualification on this list, the Northern Irishman is a former British champion who stepped up to world level effortlessly to become a two-belt world champion.


7. Terry Flanagan (33-0)
‘Turbo’ first became the WBO lightweight titlist with a gifted victory over the champion Jose Zepeda when the unbeaten titlist dislocated his shoulder in the second-round of their July 2015 meeting.

Any confusion over his worth as a champion was quickly quietened just three months later with an explosive stoppage of talented Diego Magdaleno in the second-round. Further defences over Orlando Cruz and Petr Petrov earn this slot for the former undefeated WBO lightweight king, who recently has moved up to 140lbs.


8. Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1)
A brace of bantam triumphs against formerly unbeaten Tomoki Kameda – both in the US – were followed by wins over Fernando Vargas and (contentiously) Liborio Solis. The latter got another shot, but it ended in an anti-climactic technical draw due to a clash of heads.

He has held his WBA crown since May 2014 and defended the honours six times. The twin brother of Gavin, has not lost in over eight years and 22 fights now.


9. Khalid Yafai (23-0)

The unbeaten Birmingham boxer won the vacant WBA world super-flyweight title last year and defended the honours successfully twice this year by convincing unanimous decision wins.

The former British champion has gone from strength to strength in his four-and-half-year career and will likely be involved in some big title fights next year.


10. Chris Eubank Jr (26-1)

Hate him or love him, the brash Brighton boxer has excelled in recent years.

Since his sole career defeat to bitter rival Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014, he has reeled off eight straight wins and signed up to the World Boxing Super Series to disprove the theories he handpicks opponents and avoids difficult fights.

He has beaten some good names in Gary O’Sullivan, Nicky Blackwell, and Tom Doran at domestic level. A win over Dmitrii Chudinov gifted Jr the interim WBA world middleweight title, which he defended once to Tony Jeter.

After disappointing 160lbs rival Tommy Langford by withdrawing from their British title fight, he moved up to 168lbs and has made an impact by winning the IBO world super-middleweight title, albeit from a poor champion in Aussie Renold Quinlan, which he then defended against an ageing Arthur Abraham, which allowed a good scalp to be named on his record but without a great deal of creditability.

However, his devastating win over Arthur Yildrim in his third defence of the fringe IBO belt and first round of the WBSS to set up a semi-final showdown with George Groves cannot be questioned.


Runner-ups

11. Callum Smith (23-0)

British and European super-middleweight champion hovers just outside of the top-10 spot having not performed at world level just yet.

‘Mundo’ is the hot favourite to meet either George Groves or Chris Eubank Jr in the WBSS finals next year.


12. Liam Smith (26-1-1)

The former WBO super-welterweight champ conceded his title to superstar Canelo after a spirited and typically stubborn performance.

Two wins over Welshman Liam Williams this year rewarded ‘Beefy’ with the interim WBO world super-welterweight belt and a shot at the new champion Sadam Ali early next year.


13. Luke Campbell (17-2)

The southpaw has steadily rebuilt after his lesson to Yvan Mendy in 2015 to win five fights over the nest two years with notable wins over Derry Mathews and Darleys Perez.

His concluding fight of this year was an incredibly close contest against the classy Jorge Linares for his WBA lightweight belt.

Despite a second-round knockdown the Olympic gold medallist fought back to almost dethrone the Venezuelan and won the hearts of the American audience with courageous comeback rally.


14. Josh Warrington (26-2)

Two notable wins this year over Kiko Martinez and Dennis Ceylan, respectively, has finally earned the Leeds warrior with a shot at long-standing rival Lee Selby in 2018.

The 27-year-old Leeds’ favourite has done everything asked of him in his career and next year will tell if he is world champion material.


15. Scott Quigg (34-1-2)

The former world titlist has rebuilt after his loss to Carl Frampton with three straight wins between December 2016 to November 2017 to set up potential world title fights in 2018.


Notable Mention: Kell Brook (36-2)