This Saturday, we will see Josh Warrington’s highly anticipated featherweight bout with Carl Frampton as well as the equally seismic Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora rematch – truly, a festive treat of British domestic boxing.
The UK boxing scene is looking healthy at present, so we thought we’d break down the top 20 pound-for-pound fighters currently displaying the Union Jack.
Thanks go to BritishBoxers.co.uk for their list.
20) Ryan Burnett - Bantamweight
The slight Northern Irishman has a career record of 19-1 (9 KO), and suffered the sole blemish on his record in November. A shock defeat to Nonito Donaire of the Philippines saw Burnett seriously injure his back, but the 26-year-old has already said that he will be in the ring again at some point.
19) George Groves - Super-Middleweight
George Groves has suffered in recent years. A promising career ran into a pair of defeats to Carl Froch, and ‘Saint George’ would lose again on the comeback trail, this time to Badou Jack of Sweden. The Londoner fought his way back to the top though, becoming the WBA champion in his division. A good result against Chris Eubank Jr. earlier in 2018 seemed to suggest Groves was ready to press on for sustained dominance, before Callum Smith laid him out in the seventh round of a September bout in Saudi Arabia – more from Smith later.
18) Amir Khan - Light-Welterweight
Khan is on the way back to the top, propelled by Matchroom Sport’s ceaseless PR machine. Victories against Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas have put him back on the right path, after a two-year hiatus following a brutal defeat via knockout to Canelo Alvarez.
17) Ricky Burns - Lightweight
The Scotsman has enjoyed a mammoth career, and has amassed a record of 43-7-1 in 17 years on the professional boxing scene. Burns is showing no signs of wanting to hang up the gloves, either!
16) Jamie McDonnell - Bantamweight
The Doncaster-native was unbeaten from 2008 to 2017, before taking a no-contest result against Liborio Solis and a first-round TKO to Naoya Inoue of Japan.
15) Lee Selby - Featherweight
The hugely impressive Welshman was beaten by Josh Warrington in the summer, but he had made five successful defences of his IBF world title prior to the defeat. Don’t be surprised to see Selby challenging at the top again soon in the featherweight division.
14) Scott Quigg - Super-Bantamweight
The 30-year-old has been involved in some high-profile contests recently, most notably against Oscar Valdez. Despite losing, the Bury-native rebounded against another Mexican in Mario Briones, with a swift TKO in the second round.
13) James DeGale - Super-Middleweight
Despite being IBF super-middleweight champion, DeGale vacated the belt in the summer of 2018 in order to cherry-pick his fights in the latter stages of his career. ‘Chunky’, as he is affectionately known will be hoping to book lucrative fights as his time in the sun wears down.
12) Terry Flanagan - Lightweight
‘Turbo’ Terry Flanagan had been beating everything that dared to cross his path for the best part of eight years on the pro scene, before taking two damaging defeats to Maurice Hooker and Regis Prograis. Both fights went the distance however, and the 29-year-old will be praying for a chance to get his career back on track soon.
11) Anthony Crolla - Lightweight
Another lightweight to consider is Anthony Crolla. Despite back-to-back defeats to Jorge Linares a year ago, three consecutive wins (including one against Ricky Burns) have suggested the Mancunian is on his way back to his best. The 32-year-old had been WBA lightweight champion, and will likely do whatever he can to win his belt back.
10) Dillian Whyte - Heavyweight
Whyte, in another age, could have found himself much higher on this list. His 2015 loss to Anthony Joshua derailed a seemingly unstoppable rise to the top of the table, but few can deny the Brixton-native is on his way back. If he beats Chisora again, Whyte can make a very real case to take on AJ again next year.
9) Josh Taylor - Super-Lightweight
The 27-year-old turned pro in 2015, and is unbeaten through 14 contests. Taylor will get a title shot soon enough, with a fight against Belorussian Ivan Baranchyk scheduled for some time next year.
8) Kal Yafai - Super-Flyweight
Kal Yafai has started to assert his dominance in his division. The WBA champion, the West Midlander has made four successful defences of his crown since claiming it for the first time back in 2016. 25-0 is impressive for any fighter, and fans are eagerly awaiting to see where he goes next.
7) Billy Joe Saunders - Middleweight
Billy Joe Saunders could be on the cusp of making some serious waves in the middleweight division. Despite having vacated his WBO title, Billy Joe still wants a pop at the best around his weight – namely, Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
6) Kell Brook - Welterweight
Losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. are tough to take in the business end of a fighter’s career, but Brook is well on his way back to the top of the table after a pair of victories in 2018. One question persists – will a fight with Amir Khan ever happen? In this writer’s opinion, no. Sorry guys!
5) Carl Frampton - Featherweight
The Belfast-native has one blemish on his record, after a majority decision defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in January of 2017. The WBO champion will take on Josh Warrington for the IBF belt, and it’s one of only a few bouts where I really have no idea who might win.
4) Josh Warrington - Featherweight
And here’s the Leeds boy! His rise to the top went through Lee Selby earlier this year, and Saturday night will mark his first defence of the IBF belt.
3) Callum Smith - Super-Middleweight
The Scouser has captured the hearts of Liverpool, and could be on the cusp of something seriously special in that division. Currently holding two belts, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Matchroom pro
2) Tyson Fury - Heavyweight
He’s back. Tyson Fury was robbed of a famous victory against Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles, and will presumably face off against the Alabaman at some point next year to finish the job. Watching the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ haul himself up of off the canvas after taking a colossal left hook was a moment to make your hair stand on end.
1) Anthony Joshua - Heavyweight
Which can only leave us with Anthony Joshua. A force of nature, Joshua has had a pair of ‘coming of age’ victories in 2018. Going 12 rounds for the first time in March against Joseph Parker, the Watford-native again had to dig deep against then world number three Alexander Povetkin in September. His quest to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world looks destined to go through either Deontay Wilder, or perhaps most enticingly – Tyson Fury.