The Top 20 British Boxers of All-Time

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It is worth pondering how many British boxers would appear in the world’s top 10 boxers. Here we explore some of the best of British to see if any of these fighters could be considered world class.

Duke McKenzie

Duke McKenzie was a three-division world champion and holds two division British championships and a European championship. He fought his debut fight in 1982,  achieving a second round stoppage over Charlie Brown. 

John Conteh 

Born in Liverpool, John Conteh was not just a great boxer but an awesome entertainer too. He won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games at the age of 19. In 1974, Conteh became the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship. 

Frank Bruno

Bruno won his first 21 fights with a knockout. He was most famous for this defeat against Mike Tyson but did in the end win the WBC World Title from Oliver McCall. Bruno has been tormented by mental health issues but will always be a national treasure.

Sir Henry Cooper

Henry Cooper had a tough childhood but was blessed with a left hook that was known as “Enry’s ‘ Ammer”, which stopped many a fight. He fought Cassius Clay in 1963 and managed to send him sprawling. Despite losing both fights due to cuts, Ali respected the man enough to comment on the power behind his punch.

Howard Winstone

It took four attempts for the Welshman to win his world title. He retired with 27 knockouts and an impressive 61 wins in an expansive career. What was more impressive is that he lost three fingers on his right hand when a teenager.

James Figg

He fought as a teenger in the fairs and would take on armed and unarmed challengers. He was then spotted by the Earl of Peterborough and he became the first English bare-knuckle champion – reigning undisputed for 11 years.

Tommy Farr

Known as the Tonypandy Terror, Farr’s first recorded fight was at the age of 12. He managed a few upsets in his career, beating Max Baer and Walter BEusel – and then getting to fight the legend Joe Louis. He may have narrowly lost on points but the crowd rated Farr as the true winner.

Naseem Hamed

Prince Naseem was probably one of the most entertaining fighters. He had a habit of fighting with his guard down and would be carried to the ring on a flying carpet. 

Lloyd Honeyghan

Known as the Ragamuffin Man, Honeyghan beat the much favoured American Donald Curry. Curry gave him his nickname, which Lloyd claimed with pride when he beat him. He defended the title successfully on many occasions.

Barry McGuigan

Now a successful boxing trainer, the Irishman McGuigan was one of the world’s greats in his class. He turned professional in 1981 and retired with a record of 32 – 3 with 28 knockouts.

Ricky Hatton

The Hitman had a passionate army of Manchester fans that would follow him around. He ballooned in weight after his habit of junk and alcohol kicked in. Unfortunately, he will probably be known for the brutal knockout by Pacquiao, but he was a great fighter.

Nigel Benn

Known as the Dark Destroyer, he held world titles at two different weight classes. With a record of 41 – 1 .

Chris Eubank

Known more for his flamboyant showmanship, he was also a great fighter. He had his troubles but fought his way up through life to top the world of boxing.

Ken Buchanan

Also known as the Fight Carpenter, Buchanan was thought to be the greatest ever Scottish fighter.  He won his first title fight in 1970.

Randolph Turpin

Turpin pulled off one of the biggest upsets in British boxing when he beat Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951. He finished his career with a record of 66-8-1 with 45 knockouts.

Lennox Lewis

We are now firmly into the arena of world greats with Lennox Lewis, who is considered the most dominant heavyweight of his time. Lewis retired after beating every man he faced.

Joe Calzaghe

His debut in 1993 was as an undercard fighter in the Lewis vs Bruno fight. He won Young Boxer of the Year as a young man and retired having held the WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF Super Middleweight Titles.

Bob Fitzsimmons

He turned professional in 1883 and won his title in 1891. In 1903 he knocked out Con Coughlin, who died the next day. Fitzsimmons still went on to become the first three division world champion.

Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis

He had a relentless boxing style that blew his opponents out of the ring. The Kid retired with an astonishing record, winning 227 of his fights  and winning nine world titles.

John Broughton

Broughton was a pioneer of the sport and was the man to first invent a padded glove. Not only did he fight well, he contributed significantly to the safety of the sport.

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