Best British Boxers Pound for Pound of All Time?

Who is the Greatest British Boxer Pound for Pound of all time?

Every 10 years or so there is always another boxer or three, pushing to break into the elite list of their predecessors.

There are many things to take into account when trying to choose just one, and as a boxing fan it is near impossible to single one out. Era’s and quality of opposition are a telling factor in any initial thought processes, swiftly followed by level the boxer campaigned at and ultimately world title achievements.

The whole debate of who was THE best of all time has been disgusted and argued about since the game began to form it’s history and eventually always seems to boil down to a matter of opinion and personal choice. Debates will continue to go on for many a year and will continue to do so while boxing exists.

The best fighters could depend and be judged on… for instance

  • Achievements: ie: Lennox Lewis 
  • Record and opponents:  ie: Ted Kid Lewis
  • Skills and ring Craft: ie: Jimmy Wilde
  • Excitement and KO Power: ie: Nigel Benn
  • Entertainment: ie: Prince Naseem Hamed
And so on and so forth…..
Our Short List of Boxers to be considered
in no particular order are…
  • Bob Fitzsimmons
  • Ken Buchanan
  • Ted Kid Lewis
  • Jimmy Wilde
  • Randy Turpin
  • Owen Moran 
  • Walter McGowan
  • Dave Charnley
  • Howard Winston
  • Benny Lynch
  • Freddie Mills
  • John Henry Stracey
  • Alan Minter
  • Terry Downes
  • Jackie Patterson
  • John Conteh
  • Barry McGuigan
  • Lloyd Honeyghan
  • Jim Watt
  • Duke McKenzie
  • Nigel Benn
  • Chris Eubank
  • Naseem Hamed
  • Ricky Hatton
  • Lennox Lewis
  • Joe Calzaghe
  • David Haye
  • Amir Khan
  • Carl Froch
  • Tyson Fury

Have we missed your favourite? let us know your thoughts! Please post us your views below.

The video below features promoter Frank Warren, the late Harry Mullan (journalist) and former world cruiserweight champion Glen McCrory. The knowledgeable trio discuss who their choice of ‘Best British Boxer of all time is. The video was made a good few years ago and we should note that the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and indeed Lennox Lewis had not yet gone on to achieve what they did. But it is well worth a watch and raises many questions. The video also gives new fans of the sport an insight to the great boxers of yesteryear. 

In a poll we recently ran, Joe Calzaghe won the votes for the best pound for pound boxer to come from these shores. Do you agree?

Or have we forgotten maybe just how good Ted “Kid” Lewis was? Bert Randolph Sugar, in his authoritative book, The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time, ranked Lewis at number 33, ahead of such fighters as “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Georges Carpentier.

During his career Ted “Kid” Lewis  won 9 titles at weights ranging from featherweight to middleweight. Lewis was born in London 24 Oct 1894 and was to start boxing professionally at the age of 14. – Mike Tyson the former undisputed heavyweight champion and renowned boxing historian, once said Ted “Kid Lewis” Lewis was “probably the greatest fighter to ever come out of Britain.”

‘The Kid’ was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. He finished his career with a record of 283 fights, won 215 (71 KOs), lost 44, drew 24. He had regularly conceded significant weight to a great many of his opponents and also going into their back yards to do so.

But surely it’s got to be the other Lewis?

Lennox Lewis! He was our undisputed heavyweight champion, who cleaned up the heavyweight division and defeated every man he ever faced? In 2009, in his first year of eligibility, Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

With a career record of 41 Wins (32 knockouts, 7 decisions, 2 disqualifications), 2 Losses (2 knockouts), 1 Draw, including wins over his other modern day great rivals Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. Lewis is up there with the best.  

Wait did we forget that Lloyd Honeyghan was?

The Ragamuffin man defeated the American superstar and pound for pound No1 of the time, Donald Curry against all the odds in September 1996 at Ceasar’s Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City.

During his pro career Honeyghan had 43 fights, winning 30 by knockout and losing just  5  in an amazing career. Honeyghan campaigned at a time when there was a big pool of quality fighters of the day. Honeyghan won the WBC, WBA and IBF Welterweight titles during his career.

He also held the European welterweight belt, the Commonwealth light middleweight and welterweight titles – The British light-middleweight and the British welterweight title as well as other domestic honours in his early career.

He was the man who against all odds shocked and beat the unbeatable Don Curry, he defeated such men as Gianfranco Rosi, Maurice Blocker, Gene Hatcher, Johnny Bumphus, Harold Brazier, Cliff Gilpin, Danny Paul, Sylvester Mittee, Horace Shufford, Jorge Vaca, Yung-Kil Chung, Lloyd Hibbert, Roger Stafford, Sid Smith, John Welters, Mickey Hughes and Darryl Anthony, during a dazzling career. 

Here are three other fighters to consider when making your judgement on, just who is the greatest pound for pound boxer to come from the UK?

Joe Calzaghe, the Italian Dragon, the Welsh Wizard who finished his career in Halcyon days, defeating two of the all time greats in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. Them wins came on top of his master class showing, to beat ‘America’s Jeff Lacy, a fellow world champion unbeaten and at the time being branded the new Mike Tyson and the saviour of US boxing.

Calzaghe Retired with an incredible record of 46 fights, 46 wins, 32 by knockout. He fought and beat the best he had put in front of him in his era and deserves to be fought of in high esteem..

At the time of writing a new breed of contenders shake up the assembled lists of the past. Names such as David Haye, undisputed cruiserweight champion and heavyweight title holder who’s achievements stake a claim.

Carl Froch and Amir Khan are two other fighters on there way to being considered worthy of consideration, if they can continue to perform and fight the best out there and achieve all the ingredients it takes to be the best and be thought of as contenders, to the ones who have gone before them. 

The best ever? – That’s your shout!

To be continued……..

UPDATE: 17th January 2016

Tyson Fury the unbeaten heavyweight showman from Manchester becomes heavyweight champion of the world defeating the linear champion, unbeaten in 11 years, Wladimir Klitschko. Is Fury considering this achievement eligable for our list. Becoming heavyweight champion of the world automaticaly admits you to any list like this. If he can be regarded as the best ever, of course not, but his achiement is the best it gets. Can he reign supreme as champion for a longtime? Then maybe one day he will top the list!

Current British Boxers who have the potential to join the best P4P list in the future

  • Kell Brook
  • James DeGale
  • Lee Selby
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Liam Smith
  • Terry Flanagan
  • Anthony Crolla
  • Anthony Joshua
  • Callum Smith

To be continued……..

  • Rel

    How come John H Stracey isn’t in list!!

  • cm

    Good point Rel, if anybody else would like to vote for Stracey, please reply to the post

  • Anonymous

    I agree Stracey should be on the list. Jack ‘Kid’ Berg, Freddie Welsh, Jim Driscoll, Benny Lynch and Owen Moran are all better than most of the guys on that list as well.

  • Anonymous

    I second Stracey,Driscoll and Berg,also submit for consideration-Len Harvey,Jock Mcavoy and Terry Allen!

  • All your considerations are taken into account and added to the list. Thankyou for your input and wise judgements on this interesting question and debate, of whi is the Best British Boxer of all Time. BritishBoxers

  • Anonymous

    Lennox was poleaxed by two mediocre jouneymen and was fortunate to get the decision over an old Holyfield, his victory over Mike Tyson was against a shell of the once all time great. Lennox is a Canadian who has lived in Canada for the last 35yrs and is inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame.

  • Anonymous

    i agree with Rel – Stracey should be on there,

  • Ellis

    Amir Kahn is on there, but the unbeaten Tyson Fury isn’t. Fury should be mentioned.

  • Happytravelling

    Always a tricky call. Its hard to judge boxers pre 60’s-70’s as relatively few fights were recorded but, I can’t help getting nostalgic for fighters from the turn of the century through to the 30’s as their careers were so long, tough and unpredictable. I can’t help having admiration for the boxers of that era but for me, of that era, Berg, Wilde and Lewis stand out but I wouldn’t begrudge Moran. Fitz deserves all the credit he gets for his achievements and should be, debatably, number one.

    Wilde’s staggering KO record of 98 from 132 wins are worth a mention as they often put him in most educated observer’s top punchers list of all time which, for a FLYWEIGHT, is stunning.

    Comparing “modern” (post WWII) fighters becomes harder because they fought less and, typically, a “higher quality” opponents.

    For me, Lynch and Winston don’t quite make it at the very top but deserve mention somewhere in the top 10-20.

    For great wins you have to have Stracey, Turpin, Honey and Benn and for pure talent Conteh, Hamed, Lewis and Calzaghe.

    But I have problems placing Charnley etc as I have seen so little of them.

    But, I would have the old timers:

    1. Fitz
    2. Lewis
    3. Wilde
    4. Berg
    5. Moran
    6. Turpin (?) just because he beat the greatest and anybody who does that deserves to be on an all time list!

    And the modern fighters:
    1. Stracey (Biased as I have great admiration for what he did in Mexico city)
    4. Hamed (just because I think he’s the most naturally talented fighter I have ever seen, even if he was a pr*ck)
    5. Benn (because I thought he was the most entertaining fighter of my generation and won some absolutely barn storming fights!)

    I respect everybody elses opinions on this as these were all great men and I wouldn’t like to match eras, but those are my choices.

    P.S we haven’t mentioned Colin Jones who was a great fighter and Tony Sibson who were just unlucky to come up against Sugar Ray Leonard, who IMO is disturbingly underrated in most lists as he is one of the most “complete” fighters I ever saw.

    • Enjoyed reading that Happytravelling you make great points there and your choices are certainly there or there abouts and you put your point across very well 🙂