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Tuning in to watch an undefeated fighter has always been a big draw for the British public and in this piece we will explore the top 10 undefeated British prospects to look out in 2016.
Whilst trying to avoid a debate between who is a “prospects” and who is a “contender”, this article simply excludes all those British Boxers who currently hold world titles; Tyson Fury, Kell Brook, Billy Joe Saunder to name a few. So let’s begin:
1. Callum Smith 18-0 – Liverpool – Super-middleweight
Callum Smith is known for his devastating body shots and lanky frame. He recently blasted out fellow Scouser (and the then undefeated) Rock Fielding in just one round, to the surprise of all but his team. It seems only those that see him in the gym day in and day out, know the true potential he has. That victory though has really given “Mundo” a whole new level of credibility amongst the last remaining doubting fans.
A huge domestic clash with George Groves may await him before he begins his assault on a world title, but he is already mandatory challenger for the WBC super-middleweight title against Badou Jack. Should he come up against either, it would be hard to back against him.
2. Anthony Joshua 15-0 – Watford – Heavyweight
Like with most undefeated fighters, the word “hype” is often over used, but after Anthony Joshua’s best victory to date against the formerly unbeaten Dillian Whyte, he dispelled any suggestions that he is over hyped, at least domestically. He also boasts a win over the previously unbeaten Gary Cornish as well. That is not to say Joshua is a world beater just yet, nor has he ever claimed to be, but he could well be on his way to super-stardom if he can negotiate his next couple of fights in style. With rumours of David Haye being mentioned in the Summer both fame and fortune seem destined to come his way.
3. Hughie Fury 18-0 – Manchester – Heavyweight
Could Hughie Fury be the Vitali Klitschko to Tyson Fury’s Wladamir? Should both of the Fury’s fulfil their undoubted potential, they could dominate the future of the heavyweight division for years to come. At only 21, Fury is a mammoth 6’6” and if he uses his imposing reach to his advantage he could coast through his next few bouts on sheer size alone.
4. Josh Warrington 22-0 – Leeds – Featherweight
Josh Warrington has amassed a staggering 150 rounds in his 22 professional bouts, winning 18 of them on points. Whilst not recognised for his power, his remarkable stamina and cute boxing skill have been enough for him so far and should he continue dominating in the same fashion, he is on a collision course with world champion Lee Selby.
5. Scott Cardle 19-0 – Lytham St Annes – Lightweight
Scotty Cardle’s latest victory was a hard fought TKO against Sean Dodd in which he made much harder work for himself than he should of. He came out of the match with bad injuries to his eyes and head, as he shared with the world on twitter.
It was clear that the baying crowd (myself included) of the Echo Arena were against Cardle, cheering on their home fighter, but Scotty showed something just as important as knockout power for a boxer and that was heart, which he has in abundance. He got the stoppage in the final round and will look to make a victory over Dodd in their rematch a more decisive one, as he is clearly the more skilled boxer. He will no doubt push on to bigger international fights in the near future.
6. Tommy Langford 15-0 – Birmingham – Middleweight
Tommy Langford’s record is pretty good, although 8 of his wins came against opponents who have lost more fights than they have won and he is yet to fight in a 12 rounder. However, with three TKO’s in his last four fights, against decent fighters, he possess a good repertoire of shots to not need the championship rounds. Langford is signed to Frank Warren and has been touted as a possible first defence for Billy Joe Saunders which shouldn’t be taken too lightly.
7. Jack Catterall 14-0 – Chorley – Super-lightweight‘
El Gato’ Jack Catterall announced himself on the domestic scene almost two years ago with a win over the unbeaten 2012 GB Olympic boxing team captain Tom Stalker. He has since went on to sweep aside a couple of other unbeaten prospects and looks set go on to achieve great things. He can only get better having sparred with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez.
8. Khalid Yafai 17-0 – Birmingham – Super-flyweight
Speed and angles. Kal Yafai uses both of these things to his advantage in all of his fights. Wide body shots and quick attacks to the head come so naturally to the 26-year-old. The pintsize fighter will break onto the world scene soon enough and could clean up in a division dominated by Japanese talent.
9. Liam Walsh 19-0 – Cromer – Super-featherweight
Liam Walsh has really come on in the last few years fighting good, experienced men who are going to teach him new things in the ring. The only problem is, he is teaching them a lesson while he is at it. The southpaw may be nearing 30 but that is not to say there isn’t a lot left in the tank and winning a world title could be his “Destiny”.
10. Zelfa Barrett 7-0 – Manchester – Super-featherweight
The ‘Brown Flash’ won British Boxers “Young prospect to watch in 2016” – Barrett nephew of former British and European champion Pat Barrett, who is also his trainer and promoter, has the talent and dedication to go all the way. He has only been professional a year, racking up 7 quick wins, scoring 2 KOs, all done with an air of swagger.
Barrett boxes for Black Flash Promotions but has just signed a 6 fight deal to appear on Frank Warren’s upcoming shows as well. His next fight will be on the undercard of Flanagan vs Mathews in Liverpool on February 13th and he is out again on March 5th in Manchester. Expect to see plenty of him on BoxNation for the foreseeable future. Barrett has also started to add power to his skills and scored a big KO in his last fight, the British super-featherweight division has a potential star amongst it here.
A word of caution must be made with how seriously you take a fighter’s unbeaten records.
It is worth remembering that a lot of these wins have come against lowly opposition, without any disrespect; journey men and the likes. That is not to discredit a win for any young fighter, it is the natural path they must take to learn their trade and they can only beat what is in front of them, so credit to all those who made the list and long may their streaks continue.
And it is also not to say a defeat is the end of a boxers career. It is often the way they a fighter loses that determines their success. Expect the likes of Dillian Whyte, Mitchell Smith and Rocky Fielding who all lost their “0” last year, to come back just as strong as all the lads who made the list this year.
Other notable names that could have made our top 10 list.
- Craig Kennedy 13-0 – Cardiff – Cruiserweight
- Hosea Burton 14-0 – Manchester – Light-heavyweight
- Callum Johnson 13-0 – Boston – Light-heavyweight
- Tom Doran 16-0 – Connahs Quay – Super-middleweight
- Ahmet Patterson 16-0 – London – Super-welterweight
- Anthony Cacase 13-0 – Belfast – Super-featherweight
- Thomas Patrick Ward 16-0 – Durham – Super-bantamweight
- Ryan Burnett 12-0 – Belfast – Bantamweight
- Jamie Conlan 15-0 Belfast – Super-flyweight
- Charlie Edwards 6-0 – Surrey – Flyweight