Top 10 British boxers that could become world champions in 2018
British boxing is enjoying a sustained and impressive boom led by Anthony Joshua, but backed up by a number of other current world champions including George Groves, Ryan Burnett, Billy Joe Saunders and Kal Yafai.
The likes of Kell Brook, Amir Khan and Tyson Fury are hoping to regain world titles in 2018 whilst a host of others are trying to get their hands on gold for the very first time.
Here are 10 British boxers that could well be called world champions for the first time this year.
- Paddy Barnes
‘The Leprechaun’ is a man on a mission as, just five fights into his professional career he is calling out WBO world flyweight champion Sho Kimura, and he might just get his wish in 2018.
Double Olympic bronze medalist Barnes is already 30 so does not want to hang around, and already in five fights he has won the WBO European and Inter-Continental titles - putting him in the top 10 of their world rankings.
Kimura has never fought outside of Asia, but he could be tempted by a decent payday in Belfast and Barnes could cash in himself, getting his hands on the gold.
- Jack Catterall
At just 24-years-old his world title shot might just come a little early for Jack Catterall, but he looks likely to get one in 2018 and he might just pull off an upset victory on the global stage.
The Lancastrian starts 2018 with a 19-0 record, as the British and WBO Inter-Continental super lightweight title and ranked as high as fourth in the world by the WBO.
A path to a world title shot is clear for ‘El Gato’ fellow Frank Warren fighter Terry Flanagan is fighting Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO super lightweight title in April and, should Flangan win, the match-up is obvious.
Flanagan would be favourite but Catterall is a talented boxer and could just upset the grizzled Mancunian.
- Kid Galahad
The former British, Commonwealth and European super bantamweight champion now holds the IBF Inter-Continental featherweight belt and is desperate for big fights in 2018.
There are plenty of big domestic fights in the division, with Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Lee Selby and Josh Warrington all lurking at 126lbs. If Galahad can get in that mix then he will be fighting for a world title before long and he would be a tricky contest for anyone.
The Sheffield star is unbeaten in 23 and has an extremely awkward style, featherweight is a tough division at world level, but he could not be ruled out against anyone at the top of it.
- Anthony Yarde
The Londoner really stepped it up in 2017, graduating from knocking out journeymen to beating live contenders and winning titles. Anthony Yarde fought five times last year, winning all of them by knockout and claiming the Southern Area, WBO European and WBO Inter-Continental light-heavyweight titles in the process.
This run of form has taken him all the way to third in the WBO world rankings, although his highest rating elsewhere is just 13 with the IBF.
2018 might just be a touch too early for Yarde to claim world honours, especially with the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev Adonis Stevenson and Dmitry Bivol the current champs at 175lbs. However, Yarde has terrifying power (13 knockouts in 14 wins at the start of 2018) and if he keeps knocking everyone out then he won’t be far from a shot at glory.
- Dillian Whyte
It seems a long while ago that Dillian Whyte had Anthony Joshua in a spot of bother before being knocked out. It was actually less than three years ago, and whilst Joshua is now the holder of three world heavyweight world titles, Whyte is still looking for a crack at one.
‘The Bodysnatcher’ is taking on former belt holder Lucas Browne in March and if he wins that then he will certainly be getting a world title in the very near future.
The only thing that could hold Whyte back is if Joshua and Deontay Wilder were to fight for all the marbles, leaving him in the cold, but otherwise the Brixton man will get his opportunity.
Whether he is good enough to take it is questionable, but at heavyweight, one punch can change everything and he would have a chance against anyone.
- Chantelle Cameron
She might not have the fanfare behind her compared to the likes of Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor, but Chantelle Cameron has the opportunity and ability to make serious waves in female boxing in 2018.
She is arguably already a world champion, winning the IBO lightweight title in December, but she will be after one of the major four belts this year. A showdown with WBA champ Taylor looks likely at some stage, but her Cyclone Promotions team will probably want to grab another belt first then gamble on a unification.
Cameron has great power, starting 2018 with four knockouts from five pro wins. She may well target the current IBF champ Victoria Noelia Bustos who begins the year with a record of 18-4 with not one knockout to her name.
- Nicola Adams
The double Olympic gold medallist may have only had three professional but things move quickly in female boxing, and with a big promotional framework behind her, she should be fighting for world honours by the end of 2018.
Adams’ three opponents to date have all had winning records so she has been happy to test herself and she will be heading towards world level at pace early this year.
A couple of the champions at super flyweight are eminently beatable with WBC champ Guadalupe Martinez Guzman holding a record of 16-9 and WBA queen Linda Laura Lecca with the extraordinary ledger of 13-2-2-4, meanwhile the WBO strap is vacant.
Adams has more than enough talent and with a fairly clear path – she should have a belt around her waist in the near future.
- Andrew Selby
The Welshman is only 10 fights into his professional career, but he is fast catching up with his brother Lee, who is a featherweight world champion, and Andrew could well claim world honours this year.
Selby has already won the British title and belts sanctioned by the IBF and WBC which has put him in the top 10 of the WBC, IBF and WBO. He is due to fight unbeaten Frenchman Vincent Legrand for the vacant European strap early this year, and if he wins that a world title will be next.
A tremendous amateur and an impressive-looking pro so far, his rapid rise should continue in 2018.
- Josh Taylor
Arguably the most exciting prospect in British boxing, Josh Taylor had an outstanding 2017 that really could scarcely have gone any better for the Scotsman.
Four wins, three by knockout and meanwhile retaining his Commonwealth super lightweight title and winning the WBC Silver strap. His stoppage of Ohara Davies secured him the most headlines, but becoming the first man to stop former world champion Miguel Vazquez was even more impressive.
Thanks to Terence Crawford winning and then vacating all the super lightweight titles, the division is very open and Taylor could well swoop and claim world honours just three years after turning pro.
- Callum Smith
The Liverpool super middleweight has seemingly been on the verge of a world title shot forever. He looked to be on the brink back in 2015 when he won the WBC silver and the British title in the same year. Three years later he is still waiting, but 2018 looks set to be his year.
Smith is part of the World Boxing Super Series and has already won his way through to the semi-finals where he will meet Jurgen Braehmer. Beat the German and he gets a crack at either George Groves or Chris Eubank Jr for the WBA and IBO world titles - and the inaugural Muhammed Ali trophy.
Despite having to travel to Germany to fight Braehmer, he should have no problem with the veteran - Groves or Eubank will be a test, but he may well go in as favourite against either.