Top 10 British Propsects for Next Season
Martin Theobald
29
June
2015

Boxing in the UK traditionally takes a month off during the month of August.  Fighters recuperate, promoters get their shows lined up and fans try and get their fix overseas.  So as the off season approaches, we take a look at the top prospects for next season.  The criteria we have applied is that they can't have fought for a world title and must have had under 20 fights.  Otherwise, they're all fair game!  Soh, here goes (in no particular order)....


1.  Anthony Joshua (13-0-0)

He was always going to feature highly on this list.  The heavyweight behemoth has been wrecking his way through the divison since his gold at the London 2012 Olympics.  Under Matchroom Promotions he is their bright star that they will look to create Pay-Per-Views around in the future.


Aged 25 he has many years ahead of him.  Fans are clambouring already to see him matched with the best in the division but his promoters are rightly taking their time, and recently put him in with the durable but limited Kevin Johnson.  Having never been stopped before, Joshua's achievement of ending the fight in the second round was impressive.  Still question marks are there around his stamina and punch resistance, but so far he has done everything asked of him.


2.  Luke Campbell (11-0-0)

Joshua's fellow Olympian from 2012 and also a gold medal holder, Luke's career has been stop start since turning to the pro game.  Family issues have held up his progress, but he has shown no flaws through his 11 fights at lightweight so far.  Similar to Joshua, critics will say his opponents have been overmatched - but again it is easy to forget the lad has only 11 fights on his record and is only 27.


A fight is lined up with hometown rival Tommy Coyle (both from Hull) which has been dubbed the 'Rumble on the Humber'.  It would be a huge surprise to see Coyle take the scalp of Campbell.  Although blessed with heart, Coyle lacks the skillset of Campbell.  In a division with plenty of domestic clashes to be made (Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell to name but two) there are plenty of options for Campbell and will look to be busier over the next year with his issues behind him.


3.  Chris Eubank Jr (18-1-0)

Carrying the family name may be enough for some fighters.  Not so Eubank Jr, who takes it a step further by emulating some of his father's characteristics - the posturing, posing and ring jump for starters.  But Eubank Jr isn't only style, there's plenty of substance to back it up.


In November 2014 he took a big step up in a hotly contested fight with fellow middleweight Billy Joe Saunders.  A heated build up lead to a quality fight in the ring - Saunders took it on points, but Eubank Jr could have made a case for the victory himself.  What he clearly learned is that he has the engine to go a full 12 rounds at pace, something he had never needed to do before - and in fact appeared to have plenty left as the final bell tolled.  He took the same ethos to his next fight against Dmitry Chudinov for the lightly regarded WBA Interim title.  His future could be impacted by how much his father interferes - during the Saunders fight Eubank Sr was seemingly detrimental to his son's corner, interfering with experienced corner man Jimmy Tibbs.  Certainly Eubank Jr has the potential to make an impact on the division in the future - possibly a rematch with Saunders if he himself is successful in dethroning current WBO world title holder Andy Lee in September


4.  Kal Yafai (15-0-0)

Another Matchroom fighter, Yafai has a glittering amateur background to his game.  However he seems better suited to the pro game, where his power is maturing.  10 KOs from 15 wins to date, and in the process he has picked up a Commonwealth title at Super Flyweight.  Whether he remains at that weight remains to be seen - he carries a large frame for the weight and at only 26 years old will likely move through weight classes in the near future.


5.  Callum Smith (17-0-0)

The exciting super middleweight from Liverpool has progressed quickly through the division having recently beaten former European title holder Christopher Rebrasse.  In a division where the top British start, Carl Froch, will soon be retiring there is an obvious gap for someone to fill the shows.  Smith is being lined up for a shot at the WBC title in the future - a title which will be fought over by American Badou Jack and fellow Brit George Groves.  Should Groves win he then has the option of two domestic dust ups - a rematch with long time rival and also a world title holder in James De Gale, or the less decorated Callum Smith. 


Smith seems a very grounded individual and as the youngest of 4 boxing brothers, is likely to have learned how to fight the hard way!  He shies away from the loud mouth element of the sport and instead continues to work his way towards a title shot.  Question marks were raised in the win over Rebrasse, at times struggling with a come forward pressure fighter.  But with only 17 fights to his name, expect him to take a few more tune up fights before being pushed to the world stage.


6.  Romeo Romaeo (7-0-0)

Despite being only 19 years old, Romaeo has fought as low as super featherweight and as high as welterweight - a 4 weight class difference.  This is perhaps testament to the fact that the young man from Wales is still configuring his body to it's optimum.  Famously Romaeo has been out of the schooling system from a young age, and been trained by his father in both education and boxing.  Flashy, brash and skilful, Romaeo has perhaps made more noise than his record to date should allow him to.  Although he started his pro career fitting in a lot of fights (4 in the first 8 months) he has since slowed down (partly due to injury) and had only 3 fights in the last 9 months against journeymen. 

Similar to others on this list Romaeo hasn't had an acid test, someone who will fight back and look to win.  However his could be an interesting career to follow, with signs that he has some of the showmanship perhaps lacking on the British scene since the Prince Naseem days.


7.  Hughie Fury (15-0-0)

It's easy to go under the radar when your cousin is a 6 foot 9 undefeated heavyweight on the cusp of a world title.  Hughie has been kept on the quiet for a long time now, but his recent win against Andriy Rudenko raised a lot of eyebrows.  Slightly shorter than older cousin Tyson, Hughie is still an impressive 6 foot 6 but also has the added bonus on his side - time.  Hughie is only 20 years old and for his age has shown a great maturity in the ring. 


Hughie lost 9 months of his pro career to illness, but with the comeback win against Rudenko he is looking to build quickly in the division.  Uncle & trainer Peter Fury has already earmarked a number of former world title holders or challengers for young Hughie to take on over the next 12 months.  Peter has been vocal that he wants to see his fighters challenged in the ring and is not afraid of losing the undefeated record in the process - as long as his fighters are learning by doing so. 


8.  Mitchell Smith (12-0-0)

Another occupying the super featherweight division, Frank Warren promoted Smith has built up an impressive record and a decent following out of his hometown of London.  Having been both a European and Inter-Continental champion with the WBO his ascendancy at only 22 years of age has been impressive.  He is growing into his power (3 of his KO wins have come in his last 5 fights) and could be steered to a number of domestic showdowns (promotional deals permitting).


9. Dillian Whyte (14-0-0)

A bit of a sleeping giant on the heavyweight scene, Dillian Whyte has found it hard to get the exposure of other fighters.  With an amateur victory over Anthony Joshua and a rivalry that seems relatively legitimate (the two have exchanged barbs on social media) his exposure may soon be through the roof. 


At 27 years of age, Dillian lost a period of his career due to a drugs ban.  He insists there was no malicious intent and that the result was because of a supplement he didn't know was banned.  With the ban now behind him Dillian has racked up 5 victories since his return - all of which by KO.  All signs point to a big domestic showdown with Joshua in the future - whether Sky pull the trigger on this sooner or later may be down to one key element - exposure.


10.  Anthony Ogogo (7-0-0)

Ogogo has been unlucky since making his pro debut in 2013 - injuries have limited him to just 7 fights, and none in almost a year.  Ogogo was one of the club that turned pro after the London Olympics, but unlike teammates Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua who signed with Matchroom in the UK, Ogogo took his talents to the US where he signed with Oscar De La Hoya owned Golden Boy Promotions.  At 26 years of age Ogogo needs to hope that the injuries clear up so he can have a good run at the middleweight division - since turning pro a number of his peers have passed his own achievements (of course Anthony can point out his bronze from London 2012).  Once he returns (and providing he can stay injury free) expect to see him moved swiftly along the division to make up for lost time.

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