Boxing – The 5 Greatest British Heavyweights of All Time

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British boxing suffered a real blow at the weekend as Anthony Joshua lost his heavyweight world titles after a lacklustre display against Oleksandr Usyk.

Lennox Lewis

The Londoner put his IBO, WBA and IBF titles on the line, but he will now spend the next few months planning for a rematch, with promoter Eddie Hearn hoping the duo can meet in the first few months of 2022.

Joshua’s defeat means Tyson Fury is the only British heavyweight with a world title and this weekend’s antics got us thinking about their status in the British fighting ranks.

With that in mind, we take a look at the top five British heavyweights of all time.

5 – Henry Cooper

Sir Henry Cooper might have never won a world title, but he enjoyed a sensational career that spanned nearly 20 years.

Cooper had his first bout in 1954, before losing to Joe Bugner in 1971. He shared the ring with some of the best heavyweights of all time, including Muhammad Ali, Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson.

He nearly beat Ali during a famous bout in 1963, but a bad cut ruined Cooper’s chances of victory. The Londoner won the British, Commonwealth and European belts during a successful career, and he was the first boxer to be knighted.

4 – Frank Bruno

Bruno will go do down as one of the most popular British boxers in history, but he had to bide his time for a world title.

Bruno lost his first three world title bouts to Tim Witherspoon, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, but he beat Oliver McCall in 1995 to win the WBC belt. Sadly for Bruno, he lost that belt to Tyson in his next fight, but he enjoyed a sensational career and stopped 38 fighters before hanging up the gloves.

3 – Anthony Joshua

Joshua ended his amateur career as an Olympic gold medallist, and he won his first 15 fights by knockout before winning the IBF heavyweight title against Charles Martin.

Joshua’s knockout streak continued into his 20th bout, including a dramatic stoppage win over Vladimir Klitschko as he unified the division.

The Watford man might have lost to Andy Ruiz Jr and Usyk, but he is a two-time world heavyweight champion, and he has changed the landscape of British boxing single-handedly.

2 – Tyson Fury

The ‘Gypsy King’ will go down in history for a number of reasons, including his 2015 points victory over Klitschko. At the time, Klitschko had not lost for 11 years, but Fury outwitted him in fine style.

After some personal battles outside of the ring, Fury returned after a three-year layoff to beat Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta before then drawing with Deontay Wilder.

Two more bouts followed, but Fury got his hands on the WBC crown with a sensational knockout victory over Wilder, and like Joshua, his place in the history books could still improve.

1 – Lennox Lewis

It would be very rare to find a best of British heavyweights list that does not see Lewis sit top of the pile.

Lewis remains the only man to be crowned British undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

A surprise defeat to McCall in 1994 slowed his progress, and he had to come back from a loss to Hasim Rahman. However, he did that in spectacular style as he beat Rahman in 2001 before beating Tyson and Klitschko before bowing out at the top in 2003.

Tom is a fantasy football fanatic who brings years of experience to bear when it comes to picking the best FPL players every week. Back in the real world of sports, Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.
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