British & Irish boxing is still thriving and has been for a while now. We already have an excellent crop of fighters that are either world champions, former world champions or world champions in waiting. But we also have a new wave of fighters that have just began their careers and have been causing a stir on the domestic front.
To make this list all fighters must have fought no more than 10 professional fights. They are my picks for the next generation of fighters that I believe will be world champions one day. Of course this is boxing and hot potential is by no means a certainty to success because with every Anthony Joshua there is a David Price.
Daniel Dubois (5-0, 5KOs)
Currently one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects in Britain at the moment. So far he has an unblemished record of five wins out of five with five knockouts. Of course it is still early days but there is no doubting he has unbelievable power. Triple D turned professional early after just a handful of senior amateur bouts. Team GB wanted to take the 20-year-old to Tokyo 2020 but his team decided the professional ranks were more suited for him.
In his last outing he landed a massive right hand that knocked AJ Carter out cold in 48 seconds.
The young sensation admits to dropping Anthony Joshua to the canvas during a series of sparring sessions. When questioned about putting Joshua down, he said “It let me know that I have power in both hands but other than that I take it for what it is – I learned from the experience.” Take from that what you will but gym talk is cheap.
Next fight: TBA
Nathan Gorman (10-0, 8KOs)
The 21-year-old is an undefeated heavyweight that has gone under the radar mainly because he has not had as much exposure. Gorman comes from the traveler community and is very proud of his heritage. In fact he is the great-nephew of the ‘King of the Gypsies’, Bartley Gorman.
After only eleven amateur fights where he won the Junior ABAs and made his mark in the World Youth Championships Gorman made his professional debut on December 2015. Since then he has pretty much stopped everybody in his way.
I can see Gorman-Dubois in the future as they look set to be on a collision course. Dubois will be the heavy favourite but with Hatton in Gorman’s corner write him off at your peril.
Next fight: 11/11/16 vs Nicky Webb (11-0) in Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England
Joe Joyce (1-0, 1KO)
Turned professional on July 2017 after a long and successful amateur boxing career. Joyce decided to take up boxing at 22-years-old due to injuries that ended his track and field interest. In a decorated amateur career he won a bronze medal in the 2013 European Amateur Championships in Minsk, gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, gold at the 2015 European Games in Baku, bronze at the 2015 World Amateur Championships in Doha and finally silver in 2016 Olympics Games in Rio.
Due to his age and his excellent amateur career Joyce is hoping to fast track himself in the pro game. On his debut the 32-year-old stopped Ian Lewison in eight rounds. Considering it was his first professional fight he put out a statement of intent by picking a durable opponent in a ten round bout. Joyce and his team are hoping that he will be ready for a shot at a world heavyweight title in only his sixth or seventh bout.
Although Joyce stands at 6 foot 6 he is very athletic in the ring and bounces around on the balls of his feet while snapping out the jab.
Next fight: TBA
Lawrence Okolie (5-0, 4KOs)
A big hitting cruiserweight that has a great future as a professional. He was part of the Team GB squad that competed in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 where he fought at heavyweight. Unfortunately for Okolie he was pitted against Cuban Erislandy Savon and lost.
In his first pro fight he demolished his opponent in 20 seconds and continued blasting all of his opponents out in the first round until he finally went the six round distance in his fifth bout. He came up against a tricky customer in Blaise Mendouo but managed to get the nod in a one sided match-up.
Okolie has a 6 foot 5 inch frame and can look a little unorthodox in his style with his long leavers and gangly legs but he does possess huge power in his right hand.
There has already been a war of words with the other up and coming cruiserweight.
Next fight: 28/10/17 vs TBA – On the Joshua-Takam under-card
Isaac Chamberlain (9-0, 4KOs)
‘Chambo’ is another excellent young fighter in the cruiserweight division; the only difference is he doesn’t have an Olympic background. He started his professional career in January 2015; he won his first four fights going the four round distance until he stopped undefeated Russ Henshaw in the sixth and final round. In September last year he beat Wadi Camacho over ten rounds at York Hall to win his first title, the BBBofC Southern Area Cruiserweight strap. In three fights this year he has recorded three straight TKO victories and is now ready to take on fellow undefeated Commonwealth Champion Luke Watkins (9-0, 4KOs)
Although it has taken time for the Brixton man to find his power early in his career he is starting to pick his shots with accuracy and spite. No doubt he has gained valuable experience sparring with Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk.
Of course, when Briton have two young prospects in the same weight division there will always be talk of a potential showdown. Okolie-Chamberlain is no different but this has extra spice as there seems to be genuine dislike between them plus they are both Londoners. Watch this space as this could be a real grudge match with some fireworks along the way.
Next fight: TBA
Joshua Buatsi (2-0, 2KOs)
Young Joshua has been well schooled in the amateurs and looks the part in the professional ranks. In 2015 Buatsi picked up a bronze medal at the European Amateur Championships in Samokov. Then in 2016 he secured his place in Rio as part of the Great Britain team when he beat Dutchman Peter Müllenberg in the final of the light heavyweight tournament qualifier. His great form continued all the way to the semi-final where the picked up another bronze medal.
Once Buatsi finished his university degree he decided it was time to turn pro and he had numerous promoters knocking on his door. The lure of Anthony Joshua becoming his manger was too good to turn down so he decided Matchroom would be his preferred choice.
Despite his inexperience he has gone about his business with composure and authority. If Buatsi can continue his impressive start I do believe he will be not only one of the biggest names on my list but in the world of boxing.
Next fight: 28/10/17 vs TBA – On the Joshua-Takam under-card
Anthony Fowler (4-0, 3KOs)
If you’re an English football fan and you recognise his surname then you’re probably asking yourself if he is a relation? Well yes, he is the cousin of Liverpool legend and England pro footballer Robbie Fowler. But put that aside as Anthony is not on my list because of his family name.
Fowler represented England as an amateur winning bronze in the Almaty 2013 World Championships and won gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In 2015 he boxed for the British Lionhearts in the World Series Boxing format before finishing his amateur career in 2016 with a 190-19 record.
The Machine made his debut on the Brook-Spence under-card winning with a first round knockout. He carries a lot of power in this weight division and has an aggressive style which the scousers will love. Make no bones about it Fowler will be competing for domestic honours very soon and could well be a fighting for world titles in only a couple of years.
Next fight: TBA
Connor Benn (9-0, 7KOs)
Conor Benn is the son of former middleweight & super middleweight world champion boxer Nigel Benn. Conor made his pro-debut in his hometown aged just 19-years-old at the O2 Arena, London winning by a TKO against Ivaio Boyanov.
In his second appearance at the O2 Arena he was on the under-card of Brook-Golovkin and won by knockout to go 4-0. Since then the young destroyer has won 4 of his last 5 by knockout. Two of which were against guys with unblemished records. That famous saying, ‘The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree’. Well if you know anything about Benn Senior’s style then I don’t need to fill you in much about his son’s. He has a granite chin, loves to mix it up and is starting to show more patience when picking his shots. It will be difficult for Conor to establish himself in the glamour division but it will be fun watching.
Next fight: 11/11/17 vs TBA – On the Jacobs-Arias under card
Josh Kelly (4-0, 3KOs)
There has been a lot of fuss about Josh Kelly amongst the pundits on Sky Sports which is a little bit too overzealous in my opinion. There is no doubt the 23-year-old has talent otherwise he wouldn’t even make my list but I feel they are trying to over-hype the kid which can be very dangerous especially with a guy as confident as Kelly.
The fact he was thrown into a 6 rounder on his debut shows you how confident they are in his ability. He did impress in this third fight when he brutally dispatched Tom Whitfield in the first round with 10 unanswered punches.
Kelly has an entertaining style which will earn him a large fan base. He picks his shot with great accuracy and power but more importantly he has fast hands and a sharp boxing brain. I just hope the fast tracking through a tough weight division doesn’t go Pete tong. Benn-Kelly could happen but would Eddie Hearn want to derail his hottest potentials? I doubt it.
Next fight: TBA
Josh Taylor (10-0, 9KOs)
The one and only Scotsman on my list but Josh Taylor is already showing signs of super-stardom. He has already wrote his name in the Scottish record books as an amateur when he became the first lightweight Scottish boxer to qualify for the Olympics since Dick McTaggart in 1956. His greatest day in the amateurs came when he won gold in his native country in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Taylor also represented the British Lionhearts at the World Series of Boxing.
Taylor turned professional in 2015 and made his debut in El Paso, Texas winning by TKO in two. The Tartan Tornado continued to stop all of his opponents within the distance while traveling to all the British Isles, New York City and Las Vegas. It was in the MGM Grand Garden on the Frampton-Santa Cruz under card that he finally went the eight round distance winning by UD.
But before the fight in Vegas he picked up the Commonwealth light welterweight title in only his seventh fight.
Taylor’s biggest night came when he headlined in Glasgow against undefeated English prospect Ohara Davies for the Commonwealth and WBC silver titles. The Scottish southpaw dropped ‘Two Tanks’ in the third before a vicious stoppage in the seventh to the delight of the Glasgow faithful.
Josh Taylor has three dangerous combinations; power, speed and accuracy. I believe he will become a world champion next year as long as know body ducks him!
Next fight: 11/11/17 vs Miguel Vazquez (39-5) at Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh
Lyon Woodstock (10-0, 5KOs)
As with many of the fighters I have listed Lyon Woodstock has an amateur background but was never chosen for the Great British team. I am a little bit bewildered as to why he was never selected considering he stopped 16 of his 24 opponents? He did however reach the semi-finals in an English Boxing Elite tournament.
He became pro in 2015 winning by knockout in the first round and has since gone on to win the Midlands Area super featherweight title and the vacant European super featherweight strap in a bloody battle against Craig Poxton. Lyon has good head movement and can fight on the back foot but he has a tendency to get right up close and personal. Hopefully he will learn soon that getting up in your opponents grill isn’t always the best option especially when he could dismantle fighters on the outside.
Next fight: TBA
Michael Conlan (4-0, 4KOs)
Michael Conlan may only be 25-years-old and only four fights into his professional career but he has already achieved so much as an amateur. He won three gold medals as a bantamweight in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2015 European Amateur Championships in Samokov & 2015 World Amateur Championships in Doha. At flyweight he captured a silver medal in the 2013 European Amateur Championships in Minsk and bronze in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio Conlan was eliminated by a controversial call. The Irishman responded by raising his middle finger at the judges and accused officials of corruption. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Belfast boy who decided to call it a day in amateur boxing and take the plunge in the pro game.
A number of big promotional companies were interested in signing Conlan but he decided to choose Top Rank. He made his debut on St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden, New York this year winning by a third round stoppage. His next three fights have also ended within the six round distance.
Micky is starting to find his feet in the pros and if you know anything about his brother Jamie you will know it will be a very entertaining rise up the ranks. They both like to mix it up so expect plenty of knockdowns and wars along the way.
Next fight: 09/12/17 vs Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1)
Andrew Selby (10-0, 5KOs)
The one and only Welshman on my list is already due a title shot after winning a recent title eliminator against Maximino Flores by UD in York Hall, London. Most of the fighters I have added are no were near this stage in their careers yet but I had to add the slick brother of Lee Selby, Andrew because it’s quite remarkable how he has risen up the ladder in only 10 professional fights.
Once again we have another boxer with a well accomplished amateur record with two gold medals in the European Amateur Championships in Ankara in 2011 and Minsk in 2013. The Superstar as Selby likes to be called fought six times from 2012-2013 in the Word Series of Boxing representing the British Lionhearts, remaining unbeaten throughout. In the World Amateur Championships he won bronze in 2013 Almaty and 2011 Baku.
Selby has continued his excellent amateur form into the pros, winning the British flyweight title in only his fifth outing by UD. He then stopped Jake Bornea in seven to win the IBF Inter-Continental flyweight title and won by UD against Arden Diale to win the WBO International flyweight title.
Selby may have only recorded knockout wins in half of his fights but he has dominated the rest of his opposition. He works tirelessly hard when he’s in the ring and can take a good shot. I think Selby may well be the first to pick up a world title on this list.
Next fight: TBA
Paddy Barnes (4-0, 0KOs)
The Leprechaun has the most accomplished amateur record out of the lot. It’s hard to believe that it was in the Beijing 2008 Olympics that I watched the Irishman lose a shady decision to Zou Shiming. After that fight I thought the Irishman would jump straight into the pros but he opted to stay. That tells you everything you need to know about Paddy Barnes, a loyal and passionate fighter for his country. By now he could have been a decorated World Champion sitting on a lot of cash but that is not what Barnes is about. Four years later in the 2012 Olympic Games in London Paddy had another shot at Zou Shiming in the semi-finals but once again the Irishman missed out on the final due to the ridiculous countback scoring system.
The 30-year-old competed in three Olympic Games winning two bronze medals, a gold and silver in the European Championships, silver in the EU Championships & two gold’s in the Commonwealth Games. He also had a 5-1 record in the World Series of Boxing representing Italia Thunder. Barnes has had a decent start to his pro career, although his debut was ruined when his opponent picked him up during the fight and got disqualified. All of Paddy’s ring craftsmanship will play a big part in whether he can claim a world title in just his tenth fight, as he plans. Expect high energy and punch volume plus a slick in and out style that will cause problems for anyone that faces the Leprechaun.
Next fight: 18/11/17 vs TBA (WBO European flyweight title)