It’s been an exciting year of boxing for the UK, ending with six world champions – Anthony Joshua; Callum Smith; Billy Joe Saunders; Josh Taylor; Josh Warrington; Kal Yafai. There’s also two interim champions awaiting their shots in Dillian Whyte and Chris Eubank Jr.
So, to cap off the year in celebratory style, BBN asked their trusted panel of experts, consisting of professional boxers, promoters, managers, trainers and writers, who they believe is the best British boxer of 2019.
3. Josh Warrington (30-0, 7KOs)
Two successful defences of IBF world featherweight title
2018 was the breakout year for Josh Warrington when he defeated two of the biggest names in British boxing, both times as the underdog, when he dethroned IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby and defended the belt successfully against two-weight world champion Carl Frampton.
The ‘Leeds Warrior’ showed his worth as a world champion in both bouts, displaying an unrivalled stamina, work rate, and determination that has allowed him to retain his International Boxing Federation bauble for a further 12 months after two more triumphant defences against unbeaten Kid Galahad and Sofiane Takoucht, taking his record up to 30-0.
Neither opponent was who he wanted to face, but the 29-year-old unbeaten champion couldn’t get any of the other world titlists to face him, so hopefully 2020 will see the talented Yorkshireman unify the division.
2. Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21KOs)
Became a two-time world heavyweight champion
AJ has been the flag-bearer for British boxing ever since his 2012 Olympic gold medalling.
He replicated his world champion status in the pros within 16 fights and unified the division in under 20 fights.
However, this year saw disaster strike for the first time when making his US debut, he lost his four world titles and unbeaten record unheralded Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr after touching down four times en route to a seventh round stoppage at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It was the way that he bounced back from that defeat that has earned him the right to be placed second on this esteemed list.
A consummate professional, he made no excuses, gave his opponent his dues, and went back to the drawing board to make adjustments, which saw him come back with a slimmer, lighter physique and the perfect game plan executed to the letter to win back his hoard in a ground-breaking event in Saudi Arabia.
Lighter on his feet, speedier, stealthier, sharper, he boxed clever and safely to a unanimous points decision, with one judge awarding him 11 of the 12 rounds.
2020 will likely see a mandatory title defence to IBF #1 Kubrat Pulev, then hopefully whoever is holding the WBC belt – Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury – will put it up in what would be the biggest heavyweight fight of this millennium.
1. Josh Taylor (16-0, 12KOs)
World Boxing Super Series winner and became unified and lineal world super-lightweight champion
The votes cast in this poll elevated ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Josh Taylor as the absolute winner by a country mile. There can be no refuting his name as the best British boxer of the year, so congratulations to the WBA ‘Super’, IBF and Ring Magazine Lineal world champion on topping this list.
After winning gold in the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it was written in the stars that this superstar would replicate that success in the pro game.
Within just two years of his pro debut in July 2015, Taylor had won all 10 fights, with nine stoppages, and claimed the Commonwealth super-lightweight title (which he defended once) and the WBC Silver belt in that memorable fight with Ohara Davies.
It was the next two years that really defined the Scot as he added some of the biggest names in boxing to his record, which included former long-reigning IBF world champion Miguel Vazquez and ex-WBC world champ Viktor Postol.
It was the bold decision to join to the World Boxing Super Series tournament that saw him promoted to the superstar status he has secured today. Wins over three of the hottest prospects in the super-lightweight division – Ryan Martin (22-0); Ivan Baranchyk (19-0); Regis Prograis (24-0) – saw the 28-year-old bag two world titles, the WBC Diamond strap and the coveted Ring Magazine belt.
2020 should see an epic showdown with Californian Jose Ramirez who holds both other belts that Taylor wants – the WBC and WBO.
Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14KOs)
Won WBO world super-middleweight title and defended successfully once
Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs)
Won WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
Callum Smith (27-0, 19KOs)
Two successful defences of WBA ‘Super’ world and WBC Diamond super-middleweight titles
John Ryder (28-5, 16KOs)
Won interim WBA world super-middleweight title and challenged for WBA ‘Super’ world and WBC Diamond super-middleweight titles
Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23KOs)
Won WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title and won three from three fights
Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18KOs)
Won interim WBC world heavyweight title
Thanks to Carl Greaves; Miles Shinkwin; Matt Marsh; Steve Wood; George Lacy; Jordan Bight; Jake Hanney; Ryan Walsh; Kieran Gething; Aqib Tahlat; Mick Kane; Jordan Neild; Ben Day; Paul Speak; Sergio Michel; Ryan Clark; Jamie Arlain; Jack Bradley; Gus Devlin; Bradley Rea; Anish Parekh; Daniel Smith and the British Boxing News audience for taking part.