10) Randolph Turpin
Pulled off the greatest upset in British boxing history when he beat the great Sugar Ray Robinson. Robinson won back his title by 10th-round knockout in a rematch two months later.
Turpin rebounded with eight straight wins that captured the Commonwealth Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Title, and the Commonwealth and European Middleweight Title. Turpin lost in his only other world title shot to Bobo Olson.
In his later career, Turpin won the British Light Heavyweight Title twice, and also the Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Title.
Tragically Turpin ended his own life in 1966.
9) Ricky Hatton
In 2001, Hatton won the WBU Light Welterweight Title from Tony Pep with a fourth-round stoppage. He defended the belt successfully against the likes of Freddie Pendleton, Eamonn Magee and Ben Tackie before he produced one of his biggest career wins in 2005.
Hatton was a huge underdog when he faced Kostya Tszyu in 2005, as the Australian fighter was one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world at the time. Hatton put relentless pressure on Tszyu all night, and won the fight when the Australian failed to answer the bell for the 12th round.
Later that year, Hatton stopped Carlos Maussa in nine rounds and was given the prestigious Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” award for 2005.
Hatton then moved up in weight and won the WBA World Welterweight Title with a win over Luis Collazo, and then followed that up with gritty wins over Juan Urango and Jose Luis Castillo. The win against Urango gave Ricky the IBO and IBF Light Welterweight Titles, while the win over Castillo saw Hatton hand the Mexican fighter the only knockout loss of his career to date.
In 2007, the Hitman lost a much-hyped fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. by way of a 10th-round TKO. He bounced back to win the IBO Light-Welterweight Title from Juan Lazcano, and also stop Paulie Malignaggi in Las Vegas.
Hatton was brutally knocked out by the great Manny Pacquiao in 2009 in his final fight of significance. No matter were Hatton fought the people of Manchester were sure to follow. Hatton maybe one of the greatest junior welterweights in history.
8) Nigel Benn
Benn went 41-1 in an impressive amateur career before turning professional in 1987. Benn blazed a trail in his early career firing his way to 22 consecutive KO wins.
Benn lost to Michael Watson (KO6) before getting back on track by beating Jorge Amparo on points in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Nigel returned to Atlantic City to win the WBO Middleweight Championship by knocking out Doug DeWitt in eight rounds. Benn defended his title successfully with a first round knockout of Iran Barkley, before he would bump into his most-hated rival.
Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank is a rivalry that has gone down in British sporting history. Benn adopted the role of working class hero, while arrogant aristocrat Eubank had few admirers anywhere.
Eubank stopped Benn in the ninth round in a spectacular brawl, a result that reduced the Dark Destroyer to tears.
Benn responded with a six-fight winning streak before taking the WBC Super-Middleweight Title away from Mauro Galvano by way of fourth-round KO. Benn successfully defended three titles then held onto it after a vicious rematch with Eubank ended in a draw.
Benn was underdog in the eyes of many pundits when he defended against American Gerald McLellan in 1995. Benn beat McLellan by 10th-round KO but the fight has tragic consequences. After suffering a number of heavy blows, McLellan was rushed to hospital with a blood clot in his brain and remains in a wheelchair to this day.
Thulani “Sugar Boy” Malinga would take Benn’s title away, and the Dark Destroyer’s career ended after two failed world title shots against Steve Collins. Benn retired with a career record of 42-5-1 (35 KO’s).
7) Ken Buchanan
Ken won his first 23 fights, and then announced his arrival on the elite scene by knocking out Maurice Cullen to win the British Lightweight Title.
Buchanan received his first world title shot in 1970, and traveled to Puerto Rico to take the world title away from Ismael Laguna by way of a 15-round decision.
Over the next two years, the Scot would defend his title successfully before fighting the great Roberto Duran. Buchanan lost to Duran by way of a controversial 13th-round stoppage that some believe to have been caused by a low blow. Either way Duran was winning and was going to win the fight. Ken bounced back quickly from the Duran loss to knockout former three time World Champion Carlos Ortiz, and then beat Chang Kil Lee.
Buchanan won the British Title with a hard-fought victory over fellow Scot Jim Watt, and also captured the European title when he outpointed Antonio Puddu in 1973. Buchanan’s biggest problem was being a lightweight at the same time as the great Duran. He was definitely and underrated fighter.
6) Chris Eubank
Eubank’s rivalry with Benn is widely regarded as the greatest in the history of British Boxing, and caught the imagination of the British public who flocked to see the rivals go head to head.
After victory against Benn, Eubank produced three successful defenses, including a victory over Michael Watson to end his Middleweight career at 28-0. Eubank would fight the rest of his career at Super Middleweight.
His first fight at Super Middleweight would be a rematch win over Watson, but the fallout from that fight mean Eubank would mentally never be the same. After a brutal 12th round TKO, Watson spent 40 days in a coma and underwent six brain surgeries. Watson also suffered permanent partial paralysis, and Eubank would never again display the true desire to hurt his opponent.
Eubank was unbeaten in his 11 fights after Watson, but produced only one knockout. That run included a draw in a rematch against his bitter rival Benn.
Eubank suffered all five of his career losses in his last nine fights, being beaten twice by Steve Collins and once by a young Joe Calzaghe.
5) Joe Calzaghe
Joe won his first World Title in 1997, when he knocked down Chris Eubank in round one and went on to score a unanimous decision win for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.
Calzaghe racked up a number of wins with Omar Sheika and Robin Reid among his victims before facing Jeff Lacy in 2005. “Left Hook” Lacy was a much-hyped America prospect and was expected by many to give Calzaghe a tough challenge. Joe put a beating on Lacy, winning every round to beat the American by a wide points margin. Many fans believe Lacy was never the same again mentally after that beating.
In May 2007, Calazaghe unified the Super Middleweight division with a unanimous decision win over Danish great Mikkel Kessler, then moved up to Light Heavyweight to beat Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.
Many critics claim that Calzaghe beat a “faded” Kessler and Hopkins. However, the fact that both are still competitive today says maybe they weren’t as washed up as people first thought.
Managed by Teddy Lewis, reserve captain of local rugby club, Pontypridd RFC, Wilde went undefeated in 103 bouts, all of which were held in Britain, a remarkable achievement. In the middle of that streak, on 31 December 1912, he won the British 7 stone championship by beating Billy Padden by an eighteenth-round knockout in Glasgow. He finally lost his undefeated record when he challenged Tancy Lee for the vacant British and Europe Flyweight Championship on 15 January 1915 in London. Wilde was knocked out in the seventeenth round (of twenty).
Wilde then embarked on a sixteen-fight knockout streak, and on 14 February 1916, he won the British flyweight title by beating Joe Symonds by a knockout in round twelve at the National Sporting Club in London. On 24 April 1916, Wilde beat Johnny Rosner by a knockout in the eleventh round at Liverpool Stadium to win the IBU World Flyweight title. On 13 May, he had two fights on the same day at Woolwich Dockyard (against Darkey Saunders and Joe Magnus), winning both by knockout, both fights combined lasting less than five rounds. On 26 June Wilde returned to the National Sporting Club to take his revenge on Tancy Lee with an eleventh-round knockout. On 18 December, Wilde became recognised as the first World Flyweight Champion (the IBU title was only recognised in Europe) when he defeated Young Zulu Kid of the United States whose corner threw in the towel during the eleventh round of their bout at the Holborn Stadium.
In 1917, he retained the title by beating George Clarke by a knockout in four. With that win, he also won the European title and recovered the British title. But that would be his last title defence, as soon he decided to vacate the world title. He kept fighting and winning, and in 1919, he beat Joe Lynch, another boxer who was a world champion, by decision in 15. In 1920, he went undefeated in 10 fights, but then, he lost by a knockout in 17 to former World Bantamweight Champion Pete Herman, who outweighed Wilde by more than a stone (14 pounds), in 1921. The bout was originally scheduled as a title defence, but Herman had lost his championship to Lynch the month before. Herman easily regained the Bantamweight title from Lynch in July 1921, leading some to suspect that he had left the title behind with Lynch in America intentionally. That was the fight that marked his return to Britain after touring the United States all of 1920. After a win over Young Jennings, he announced his retirement.
Wilde returned to the ring out of a sense of obligation to defend his title against Pancho Villa on 18 June 1923. After losing by a knockout in seven to the Philippines’ first world champion, Wilde announced his retirement.
3) Lennox Lewis
Lewis was most assuredly Britain’s greatest heavyweight, he beat every man he ever faced and beat legends Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.
Lewis became the WBC’s No. 1 contender when he knocked out tough Canadian Donovan “Razor” Ruddock inside two rounds. Champion Riddick Bowe refused to fight Lewis and vacated the belt, so on 14th January, 1993 Lewis became Britain’s first World Heavyweight Champion of the 21st century.
Lewis made three successful defenses of his belt including a win in the much hyped “Battle of Britain” against Frank Bruno, where Lewis won by TKO.
Lewis lost his belt in a shocking knockout defeat at the hands of Oliver McCall, a man he would later beat by TKO in a rematch to regain the title when McCall had a mental breakdown.
Lennox then faced Evander Holyfield in a unification bout, but the fight ended in a draw despite Lennox landing 348 punches to Holyfield’s 130. The sanctioning bodies ordered a rematch, and Lewis became Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World with a Unanimous Decision victory.
Hasim Rahman handed Lewis another upset KO loss in 2001, but Lewis bounced back to knockout Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.
Lewis finished off his career with a career defining win over Mike Tyson, and beat Vitali Klitschko via a sixth-round stoppage.
2) Bob Fitzsimmons
Fitzsimmons earned fame as the first ever man to win world championships in three different weight divisions. Also known as one of the greatest punchers in boxing history.
Fitzsimmons turned professional in 1883 and won his first world title in 1891 when he knocked out Jack Dempsey for the Middleweight crown. Reports from the day suggested Dempsey was knocked down no less than 13 times.
Bob won the World Heavyweight Title in 1896 as he beat Irishman Peter Maher, then successfully defended the belt by knocking out “Gentleman” Jim Corbett.
In 1903 Fitzsimmons knocked out Con Coughlin and his rival tragically died the day after the fight. Soon after Bob would make history by winning the Light Heavyweight Title and become the first ever three division world champion.
1) Ted “Kid” Lewis
Ted “Kid” Lewis was renowned for his relentless, punishing and attacking style of fighting. Lewis turned professional at the age of 14, and within five years had won the British and European Featherweight World Titles.
Lewis moved to the United States and earned acclaim by winning the world title twice and taking part in a legendary 20-fight rivalry against the great Jack Britton. In his first World Title win over Britton, Lewis became the first Englishman to win a world title in the United States.
After the First World War, Lewis would return to England and win six more British and European World titles.
“The Kid” retired with a career record of 227-40-23 and won nine world titles ranging from Featherweight to Middleweight.
Former heavyweight champion and known boxing historian Mike Tyson described Ted as “probably the greatest fighter to come out of Britain.”