By: Ste Rowen
10. Charlie Edwards 15-1 (6KOs)
Edwards ended 2018 by winning his first ever world title at flyweight, and then proceeded to defend his WBA belt against Angel Moreno with a 12 round unanimous victory. Unfortunately, his 2019 was slightly marred by a No Contest against Julio Cesar Martinez. The fight, in which Charlie looked completely out of his depth in, was originally scored a stoppage win for Martinez but was eventually switched to a ‘NC’ due to the Mexican firing Edwards with a body shot whilst his opponent had already taken a knee. Edwards goes into 2020 with a world title and a 15-1 (6KOs) record.
9. Dereck Chisora 32-9 (23KOs)
Dereck Chisora seems to be having a late-career resurgence that Bernard Hopkins would be proud of. The one-time world title challenger has won four of his last five fights, losing only to Dillian Whyte when he was knocked out in the final round. In that five-fight run, Chisora has racked up impressive stoppage victories over Carlos Takam, Artur Szpilka, and most recently David Price. With Anthony Joshua looking for a new opponent in 2020 after victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, don’t be surprised if Del-Boy is the man who steps up to the challenge.
8. Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14KOs)
Despite becoming a two-weight world champion, it was a massively underwhelming year for BJS. The former middleweight champion jumped up to super-middle to claim the WBO strap after beating Shefat Isufi. Then, after switching promoters to Matchroom and waiting six months, Saunders appeared on the undercard of Youtubers, KSI vs. Logan Paul, where he stopped Marcelo Coceras in the 11thround. Billy Joe fans have spent the last four years hoping for something big, so don’t hold your breath for anything special in 2020.
7. Dillian Whyte 27-1 (18KOs)
This was a tricky one due to the positive drugs test that’s overshadowed Whyte’s year. Dillian’s year consisted of two decision wins over fringe contenders; the previously unbeaten Oscar Rivas, and Marius Wach, but the heavyweight’s 2019 will be remembered for his adverse test results following his bout with Rivas where Whyte was temporarily suspended. But after being reinstated as the WBC’s number one contender, Dillian will have to wait for the winner of Wilder vs. Fury 2, before he gets a shot at the green belt he’s longed for a chance to fight for.
6. Eubank Jr 29-2 (22KOs)
Eubank Jr bounced back relatively strongly from his second professional defeat, and loss to George Groves in the 2018 World Boxing Super Series semi-final. At the beginning of 2019, Eubank outfought and out-thought former super-middleweight champion and domestic rival, James DeGale to claim the IBO 168lb title before taking a lengthy break of almost ten months when he returned to the ring, back down at middleweight in a fight with Matvey Korobov. Unfortunately, Korobov sustained a shoulder injury in the early rounds, and despite it going down as a Eubank Jr victory, the man with the famous name will be hoping for a much more legacy defining twelve months.
5. Callum Smith 27-0 (19KOs)
Where did all the momentum and hype go for Callum Smith? 2018 saw Smith win the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the WBSS and become the WBA super-middleweight champion. Huge things were expected, and anticipation was high and then, well, not much. Fans had to wait nearly nine months before they saw Callum in the ring again, and even then it was pretty underwhelming. Smith fought and stopped career-middleweight Hassan N’Dam on the undercard of AJ/Ruiz Jr 1 and then five months later he took on fellow Englishman, John Ryder. It was a fight many thought he would walk through, but by the end of the twelve rounds it was a fight many thought he’d lost. A rematch with Ryder in 2020 wouldn’t be sniffed at by fans, but let’s not wait another nine months to see him in the ring.
4. Tyson Fury 29-0-1 (20KOs)
It’s been a funny old year for the lineal heavyweight champion. After scoring unanimous draw with WBC titlist, Deontay Wilder, a fight the majority of onlookers thought Fury won, the Gypsy King wasn’t back fighting for another six months where he stopped the previously unbeaten, Tom Schwarz inside two rounds. The Wilder rematch seemed on the horizon but never materialised and instead Tyson did two things. The first fighting and beating another unbeaten man, Otto Wallin in an awkward twelve round bout. Then secondly Fury attempted to become a crossover star when he appeared on the WWE show in Saudi Arabia. Luckily for boxing fans though Fury is committed to boxing for at least one more bout as he’s confirmed that the Deontay Wilder rematch will take place on the 22nd February in Vegas.
3. Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21KOs)
Talking of strange years, Anthony Joshua was toppled and returned to the throne in two fights against the same wobbly looking man. Arguably the biggest upset in sport for 2019 saw AJ stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr and lose his WBA, IBF & WBO titles inside seven rounds. Ruiz had taken Joshua’s belts, his ‘0’ and for many his credibility. But Joshua wasn’t to be stopped and signed up for an immediate rematch to take place in Saudi Arabia in December. In an unusually wet Saudi, Joshua boxed his way almost perfectly, through twelve rounds to claim a unanimous decision and regain his belts. With mandatories being called in, it seems Joshua’s next opponent will either be Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk.
2. Josh Warrington 30-0 (7KOs)
After an unbelievable twelve months in 2018, beating Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, only unification bouts would eclipse such a run that Josh Warrington was one. Unfortunately, the other titleholders at featherweight were either unavailable or unwilling to take on the IBF world champion from Leeds. Instead, Warrington fought and decisioned his mandatory challenger, Kid Galahad in a twelve-round hug-fest; and then in October, stopped Sofiane Takoucht after two rounds. There’s been talk of bouts with newly crowned WBO featherweight champion, Shakur Stevenson or WBA titlist, Leo Santa Cruz, but Josh may have to deal with Galahad for a second time in a possible rematch to start 2020.
1. Josh Taylor 16-0 (12KOs)
What a year it’s been for the man from Edinburgh. At the start of 2019, Taylor’s future looked in doubt due to the complications with the World Boxing Super Series. But once those difficulties were ironed out the Tartan Tornado put his foot firmly on the accelerator. Firstly, with a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk, who also held the IBF super-lightweight title. And then Taylor unified the division with another decision victory, this time over WBA champion, Regis Prograis to finish the year as the IFB, WBA and Muhammad Ali Trophy champion.
Kal Yafai remained unbeaten and therefore held on to his WBA super-flyweight title, but he fought just once, a whitewash twelve round decision over 29-8-4, Norbelto Jimenez despite continuous talks of a unification bout with the likes of Estrada and Ancajas.
Luke Campbell remains an outstanding title in the British ranks but despite a worthy showing in his decision loss to world pound-for-pound enigma, Vasyl Lomachenko, Cool Hand Luke’s 2019 wasn’t strong enough to enter this top 10.
Kell Brook, what can you say? The guy always talks big but hasn’t delivered anything of note since 2014.
Carl Frampton remains a possible bogeyman for the other feather/super-featherweight champions, but after only fighting once in 2019, a 10-round decision over Tyrone McCreary, Frampton drops out of this years rankings.