Danny Flexen analyses the British heavyweight top 10 including Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Dave Allen, Joe Joyce and the rest
The World-level Trio
Anthony Joshua is of course the leader, both in Britain and worldwide. The unified WBA, IBF and WBO champion is likely to face Andy Ruiz Jr in his American debut on June 1 in New York and with previous victories over the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, is putting together a decent reign. Athletic and smart, Joshua is still improving under trainer Robert McCracken. That said, if he fails to face Deontay Wilder and/or Tyson Fury in the next 12 months, his legacy may well be tarnished.
Tyson Fury is apparently the ’lineal’ champion. Intricacies of that mantle aside, he showed in his draw with WBC king Deontay Wilder that the qualities that once saw him unseat long-reigning Klitschko in Germany - the awkward movement, deft footwork and shrewd punch-picking - remain. Add the toughness that saw him rise like Lazarus from a devastating final-round knockdown and we have a clear number two UK heavyweight. He meets unheralded Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas.
Dillian Whyte is probably the best contender to have not yet had a world title shot. Two wins over Dereck Chisora plus beating Lucas Browne, Robert Helenius and Joseph Parker - all since rocking AJ before losing their 2015 fight - sets the rugged but technically improving fighter apart. He next meets dangerous Oscar Rivas on July 20 in London.
The Heirs Apparent?
2016 Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce may not be the quickest but is strong, fit and relentless. In just eight fights (all inside-schedule wins), he has defeated a former world champion in Bermane Stiverne and picked up the Commonwealth and WBA Gold belt. Currently mandatory contender for the British, European and WBA Regular belts, we expect him to challenge EBU boss Agit Kabayel on July 13 in London.
Former WBO title challenger Hughie Fury is still only 24 and returns on May 25 in Manchester; we hear finding an opponent for the money on offer is proving difficult, as the rise of heavyweight boxing on these shores temporarily inflates the market. Fury may be the most evasive heavyweight in Britain but has lost his last two contests, albeit at world level to Kubrat Pulev and Joseph Parker, and we need to see some more of the devil we witnessed in his five-round destruction of Sam Sexton almost a year ago.
The old guard
Dereck Chisora may never go away and is seemingly always one big win away from a megafight, while it sure seems a long time since David Price won his Olympic bronze; to be fair, it was nearly 11 years ago. Chisora is now with Dave Coldwell and if he can add nuances to the come-forward brawler’s game, perhaps the Londoner has a last hurrah in him. As for Price, he gets a must-win 50-50 clash with Dave Allen on July 20 at the O2 and must hope his size, range and world-class right-hand power win the day, rather than defensive frailties.
The Cinderella Man
Dave Allen will ascend from this category should he defeat Price but it’s already been quite a ride. With underrated skills and agility, plus an ambitious young coach in former world ruler Darren Barker, Allen no longer sees himself as a journeyman ’opponent’ for the likes of Tony Yoka, Whyte and Luis Ortiz. An impressive body-shot knockout of Lucas Browne earlier this month earned him the shot at Price, but he still takes too many punches.
The Young & The Restless
Nathan Gorman and Daniel Dubois are two young, unbeaten, Frank Warren-promoted prospects who appear to be on a collision course for the British title. That should happen on July 13 at the O2 (seemingly the only venue for UK heavyweight boxing in July!) and would pit Gorman’s fast hands and intelligent movement against the more orthodox skills and thudding power of Dubois.