Top Five

Walkabout’s Top 5 Boxers in British Heavyweight History


Anthony Joshua stands on the verge of greatness. Beat Klitschko and he’ll hold three world titles. But where would that rank him in Britain’s best ever heavyweight boxers? We’ve picked our top five below. Could Joshua make this list in future? We’ll let you decide.  


5. Henry Cooper

Renowned for the power of his left hook, known as “Enry’s ‘Ammer”, Sir Henry Cooper is most famously known for his knockdown of a young Muhammad Ali in 1963. Born in South London he had a career spanning 22 years, holding the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight title several times in those, successfully defending the British crown eight times. He challenged for the world heavyweight championship in 1966 but came up short against a prime, undefeated Muhammad Ali. Cooper gave so much to British boxing he was awarded a knighthood in 2000, becoming the only boxer to be awarded one.  


4. David Haye

David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye is the first and only British boxer to have unified the cruiserweight titles and become a world heavyweight champion. He moved up to heavyweight and became the WBA champion in 2009 after beating the 7ft tall Nikolai Valuev, who was 7 stones heavier than him at the time. He took on Joshua’s opponent Klitschko in 2011 aiming to unify the heavyweight division but came up short against the Ukrainian. Although his recent comeback hasn’t quite gone to plan, there’s no denying his place as a top British heavyweight boxer.  


3. Tyson Fury

Still undefeated, Tyson Fury won it all back in 2015 when he shook the boxing world to unify the heavyweight division with a unanimous win against Klitschko in Germany. The 6ft 9ins ‘Gypsy King’ duped the Ukrainian by out-moving and out-jabbing him, ending his nine-and-a-half-year unbeaten record. Although his mental illness has stopped him competing recently, there’s talk of a July comeback. Now that would give us some fights to get excited about.  


2. Frank Bruno

Franklin Roy “Frank” Bruno was a popular boxer with the British public, facing many world champions including Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in his fourteen-year career. He became a world champion in 1995, defeating Oliver McCall at Wembley to pick up the WBC heavyweight title. Frank was known for his tremendous punch power, picking up a 95 per cent knockout rate from his 40 professional wins.  


1.Lennox Lewis

Undoubtedly the greatest British heavyweight in history, Lennox Lewis was a three-time heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist. In a career spanning fourteen years, he defeated the likes of Mike Tyson, Vitali Klitschko and Evander Holyfield, and remains the last undisputed heavyweight champion. In 2009 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, showing what a respected fighter he really was.