From prospects to champions: Who will lead British boxing’s next generation?


With many of Britain’s biggest names either retiring or travelling across the pond, the UK are in need of their next household name.

The past 18 months has seen the previous torchbearers of British boxing make their way out of the sport. The key figures that have led boxing into a new renaissance have all come to an end in similar fashion. The likes of David Haye, Tony Bellew and bitter rivals James DeGale and George Groves have all called time on their career following defeats.

Meanwhile, after the launch of sporting streaming service ‘DAZN’ in the States, boxers are suddenly set on pursuing the American dream. With fighter’s purses bigger than ever and an audience that is unrivalled, there is little wonder as to why they are all desperate to fight in the U.S.

In June Anthony Joshua, the architect of boxing’s surge in popularity, made his ill-fated American debut. Two weeks later, Tyson Fury boxed in Las Vegas. Even WBO Super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, will travel to America, on the undercard of the bizarre KSI-Logan Paul rematch.

Perhaps, the example of the latter epitomised the sudden strangehold the U.S has on boxing. There you have a world champion, just one of six in Britain, travelling to the States to fight on an undercard of two YouTubers. However, no one can blame Billy Joe; in a sport where every fight is a brutal risk of your health, who could blame a boxer for maximising their earnings?

Whilst these shores are home to a number of promising prospects, who are the boxers that will step up and become world champions in 2020?

Joe Cordina (10 (7)-0-0)

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Photo: SouthpawJab

Having won the British title earlier this year to add to his commonwealth strap, Joe Cordina has made a seamless transition into the professional ranks. A product of the 2016 Olympic team, the Welshmen turned pro eight months later and boasts a perfect 10-0 record.

Under the watchful stewardship of trainer Tony Sims, the Olympian currently campaigns in the lightweight division. However, Cordina’s promoter Eddie Hearn admitted he is open to a move down to super-featherweight if the right opportunities present themselves.

Knocking out seven of his ten opponents, the 27-year-old has skill to match his power. Cordina can fight going forwards and backwards, with allusive head movement and fast hands notable assets.

Although Vasiliy Lomachenko reigns supreme in the lightweight division, the belts are slightly more fragmented in the weight below.

If  Joe Cordina can make the expected step-up to European level and win in attention-grabbing fashion, then the end of 2020 might see the Welshman challenge for world honours.

Sunny Edwards (13 (4)-0-0)

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Photo: Nick Potts/PA Images

Brother of WBC flyweight champion Charlie, Sunny Edwards could be set to join him in 2020. Despite his brother holding a world strap, the siblings are in unanimous agreement that ‘Showtime’ is technically the more gifted.

Displaying a languid flowing style, Sunny isn’t exactly the stereotypical British boxer. The 23-year-old is comfortable at all ranges and more importantly, has the necessary confidence a fighter of that breed requires. In the lighter divisions, where the lack of middle ground between domestic and world level competitors is vast, it is often difficult to predict where a certain fighter is at.

However, the effortless nature Edwards dispatches of his opponents could suggest he is ready for an assault on the world scene. If promoted correctly by Frank Warren, Sunny Edwards has the potential for 2020 to be his breakout year.

Daniel Dubois (13 (12)-0-0)

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Photo: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo/REX/Shutterstock

The poster boy of ‘BT Sport’ boxing, the young heavyweight is set for some huge showdowns next year.

It is fair to say Dubois embodies the cliche of turning into a different beast once inside the ring. Shy and unassuming away from the squared circle, ‘Dynamite’ Dubois carries vicious power and a ruthless streak once the bell rings.

Despite being an adolescent within heavyweight boxing, the 22-year-old has long been talked about. Sparring stories of Dubois allegedly knocking out Anthony Joshua added fuel to the fire whilst a recent win against fellow contender Nathan Gorman proved to the sceptics the potential was real.

Perhaps the most terrifying thing is the young man is yet to fill out into his frame. Already displaying tremendous, thudding power with solid fundamentals to back it up, only few can imagine what might be on the horizon once his man strength is fully added.

One thing is for sure though, it will be fascinating to see what the next year holds for Daniel Dubois.

Joshua Buatsi (12 (10)-0-0)

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Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Joshua Buatsi was the only male Team GB boxer to return home from Rio with an Olympic medal, taking Bronze. And whisper it quietly, Buatsi might just be the best of the bunch in the professional ranks also.

With Anthony Joshua a mentor and sporting powerhouse ‘Nike’ a sponsor, huge things are predicted for the Croydon resident. Despite the international amateur success and the stellar start to the pro life , Buatsi is an impressive young man away from the sport. After grabbing bronze, the Ghanaian born man went back to university to graduate with a 2:1 degree in management with sports science.

During conversation, Buatsi strikes you as this genuine and humble man, all of which is true. However Buatsi, like Dubois, turns into a killer inside the ring. A re-incarnation of some sort of Jekyll and Hyde ghost, ‘JB’ snarls shark-like at opponents. The innate ability to sense blood with alluring ease is really something to behold.

Winning the Lonsdale belt earlier this year following a three-round demolition job against Liam Conroy, Buatsi is widely regarded as one of the best young prospects in world boxing.

The poise and the accuracy in where Buatsi lands his punches is an art form that most boxers can only dream of having. This was noticed by Tony Bellew, who heralded him as “a cross between Andre Ward and Evander Holyfield” – high praise indeed.

Although he and his team share the view that a few more challenges are needed, Bellew and others already believe he is capable of reaching the summit, sooner rather than later.

Everything in Joshua Buatsi’s character suggests the light-heavyweight should be easily marketable for the hardcore and casual boxing consumer. Charismatic yet respectful and as entertaining as they come in combat, Buatsi has the necessary tools to appeal to every audience.

Boxing is unpredictable – that is why it’s such an engrossing sport. But if I had to bet good money, I would anticipate and with reasonable confidence, Joshua Buatsi will be the next boxing superstar.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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