British boxing has thrived in recent years, producing multiple world champions across an array of weight classes. Many would argue British boxing has never had it so good. A testament to the hard working and talented fighters, their coaching staff, sparring partners, management, promoters as well as having an elite amateur system in place.
In this blog, I take a look at seven young transatlantic fighters looking to halt the success of their British counterparts and who are likely to face the new crop of British talent, a crop that boasts the likes of Joe Cordina, Anthony Fowler, Joshua Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie & Daniel Dubois.
1. George Arias (pictured) - Heavyweight
Known as the "Gentleman" and hailing from the Dominican Republic, exciting heavyweight prospect George Arias now resides in the Bronx, NY. Boxing out of Morris Park boxing club he boasts a professional record of seven fights, seven wins with three bouts ending inside the scheduled distance. Likened in looks to a young Muhammad Ali and with the fighting style of a young Mike Tyson, Arias brings a youthful exuberance to the ring and excitement back to a division that until recent years had gone stale. Coached by Leon Washington Jr, the former 2014 New York Golden Gloves champion turned pro following a brief amateur career and has since gone on to showcase his talent at Madison Square Garden on the Walters v Marriaga undercard. Arias, a relatively small heavyweight in today's division is influenced by fighters such as Joe Frazier, Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson and he adopts a non-stop attitude with relentless pressure to dispatch of his opponents. Later this month, Arias' career will reach new heights as he features on the undercard of Mikey Garcia and Adrien Broner in his hometown at the Barclays Centre, New York. His opponent is yet to be confirmed. George is a raw talent who's got the goods to go the distance.
2. Errol Spence Jr - Welterweight
In May 2017 Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr got his long awaited world title shot at 147lbs and took it in style. Following impressive victories against Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu, Spence Jr travelled to Sheffield and broke down Kell Brook in his own back yard, defeating him in the eleventh round. In doing so, Spence Jr claimed the IBF World title. Many critics had the fight down as "too soon" for Spence Jr but he silenced them in front of a packed house at Bramhall Lane, a great show promoted by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom boxing. The welterweight division hasn't been short of talent in the last decade and Spence Jr now has his sights set on the tough task of unifying the division. In his way stands Keith Thurman who is currently recovering from elbow surgery. With this in mind, a showdown with Danny Garcia looks more likely in the near future. I believe Spence Jr has what it takes to dominate the division for years to come.
3. Felix Verdejo - Lightweight
The product of Puerto Rico returned to the ring in February of this year to secure his place as the WBO Number one contender in the lightweight division by overcoming Oliver Flores. Verdejo was named as the mandatory challenger for the WBO World Lightweight title last summer, meaning that a dust up with Britain’s Terry Flanagan looked likely for the end of 2016. His title shot suffered a setback following a motorcycle accident that left the fighter in hospital. A fight against Flanagan is now scheduled for September following Flanagan’s points win over Russia’s tough Petr Petrov who had previously only been stopped by Marcos Maidana. I believe the Puerto Rican will become a world champion in 2017 in a hotly contested division that boasts the likes of Jorge Linares & Mikey Garcia. To do so, he will have to beat Manchester's Flanagan who is undefeated in thirty-three bouts. Verdejo has the skill set & heart to dethrone the best of the British at lightweight. There is also the possibility of a second showdown with Vasyl Lomachenko in the future having met at the Olympics as amateurs.
4. Devin Haney - Super Lightweight
Ranked 123rd in the world at super lightweight, and aged eighteen, Devin Haney is being hyped as the new kid on the block. His experienced amateur resume reads of one hundred and thirty victories and five losses. He has shared multiple sparring sessions with the modern day master Floyd Mayweather Jr while Floyd Mayweather Snr stated that Haney had the better of Jnr's protégé Gervonta Davis in sparring. Josh Taylor looks the best of the British contingent in the division after beating rival Ohara Davies and hopefully their paths will cross in a division headed up by one of boxing's pound for pound best in Terence Crawford.
5. Gervonta Davis - Super Featherweight
The IBF super featherweight champion who is signed with Mayweather Promotions looks to be the real deal after beating the previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza to claim world honours. Davis then came across the pond to defend his title in devastating fashion, blasting mandatory challenger Liam Walsh out within three rounds. Tougher tasks lie ahead with Miguel Berchelt, Jezreel Corrales and the feared Vasyl Lomachenko occupying the WBC, WBA and WBO belts at super featherweight, respectively. A match up with highly rated rival Tevin Farmer also looks to be on the cards. Should Welshman Joe Cordina fulfil his potential then the two may well meet in the future.
6. Shakur Stevenson - Featherweight
"It's time to be great" for the Olympic silver medallist. He's 2-0 in the pro ranks after a debut win at the StubHub centre in California followed up by a win at Madison Square Garden in his second bout. Scheduled for a bout in August, Stevenson looks to be on the road again as he heads to Nebraska. In a division that has many world class operators including plenty of British depth, it will be interesting to see if Stevenson can go all the way to the top and pick up a belt for the US. The Likes of Lee Selby, Carl Frampton & Josh Warrington may well have moved on by this point.
7. Joseph Diaz Jr - Featherweight
A huge talent who has beaten some well respected fighters in his last four bouts. Ranked highly across all boxing organisations/associations and with a record of 24-0, Diaz Jr looks set for a big fight sooner rather than later. A bout with Oscar Valdez looks the most likely with Diaz ranked at number one in the WBO. A must watch.