Home Boxing 101 Best of a Nation Top 5 Best English Boxers

Top 5 Best English Boxers

Best Boxers from England in the Sport’s History

Much of the entire history of boxing traces back to England. There have been some legendary English boxers from the sport’s earliest modern days up through the current time, and here’s a collection of the best of the best.

1. Bob Fitzsimmons (1885-1914): The original division-jumper, “Ruby” Bob had a unique physique and career. With a muscular torso set upon pipe cleaner legs, Fitzsimmons was one of the hardest hitters in boxing history. Stopped legendary Jack “The Nonpareil” Dempsey to win the World Middleweight Title, before stopping undefeated Heavyweight Champion Gentleman Jim Corbett in 14 to win his crown at only 167 pounds. Stopped twice by hulking Jim Jeffries, Fitzsimmons went on to beat George Gardner for the Light Heavyweight Championship at 40. He also scored stoppages of Peter Maher (twice) and Hall of Famers Joe Choynski, Tom Sharkey, and “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Boxing: The Best of a Nation series for more top 5 and 10 lists of the best boxers from different countries and locales.

2. Lennox Lewis (1989-2003): At one time, Lewis was a maligned champion–generally disliked for a safety-first style. By the time it was over, he had a resume that suggests greatness. He beat every man he ever faced, avenging his only two defeats. The fact that both of his losses were by one-punch knockout to lesser fighters hurts his historical standing, but also indicates that a lucky punch was the only way to beat Lewis, who otherwise was dominant. With wins over Frank Bruno, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall, Andrew Golota, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield, Michael Grant, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, Mike Tyson, and Vitali Klitschko, Lewis cleaned out his era while wielding a right hand that was one of the best punches in heavyweight history.

3. Ted “Kid” Lewis (1909-1929): The 2-time Welterweight Champion had a demanding series with legendary boxing genius Jack Britton, as they engaged in an incredible 20-fight series, considered perhaps the greatest rivalry in boxing history. In 1919, scored a draw with untouchable Benny Leonard. More of a boxer before migrating to the United States, Lewis could be scientific and fierce with equal aplomb.

4. Jack “Kid” Berg (1924-1945): A rugged whirling dervish, Berg’s star shined brightly in an era filled with hallmark figures of boxing lore. Berg cleaned up in England before embarking on a glorious run in the states. Several key wins and a draw with Hall of Famer Billy Petrolle paved the way to an extended unbeaten run, with wins over many leading contenders at lightweight and junior welterweight. In 1930, he gave legendary Tony Canzoneri one of his soundest thrashings and then claimed the 140 lb. crown. In the same year, he defeated all-time great Kid Chocolate, who was then 55-0-1. “The Whitechapel Whirlwind” gained revenge on Petrolle, but a devastating knockout to Canzoneri took a lot out of him. Still, he went on to beat Chocolate again and had a marvelous career.

5. Randy Turpin (1946-1964): As far as single wins go, it doesn’t get much bigger than Turpin’s 1951 Middleweight Title triumph over the 128-1-2 Sugar Ray Robinson. He fought Robinson tough in the rematch, getting stopped in the 10th round of a close fight after threatening to defeat Robinson on cuts. While his stay at the top was brief, he was unquestionably a top performer, yet he was unable to emotionally deal with losing his crown. Still, he beat many leading contenders from both sides of the pond and even knocked out future heavyweight title  challenger Don Cockell for the British and Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Championships.

Hopefully you enjoyed our list of the best boxers from England in the history of boxing. The entire modern sport of boxing has much of its roots in England, and from Fitzsimmons to Lewis, there’s a lineage of some of the finest heavyweight champions of all time.