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Written by Jake Wallwork

The best British boxers ranked by weight class

Click the links for parts one, part two and part three of the Best British Boxers series.

We're down to the last part of our Best British boxers series where we have looked at each weight division in turn to see who the best British boxers are. In part 4 we're ending with the light welterweight and lightweight divisions.

For my money, lightweight is one of the richest divisions we have. In part 3 I struggled to order a top three for the middleweight division, with Andy Lee, Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin all in the frame. Lightweight is the same, as you'll find out below.

Writing this list has given me optimism for the future. Last year was a bad year for British boxing, but with fighters like  Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Darren Barker not even at their peaks there's a lot of hope for 2012.

Light Welterweight

5) Nigel Wright  (24 Wins, 6 Losses, 1 Draw) 
Wright has come into good form after losing three fights in a row earlier in his career, most recently by retaining his English light welterweight belt against then-unbeaten Nicki Smedley. A couple more defenses of his English belt should give him the opportunity to fight one of the top guys in this list. 

4) Lee McAllister  (34 Wins, 2 Losses, 0 Draws)
In his second fight at light welterweight McAllister won the Commonwealth title. A unification of the British belts between him and Theophane would be an interesting bout and the winner could go on to the world stage. At twenty-nine, McAllister still has time to develop.

3) Ashley Theophane  (31 Wins, 4 Losses, 1 Draw)


   
In December Ashley Theophane only just beat the suprisingly tough Ben Murphy. Murphy, a natural lightweight, was one and a half rounds away from causing an upset, leading on all three of the judge's scorecards before he was stopped by Theopane. 'Treasure' Theophane did what all potential champions do - he found a way to win. A win is a win Theophane will tell you.

2) Paul McCloskey  (23 Wins, 1 Losses, 0 Draws)
In most people’s minds Paul McCloskey was lucky to come away with the decision in his fight with ‘The Khanquror’ Breidis Prescott. Eddie Hearn, McCloskey’s promoter, got it spot on when he said: “He [McCloskey] showed some balls in that fight.”

With a pathetic performance against Amir Khan and a lucky win over Breidis Prescott, McCloskey only just grabs second place. He recently failed to land a title shot against WBA ‘regular’ champion Marcos Maidana, so who knows where Dudey's future lies.

1) Amir Khan  (26 Wins, 2 Losses, 0 Draws)


   
Amir Khan looked to have the fight in the bag going into the last round, but a crucial second point deduction cost him a win over Lamont Peterson. A rematch is on the cards this year but many feel Khan's rise to the top is tarnished.

In 2008 Khan came back strong after he was knocked out by Breidis Prescott, so I’m sure that he can come back better and more focused from his loss to Peterson. 

Lightweight

5) Derry Matthews (29 Wins, 5 Losses, 1 Draw)
   
Matthews started off well against Gavin Rees in their October fight, but the bout ended when Matthew’s nose would not stop bleeding. Matthews was offered a rematch but has decided to go a different route and fight for the IBO Lightweight strap against unbeaten Italian Emiliano Marsili.

If Matthews successfully wins the belt he should rematch Rees, because their last fight had the potential to be entertaining.

4) Gavin Rees (35 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Draw)
Rees has had a decent run at Lightweight. He beat John Watson for the British belt, scored a decision over then-unbeaten Andy Murray for the EBU belt and recently drew against Derry Matthews. A draw is not much of an achievement, but before it ended Rees was showing signs of taking over the fight. Rees doesn't have an opponent lined up for the future.

3) John Murray (31 Wins, 2 Losses, 0 Draws)
   
You know the saying “He looks like he has been twelve rounds with Mike Tyson”? Well Murray looked like that on December the 3rd. He hadn’t been twelve with Tyson, but he did go eleven with Brandon Rios.

After two beatings in his last two fights, Murray should take some time off then have a few easy fights before he takes on anther world-class boxer. 

2) Kevin Mitchell (32 Wins, 1 Loss, 0 Draw)
In his first fight for fourteen months, Kevin Mitchell took away John Murray’s unbeaten record. With this he put himself in a good position for a world title fight, but a run-in with the police put these hopes on pause. Mitchell wants to get back in action early 2012 and is campaigning for an all-British title fight with Ricky Burns. 

1) Ricky Burns (33 Wins, 2 Losses, 0 Draws)


   
Burns put on an excellent display by beating brawler Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO Lightweight belt. This was a tough fight for Burns’ first at lightweight but because of that, and the fact that he put on such a good performance, Burns is my pick as best British boxer in this division. 

That's the series wrapped up. I'm not gonna lie, it was hard work. But it was fun. Yes, there are a few divisions I've missed, but this may be revisited in the future. I hope you enjoyed our look at the best British boxers, and keep coming back to Punchbag Blog because soon we will rank the top heavyweight prospects.