Ones to Watch: The UK's five best prospects in the heavyweight division

The UK has a history of producing great heavyweight fighters - just look at Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Here, Planet Sport looks at the next wave hoping to shake up the division.

The UK has enjoyed plenty of success in boxing's golden weight category in recent years. Anthony Joshua has held the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles on two occasions in his career and is hoping to get those belts back in a rematch against Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk.

Tyson Fury held those same titles in 2015 after beating Vladimir Klitschko. After a hiatus from the sport, he came back and dominated Deontay Wilder to win the WBC crown.

Before the Joshua and Fury era, David Haye unified the cruiserweight division and went on to become WBA heavyweight champion.

The UK's heavyweight class has never been stronger, but some attention is already turning to the next generation of potential champions.

Here, Planet Sport takes a look at five UK prospects aiming to make their mark at heavyweight.

Fabio Wardley

Fabio Wardley beat Phil Williams on the undercard of Whyte vs Chisora II

Age - 27

Height - 6ft 5in

Record - 13-0-0 (12 KOs)

Wardley is the current English heavyweight champion and has held the title since August 2020. He is managed by world title challenger Dillian Whyte and is highly regarded by 'The Body Snatcher'.

Fighting out of Ipswich, Suffolk, Wardley made his professional debut in April 2017. He amassed an impressive unbeaten record before recording a TKO victory over Middlesbrough fighter Simon Vallily to win the English crown.

Wardley's best win to date came against Eric Molina in March 2021. The American, who has previously challenged Joshua and Wilder for their world titles, couldn't deal with Wardley and the Brit knocked him out with a right-left combination in the fifth round.

Prior to the victory, Whyte heaped praise on Wardley by saying: "He has an air of invincibility. He hasn't lost. He hasn't even lost a round. No one has hurt him, dropped him or out-boxed him.

"That's the best place to be in your career because you think no one can defeat you. No one can touch you."

At 6ft 5in and coming in at a commanding weight, the Ipswich man is the perfect size to make waves in the heavyweight division.

And at 27 years old, he still has plenty of time to hone his craft and reach his full potential.

Wardley has all the necessary attributes to make a statement on the biggest stage. He has a good jab, athleticism, lightning fast hands and a devastating knockout. His brutal win over Richard Lartey is a perfect example of the latter.

Daniel Dubois

Age - 24

Height - 6ft 5in

Record - 17-1-0 (16 KOs)

Dubois has already had a storied professional career, despite his tender age. He drummed up an unbeaten record before knocking Nathan Gorman out in July 2019 to become British champion.

The fighter, hailing from Greenwich in London, continued to rise up the rankings with two more swift knockout victories before facing Joe Joyce in a domestic clash in November 2020.

Daniel Dubois beat Bodgan Dinu to get his career back on track

Dubois landed some bombs on the former Olympian as they took part in a captivating fight. Dubois, nicknamed 'Dynamite', was the favourite but started to become unsettled by a damaged eye.

Joyce caught Dubois with a simple jab in the 10th round and he was unable to continue, leading to his first pro defeat.

Dubois got his career back on track with successive wins after that, before knocking out Trevor Bryan to win the WBA 'regular' title. He is now the number one challenger to Usyk's WBA 'super' belt, although he may have to wait until a heavyweight unification bout occurs first.

Dubois knocked Bryan out in the fourth round and made good on his pre-fight promise. "I want to make a statement in devastating fashion. By any means necessary, but I'm looking to make a statement," Dubois said.

"This is an important fight. It's a fight for my career and I've gotta fight my heart out."

As his 'Dynamite' nickname and record suggest, Dubois has brutal knockout power. Very few of his fights go the distance and he could therefore become the UK's answer to Wilder.

David Adeleye

David Adeleye beat Chris Healey at Wembley in April 2022

Age - 25

Height - 6ft 4 1/2in

Record - 9-0-0 (8 KOs)

Adeleye sits 11th on Boxrec's UK heavyweight rankings, behind Dubois (7th) and Wardley (9th). But all signs point to him becoming part of the top 10 in the near future.

The London-born bruiser earned plenty of experience as an amateur before winning his pro debut in December 2019, on the undercard of Dubois vs Kyotaro Fujimoto. Adeleye has won eight of his nine fights via stoppage, although he is yet to come up against anyone of real note.

Adeleye's most recent victory came at Wembley Stadium, in the build up to Fury's domestic clash against Whyte.

Represented by Frank Warren's Queensberry Promotions, the fighter will be looking to win a few more fights before setting his sights on the English heavyweight title - currently held by the first name on this list, Wardley.

When asked last year about fighting for the British or Commonwealth titles, Adeleye said: "Whichever belt comes first is the one I go for. I'll take all of them.

"I want to get in the history books as a world heavyweight champion and deliver some of the biggest fight nights for British boxing."

Adeleye will have learnt some tricks from Joshua and Fury after sparring with both of them previously in his career.

He possesses good head movement and eye-catching punch accuracy, but just needs to perfect some of his other skills before stepping up to the next level.

Frazer Clarke

Frazer Clarke came up against Jake Darnell in his pro debut

Age - 30

Height - 6ft 6in

Record - 1-0-0 (1 KO)

At 30 years old, Clarke is the oldest fighter on this list and a relative latecomer. But that doesn't mean he is lacking experience.

Clarke, who holds the nickname 'The Eraser', picked up 68 wins as an amateur and represented Great Britain at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Burton upon Trent man reached the semi-final but lost to Uzebkistan's Bakhodir Jalolov, ending his dream of an historic gold medal. However, the result was good enough for him to pick up a bronze.

Clarke turned pro in December 2021 and signed a contract with Boxxer. He won his first fight in dominant fashion and was scheduled to face Gabriel Enguema of Spain in March of this year.

However, 'The Eraser' had to pull out due to hand surgery. He will soon begin plotting his return to the ring in the form of a second pro fight.

Clarke's promoter, Ben Shalom, knows he must move fast to get on the world title scene due to his age - just like Olympic predecessor Joyce. "He is an obvious comparison," Shalom said. "Frazer will have to move as quickly as Joe, who is now 35 and is in world title contention.

"By the time Frazer is 35, we'd be very disappointed if he hasn't already had a world title fight."

Clearly, Clarke is planning a rapid rise up the rankings so he can get in the mix with heavyweight's elite fighters.

But his vast amateur experience and Olympic history should stand him in good stead. Don't be surprised if Clarke comes up against Wardley, Dubois or Adeleye in a bid to get above them on the British scene.

Johnny Fisher

Johnny Fisher shows respect to Gabriel Enguema after fighting the Spaniard

Age - 23

Height - 6ft 4in

Record - 5-0-0 (4 KOs)

Fisher is the youngest and arguably least experienced of these five heavyweight prospects, but he should still be taken very seriously.

'The Romford Bull', as he would like to be known, opted to fight professionally at just 22 and now holds a record of five wins out of five, with four of them coming through TKO.

Fisher comes from a boxing family but is the first to truly set his sights on making a career out of the sport. He knows Joyce well, having sparred with him before the Dubois clash.

This will have sharpened Fisher up and given him experience in the ring with a deadly pro.

Fisher's bright future is demonstrated by his nomination for the Boxing Writers' Club Young Boxer of the Year award earlier this year, although he couldn't quite take home the accolade. He is also represented by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom and the well-known promoter is aiming to get him back in the ring soon.

Fisher has the invaluable asset of a strong chin, which will be essential if he is to compete against some of the biggest names in the division. He has good knockout power, too.

However, the former rugby player is only in the infancy of his career and must show these attributes against more notable opponents before he can be considered for a British or Commonwealth title shot.

Nevertheless, Fisher is one to watch out for in the next few years - just like the four others in this list, who all have great potential.

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