Heavyweight boxing: Dubois, Itauma, Wardley, Clarke, Fisher - who can be Britain's next star? (2024)

Heavyweight boxing: Dubois, Itauma, Wardley, Clarke, Fisher - who can be Britain's next star? (1)Image source, Getty Images

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Britons Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are heavyweight superstars, having led the way on a global scale for much of the last decade.

Joshua, 34, and Fury, 35, may still be two of the division's top athletes, but the former world champions will not be around forever.

So with the pair seemingly nearing the back end of their illustrious careers, which British fighters can follow in their footsteps? Who has the potential to become a future household name?

Boxing pundit Steve Bunce, Manchester's lightweight world champion turned trainer Anthony Crolla and Scottish former light-middleweight world champion Hannah Rankin share their thoughts.

What information do we collect from this quiz?

Is IBF champion Dubois the obvious pick?

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Bunce: "My pick has to be the IBF world champion, Daniel Dubois. Even if he loses to Joshua in September, he's still going to be the third best British heavyweight at this moment in time.

"Dubois is an old, young man. He had the shocking loss to Joe Joyce and the entertaining and bewildering defeat to Oleksandr Usyk. He then followed it up with back-to-back wins over Jarrell Miller and Filip Hrgovic, both as the underdog. So it's wholly possible he could beat AJ."

Crolla: "It wouldn't be a huge upset if Dubois beats Joshua. He's already one of the top heavyweights in the world and at 26 he's young enough to become a huge star and transcend the sport."

Rankin: "That question mark over Dubois' heart and desire after the loss to Joyce has been quelled. As a person he's become much more confident, he used to be super shy. He's on track to become a superstar."

Can Itauma, 19, live up to the hype?

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Rankin: "I'd pick Moses Itauma as Britain's next heavyweight star. He's strong, fit and technically so good. Being a southpaw as a heavyweight is also an advantage. He is part of Frank Warren's Queensberry stable so he's in good hands."

Crolla: "Itauma is also my pick. I watched him from before he turned professional. He's that good that I would be more surprised if he never won a world title, but it all depends how quickly they move him.

"His movement and shot selection is fantastic, and for a kid who is super laid-back he has a fantastic boxing IQ. His power will develop a lot more."

Bunce: "Four of his last five fights have finished in the first round. But what happens when guys start hitting him back? Itauma is absolutely untested. That's not a criticism, just a fact. The testimony from sparring, where he has been in the gym with the likes of Fury, however, had been generally overwhelming, and it isn't being said for hype - the stuff sparring partners are saying to me off air is quite staggering."

Will Clarke or Wardley progress to world level?

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Crolla: "The first fight between Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke was unbelievable and the winner of the rematch can start looking at fighters in the top 15. Time is not on 32-year-old Clarke's side though and he will have to be moved a bit faster."

Rankin: "Olympic bronze medallist Clarke has fantastic amateur pedigree, but there's been a lot of wear and tear on his body and I don't know how much that will allow him to excel as a pro.

"I have a massive soft spot for Wardley, a fighter who came from a white collar background. He still has a lot to catch up on with pro boxing but when he gets going, he's explosive."

Bunce: "Clarke and Wardley both came of age in their draw. Clarke showed that he's got stamina, the grade and can get involved in fights and box when he has to box.

"Wardley also has a great win over David Adeleye which was a risky fight against a dangerous, heavy-hitting puncher.

"I think Clarke, Wardley and Adeleye could fight each other several times and there would be no one clear winner. Any of them could win, lose or draw those fights."

Is fan favourite Fisher the real deal?

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Bunce: "He doesn't seem to be one who is exciting too many people yet but I'm a big Johnny Fisher fan. He's got age on his side at 25 but more than that he's a big lump, he's smart and he's well schooled. His fight with Alen Babic will be a lot of fun - apparently he's sold 4,000 tickets alone for that."

Crolla: "Fisher is still learning on the job, but if he can get to world level then with his support he can take fans to the United States or Saudi Arabia. He has a fantastic trainer in Mark Tibbs."

Rankin: "Fisher's fanbase is testament to his father who has put in the time to sell tickets and market him. You cannot not like Fisher. He may not have the same skillset as Itauma and Dubois but he's improving every fight and you can't knock that."

Who else is in the mix?

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Bunce: "Solomon Dacres, who will face Adeleye on 20 July, is a smart guy who can use his brain and box, and Hughie Fury is also still around – it's hard to believe he is still only 29.

"I must give an honourable mention to Team GB Olympic hopeful Delicious Orie. Forget his name and the fact he's always smiling, I know what he's gone through in the gym and in his short boxing career. Trust me, in one year's time, no matter what happens in Paris, he will be in this mix."

Rankin: "I'm really looking forward to seeing Orie in Paris. But it's still such early days. He might wish to stay on and have another run in the next Olympics, so you never know."

Crolla: "Orie ticks all the boxes but there's a young fighter called Damar Thomas who is on the Team GB set-up. The Olympics probably came just a little too early for him. He's one to definitely keep an eye on, a brilliant talent."

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