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The best British cruiserweights of all-time including David Haye, Tony Bellew & Johnny Nelson

Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe will run back their 2019 dust-up this weekend in an intriguing WBO cruiserweight world title showdown, and to celebrate the occasion we take a look at some of the finest 200lbs fighters from these shores.


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Selhurst Park, the home of Riakporhe's beloved Crystal Palace, will play host to BOXXER's latest fight card on Saturday night - an event topped by the hugely-anticipated all-British affair.

Riakporhe prevailed the last time the two met, inflicting the sole professional defeat upon Bournemouth's Billam-Smith, but will it be a case of repeat or revenge this time around?

Thankfully, we don't have to wait long to find out!

Ahead of the bout however, we look back at five of British boxing's most dominant cruiserweight performers.

David 'Hayemaker' Haye

For many, David Haye is the finest British cruiserweight of all time.

The Londoner had already etched his name into the sport's history books prior to becoming world champion in 2007 after establishing himself as the first two-belt 200lbs champion in British boxing history.

But his finest hour was to come after capturing British and European gold, ousting Jean-Marc Mormeck in his own Parisian backyard to become a unified world champion.

He cemented his legacy with sublime successes over the likes of Enzo Maccarinelli and Monte Barrett before making a successful step up to the heavyweight division.

It wasn't just in the ring that Haye was able to grab the headlines though, with the fighter also regarded as one of the sport's more controversial figures, with his audacious trash-talking further heightening the hype surrounding some of his biggest bouts.

Tony 'Bomber' Bellew

Tony Bellew began his professional career as a light-heavyweight, but it wasn't until he moved up a division that he enjoyed true success.

A proud Evertonian, Bellew captured the then vacant WBC Cruiserweight title at his beloved Goodison Park courtesy of a destructive stoppage of Ilunga Makabu, before making a successful defence against BJ Flores.

Back-to-back successes over David Haye served to further enhance his ever-growing reputation, before Oleksandr Usyk inflicted a first cruiserweight defeat upon him in what proved to be Bellew's final professional outing in 2018.

Few in the fighting game have epitomised heart and determination any more than the gutsy Liverpudlian.

'The Gentleman' Glenn McCrory

Although now more familiar to the younger generation as a Sky Sports boxing pundit, Glenn McCrory was previously one of the UK's most feared cruiserweights.

McCrory's entire professional career lasted less than a decade, but my word, he was able to cram plenty of drama into those years.

He embarked upon a total of 39 fights, winning 30 of them, including a points success over Patrick Lumumba in June, 1986 - a result that catapulted his name to the top of the 200lbs division.

That success also bestowed him the honour of becoming the first boxing world champion from the North East.

'The Entertainer' Johnny Nelson

Johnny Nelson's longevity and dominance within the cruiserweight division is truly unparalleled.

The Sheffield-born fighter actually lost ten of his first 13 amateur bouts, but showed incredible perseverance and grit to turn around his fortunes thereonafter.

In fact, after capturing world championship gold for the first time at 200lbs against Carl Thompson in 1999, he subsequently retained possession of the WBO strap for a remarkable seven years - successfully defending his title against 13 opponents.

To this day, it remains the longest title reign of any fighter in cruiserweight history.

'The Cat' Carl Thompson

Carl 'The Cat' Thompson is a former WBO, European and British cruiserweight champion whose sledge-hammer like right hand propelled him to the summit of the 200lbs division in the 1990s.

After capturing European cruiserweight success in 1995, Thompson's maiden attempt at world honours saw him fall just short against Ralf Rocchigiani.

However, rather than deterring his bid for success, defeat served to further fuel his fire, and he eventually fulfilled his dream of becoming a world champion with a stunning triumph over the same opponent, in Germany, two years later.

It was a victory that lit the blue touch paper for him, as he further cemented his boxing legacy with back-to-back victories over then British fighting icon Chris Eubank.

Thompson drew the curtain upon his illustrious career in 2005 as a three-time cruiserweight world champion, having also defeated Uriah Grant and Sebastiaan Rothmann to capture world honours.


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