Issue Opinion

10 British Olympians who followed in Audley Harrison’s footsteps

Audley Harrison
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Audley Harrison paved the way for Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan and more

1. ANTHONY JOSHUA
The 2012 super-heavyweight gold medal winner’s rapid rise from obscurity would have been impossible without Team GB behind him. Joshua didn’t hang about as a professional either; by 2018 he held the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.   

2. AMIR KHAN
Khan’s success at Athens in 2004, where he sensationally claimed lightweight silver at the age of just 17, underlined the potential for young boxers in Britain. As a pro, Khan claimed two major belts at 140lbs while becoming one of the world’s most exciting fighters.      

3. JAMES DeGALE
The golden boy of the gifted class of 2008, DeGale – who won gold as a middleweight in Beijing – became the first Briton to win Olympic and professional world titles when he snared the IBF super-middleweight strap in 2015 for the first of two reigns as champion.    

4. JOSH TAYLOR
Though the Scot’s lightweight campaign in London was cut short in the second round, his obvious talents have thrived at professional level. He was a contender for world Fighter of the Year in 2019 when he outscored unbeaten duo Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis to claim the IBF and WBA super-lightweight belts.   

5. NICOLA ADAMS
Adams’ impact on the women’s game in the UK should never be understated. The two-time Olympic flyweight champion (2012 and 2016) saw her become a household name. Her progress as a pro wasn’t as impressive – she did pick up a WBO strap by default – but by then her job was done.

6. KHALID YAFAI
The affable Brummie reached the last 16 in the flyweight competition of 2008 before winning the WBA super-flyweight belt in 2016. He made five defences before losing it last year.       

7. BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
Arguably the most talented of the 2008 squad – where he reached the second round at welterweight – Saunders remains unbeaten as a pro and has won WBO titles at 160 and 168.  

8. LUKE CAMPBELL
Campbell achieved nationwide fame when he stood atop the podium at London 2012 as bantamweight champion. His journey as a pro is far from over and he’s cemented his status as one of the planet’s premier lightweights in gallant losses to Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

9. FRANKIE GAVIN
The precocious Gavin had to withdraw from the 2008 Games after failing to make the lightweight limit and though he won British and Commonwealth welterweight titles as a pro, the promise he showed while winning the amateur Worlds in 2007 went unfulfilled.   

10. DAVID PRICE
The big-hitting Scouser left Beijing with bronze at super-heavy and though he is labelled by some as an under-achiever, Price picked up the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles while remaining a fringe contender at world level for much of his career.  

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