Feature

The first 10 Brits to hold world super-middleweight titles

Joe Calzaghe
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Looking back at Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders’ predecessors

BRITISH boxing has enjoyed a long and illustrious association with the super-middleweight division. This is exemplified by the fact that Britain currently boasts two world champions at 168lbs in Callum Smith (WBA) and Billy Joe Saunders (WBO) – the country’s 11th and 12th world super-middleweight titlists respectively.

Here, we look back at the first 10 Brits to have held one or more of the four major world titles in the weight class.

NB. Only full WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO championships count.

Murray Sutherland

Title: IBF

Became champion: March 28, 1984

Record: 47-14-1 (39)

EDINBURGH native transitioned from karate to boxing to become the inaugural IBF champion at 168lbs.

Chris Eubank

Title: WBO

Became champion: September 21, 1991

Record: 45-5-2 (23)

Enigmatic Brighton resident who retained the WBO belt 14 times. Shared a fierce rivalry with Nigel Benn [below].

Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank
Action Images

Nigel Benn

Title: WBC

Became champion: October 3, 1992

Record: 42-5-1 (35)

Big-hitting “Dark Destroyer” from Ilford guaranteed excitement and entertainment with his ferocious, all-action style.

Robin Reid

Title: WBC

Became champion: October 12, 1996

Record: 42-8-1 (29)

Like Benn, Runcorn’s “Grim Reaper” picked up the WBC strap on the road. Pushed Joe Calzaghe [below] hard.

Joe Calzaghe

Titles: WBO, IBF, WBC & WBA

First became champion: October 11, 1997

Record: 46-0 (32)

Welsh southpaw raised in Newbridge who dazzled all-comers to retire unbeaten. Won 22 WBO title contests in a row.

Richie Woodhall

Title: WBC

Became champion: March 27, 1998

Record: 26-3 (16)

Just under 18 months after a failed WBC title tilt at middleweight, the Telford boxer claimed WBC gold at super-middle.

Richie Woodhall
Action Images

Glenn Catley

Title: WBC

Became champion: May 6, 2000

Record: 29-7 (22)

Bristolian lost a close one to Woodhall but four fights later upset Markus Beyer on away turf to win the WBC crown.

Carl Froch

Titles: WBC x2 & IBF

First became champion: December 6, 2008

Record: 33-2 (24)

Nottingham’s “Cobra” never shirked a challenge, whether at home or abroad. Relentless and as tough as they come.

James DeGale

Titles: IBF x2

First became champion: May 23, 2015

Record: 25-3-1 (15)

Skilful southpaw from Harlesden who frequently demonstrated his warrior spirit in the latter stages of his career.

Groves vs DeGale

George Groves

Title: WBA

Became champion: May 27, 2017

Record: 28-4 (20)

Versatile Hammersmith operator who secured a world title at the fourth attempt. DeGale and Froch were his bitter foes.

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