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Opinion

Top 10 featherweight belt-holders from the UK and Ireland

featherweight
As the featherweight division takes centre stage domestically, here is a list of 10 featherweight belt-holders from the United Kingdom and Ireland

1. Naseem Hamed
Hamed redefined the weight class with his power and showmanship. After winning the WBO featherweight title against Steve Robinson in 1995, he defended it 15 times, adding the IBF and WBC versions along the way.

2. Barry McGuigan
McGuigan ended the long reign of Eusebio Pedroza, at Loftus Road in 1985. He would make two defences before Steve Cruz and the insane Las Vegas heat conspired against him the following year.

3. Howard Winstone
Winning 61 of 67 pro fights, Winstone lost three title shots against the great Vicente Saldivar before beating Mitsunori Seki to lift the WBC belt in 1968. José Legrá then dethroned him later that year.

4. Josh Warrington
Warrington was the British, Commonwealth and European champion in 2014, then in 2018 he outpointed Lee Selby to take the IBF belt; a title he defended three times before winning it again in 2022.

5. Carl Frampton
Though most of his success was at super-bantamweight, Frampton’s career-best win against Léo Santa Cruz was at featherweight in 2016 and won him the WBA title, which he lost in the rematch.

6. Scott Harrison
Harrison beat Julio Pablo Chacón in 2002 to become WBO belt-holder, then lost it two fights later against Manuel Medina. He eventually beat Medina in the return and made an additional six defences.

7. Lee Selby
Selby, the pride of Barry, Wales, won the British and Commonwealth titles in 2011 ahead of stopping Evgeny Gradovich in 2015 to win the IBF strap. He retained the belt four times before losing against Josh Warrington.

8. Steve Robinson
Robinson, the ‘Cinderella Man’, rebounded from a patchy start to his pro career to win the WBO title against John Davison in 1993. Seven defences later, only Naseem Hamed could dethrone him.

9. Paul Ingle
Having won and defended the British title in 1997, Ingle unsuccessfully challenged WBO champion Naseem Hamed in ’99. He later defeated Manuel Medina for the IBF title, which he then defended against Junior Jones.

10. Paul Hodkinson
Liverpool’s Hodkinson won the British featherweight title in 1988, the European featherweight title in ’89, and the WBC featherweight title – at the second attempt – in ’91, beating Marcos Villasana by decision. He defended the belt three times.

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