With British boxings resurgence at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that Britain has once again stamped itself as one of the biggest stages in world boxing.
With the likes of Josh Kelly, Joshua Butasi, Anthony Fowler and Lawrence Okolie making their name on the Olympic stage, team GB has become a conveyor belt for Britain’s next crop of boxing superstars.
But, only 6 of the best have managed to stand on top of the podium. Here are the British stars who have claimed Olympic gold.
There’s no better place to start than with the new heavyweight king. But, before becoming the hottest commodity in world boxing, ‘AJ’ first announced himself at the London Olympics in 2012. After defeating the reigning super-heavyweight gold medallist, Roberto Cammarelle in the final, the then 22-year-old begun his journey to superstardom.
After stepping up to the professional ranks in 2013, Joshua has wasted no time in climbing to the top of boxing’s most lucrative division. With a resume that already resembles that of a seasoned pro, the current IBF and WBA heavyweight champion most recently gained the title as the man who retired the great Wladimir Klitschko.
“The Olympics was a different level. That was crazy. That was different altogether, but it molded me to deal with these occasions better.” – Anthony Joshua
Even with all of his accolades to date, Joshua has always insisted that claiming Olympic gold will always be his greatest achievement. Always a familiar face around the team GB camp, the heavyweight king knows first-hand how the Olympic stage can brace you for the professional game.
It’s almost hard to believe that we’re closing in on a decade from ‘Chunky’s’ dramatic victory at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Never the less, like Anthony Joshua, DeGale used the Olympic stage to help build his name. Still, to this day, DeGale’s middleweight battle with Cuba’s Emilio Correa Bayeaux is remembered as one of the most heated bouts in Olympic boxing history. After his opponent was docked two points for biting, the London fighter kept his composure and won the scrappy fight 16-14, becoming the first man to win Olympic gold since 2000.
Nine years on and DeGale has progressed from exciting armature to a seasoned vet. Having held the IBF super-middleweight belt since 2015, the former Olympian is currently ranked as the world’s best super-middleweight by The Ring Magazine and the Transitional Boxing Rankings Board. With a second unification fight on the horizon, ‘Chunky’ will be hoping to add more gold to go along with his Olympic medal.
Ireland’s favorite daughter has almost gathered a cult following after an amateur career that saw her win EIGHTEEN gold medals at the world and European level. Her most famous victory, however, came in front of an adoring British crowd in 2012 when ‘the Bray Bomber’ captured Olympic gold after defeating Russia’s Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in the women’s lightweight final.
“It’s what I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve envisaged this moment so many times before but it’s better than all my wildest dreams to be sitting here as Olympic champion.” – Katie Taylor
Despite a professional career that only begun in 2016 and with only 6 fights under her belt, Taylor has been tipped as the best women’s boxer on the planet. With Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn confirming that a world title shot is only around the corner, it seems only a matter of time till the Irish star adds her name to the list of British world title holders.
Entering the games as a two-time ABA champion and European gold medallist, Campbell was tipped as Britain’s best chance for Olympic gold, the man from Hull did not disappoint. Once again backed by his home crowd, Campbell became this first Brit to win bantamweight gold since 1908. After a series of classy performances along the way, Campbell dismantled Irishman John Joe Nevin in the final winning 14-11 and becoming the Olympic bantamweight king.
Campell will be hoping that his defining fight in the amateurs will have the same outcome on the 21st of September, as the Brit will be fighting for his first world title. With only one loss to his record, Campbell’s transition from amateur to professional has been a smooth one. Battling it out with Jorge Linares for the WBA and WBC Diamond lightweight titles, we will all be hoping that Campbell can join Anthony Joshua and James DeGale on the exclusive list of fighters holding Olympic and world title gold.
The woman who essentially single-handedly dragged women’s British boxing into the mainstream attention. The first female boxer to win an Olympic title and the first to win two gold medals at the Games, Adams’ performances in both the 2012 and the 2016 Olympic Games saw her rightfully crowned as the queen of the flyweight’s and a genuine Olympic legend.
“I’m now officially the most accomplished amateur boxer Great Britain has ever had. I can’t believe it.” – Nicola Adams
Despite being a record breaker among the amateur elite, Adams’ journey as a professional is only just getting started. After being signed by Frank Warren this year, the flyweight queen is currently 2-0.
Ending on more of a nostalgic note. Despite a professional career that some will describe as disastrous, Harrison was a trailblazer for the next generation of British fighters. After picking up gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, ‘A force’ became the first Brit in 32 years to stand on top of the podium. His performance at the games saw the super heavyweight champ awarded an MBE.
Although Harrison was quick to brag about his world title ambitions, that dream would never become a reality. After 38 pro fights over 12 years, seven defeats, a string of injuries and an unfulfilled world heavyweight title dream, Harrison retired in 2015. Although people may choose to remember the Olympian for his woeful showings against the likes of David Haye and Deontay Wilder, Harrison’s achievements in an era where British boxing was almost unfunded have helped him build a true legacy.