What does 2020 have in store for Tyson Fury, Josh Taylor, Callum Smith and more? Betfair's boxing writer and former professional fighter Frankie Monkhouse picks out six Brits with a big year ahead...
"The world number one says he wants a dream fight with Manny Pacquiao next."
Boxing schedule on ice
What was shaping up to be a red-hot year of professional boxing has been put on ice due to the coronavirus outbreak. The British Boxing Board of Control - the sport's ruling body in the UK - slapped a suspension on all fights until June at the earliest.
A return date has yet to be set in stone but, when we do get back to action, several British fighters will be desperate to make up for lost time. World titles are there to be won and lost in the second half of 2020. Will the shorter season help push through the big, fan-friendly fights?
Followers certainly hope so and wait patiently on announcements from the likes of Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn as to what they can expect between now and the winter shutdown. Below you'll find a selection of six British world champions and what the season could hold for each.
Tyson Fury - back in business
The Gypsy King moved his professional record to 30 wins and one draw against no defeats when stopping long-term rival Deontay Wilder inside seven rounds in Las Vegas back in February. In doing so the 6ft 9inch orthodox claimed the American's WBC world heavyweight title, returning to the summit of boxing. He is now the only undefeated fighter of the main contenders.
What's next for Fury? That's an interesting question. It was thought Wilder would exercise the rematch clause that had been written into the contract and force through the trilogy. Could it really happen again?
The reduced season has some suggesting the Bronze Bomber may take a step back and allow Fury to face-off against fellow countryman and world champion Anthony Joshua in a unification bout.
If that proves to be the case, Fury would be favourite for the win. He's 4/9 on the Betfair Sportsbook with AJ available at an eye-catching 13/8, 22/1 the draw.
Josh Taylor - Scot in a rush
Scotsman Josh Taylor may have just 16 fights on his record but the former amateur star from Edinburgh has wasted no time blazing a trail of glory to the top of the light welterweight division. The Brit has won all 16, racking up a dozen KOs along the way. Slick southpaw Taylor was last seen beating American Regis Prograis on points at the O2 Arena, London.
Not only did Josh defeat a respected, more experienced and unbeaten fighter in Prograis, he also banked the WBA and IBF world titles as well as the WBC Diamond strap and Muhammad Ali Trophy. The latter was gifted as a reward for winning the World Boxing Super Series. Many expected to see Taylor back in the ring by now, but we'll have to wait. The world number one says he wants a dream fight with Manny Pacquiao next.
Billy Joe Saunders - results speak volumes
It had been reported by many boxing sites and publications that Billy Joe Saunders was near to signing a contract to face pound-for-pound great Saul Alvarez. The Mexican fighting sensation, who has lost only to Floyd Mayweather, was seeking an opponent for May and Saunders had been touted as the preferred choice. It's a fight fans on both sides of the Atlantic want to see happen and it could still go ahead this year.
Saunders possesses a unique, awkward southpaw style that is designed to give even the most accomplished boxer a hard time. The 30-year-old traveller has attracted some unwanted negative press of late and will surely welcome a return to boxing, letting his skills, speed and technique do the talking. It's not clear if Saunders vs Alvarez is still on the cards - Team Canelo may not want the bad press - but it's a fight that has to happen.
If two-weight world champion BJS does get the bout he's been craving he will find himself an underdog with the Betfair traders. Saunders is currently available at a chunky 4/1 to continue his perfect record against Saul, with Alvarez a nailed down jolly at 1/7. The draw trades at 25/1.
Callum Smith - ready and willing to step up
Callum Smith is another Brit holding a version of the world title and he's another with a global fanbase. The 30-year-old from Liverpool has won each of his previous 27 outings, dealing with 19 of those opponents inside the distance, many with a good bit to spare. Smith is strong, experienced, progressive and big for the weight. So much so, he could move up to light heavy if the main players at super middle continue to avoid him.
Part of a hugely successful boxing family, Callum was picked out as the one to watch from early on in his career. He stopped George Groves in seven rounds to win the Super Series back in 2018 and was last seen edging out John Ryder on a contentious points decision at the Echo Arena. It seems Callum needs the big fights to bring the best out of him.
If Saunders doesn't get the shot against Canelo next time out, the possibility is there for Mundo to be drafted in. Another match that would cause real excitement in boxing. Once again, the Englishman would be second favourite but the betting odds suggest Callum has a better chance of beating Alvarez than Billy Joe. Smith is priced at 5/2, Alvarez a 3/10 poke and the draw 22/1.
Josh Warrington - there's more to come
The fighting pride of Leeds, Josh Warrington's fanbase multiplies with the passing of each fight and every win. The 29-year-old is IBF featherweight world champion with his card detailing 30-0-0. The Leeds Warrior has a lowly 23% stoppage rate but much prefers to let his boxing ability do the talking. He can punch, move, defend, jab, out-work and out-think opponents. Warrington seems to be a genuine all-rounder who is good enough to go on and dominate the division.
His recent form is nothing short of stunning. Making a habit of upsetting the odds, Josh beat Lee Selby in 2018 before improving to out-point Carl Frampton next time out. Since then, Warrington has picked up important wins over bitter rival Kid Galahad and, most recently, Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht. The latter was beaten into submission inside two rounds. Warrington is ranked number one in the world and is expected to meet number four Can Xu of China as soon as possible.