Merseyside is a region famed for the quality of its fighters.
For hundreds of years, Liverpool and its surrounding areas have been birth place to several of England’s great boxers.
But who are the best fighters to have ever come out of the region? And what made them special?
This top five will show off the who I think are the best to ever come out of Merseyside.
Ike Bradley (Record 67-41-7)
Ike Bradley is a legendary figure in the Merseyside boxing scene.
Born in 1884, Bradley fought more than 400 times between 1901 and 1917.
Ike also has the honour of being Liverpool’s first ever fighter to challenge for a world title, when he took on Digger Stanley in 1911.
Stanley was given the decision victory after the mammoth 20-round fighter, and survived a 14 second knockdown in the fourth round before going onto victory.
The 5’2 flyweight at one time held the rank of 8st Champion of Britain, and died at the age of 67, in 1951.
While his win-loss record doesn’t stand up to some of the other names on this list, he deserves a place for longevity and holding some many ‘first ever’s’.
Callum Smith (27-0-0)
The Merseyside super-middleweight is the only boxer on this list who is still competing, which hold’s him back when it comes to ranking him higher.
Smith is the only fighter on this list with an undefeated record, and is currently ranked as the world’s best super-middleweight.
In fact, the 29-year-old is ranked as the seventh best pound for pound boxer who is active today.
19 of Smith’s 27 victories have come via knockout, including in the biggest fight of his career, against George Groves.
Smith knocked Groves out in the seventh round to be crowned crowned World Boxing Super Series champion in September of 2018, in Saudia Arabia.
His most victory came via unanimous decision against John Ryder in November, in front of a home town crowd at Liverpool’s M&S bank arena.
There has been much speculation about who Smith will fight next, but it remains to be seen who he’ll face and where it will take place.
Nel Tarleton (Record 188-21-8)
Widely regarded as on one of Liverpool’s greatest boxers, Tarleton faced more difficulties than mst throught his long career.
Born in January of 1906, Tarleton won his first British Championship aged 25 in 1931.
The fight took place at Anfield in front of more than 30,00 spectators and was the first ever boxing event to take place at the Red’s legendary stadium.
Nel lost the belt a year later, but regained it shortly before the second world war in 1934.
However, 1936, Tarleton was involved in a car crash, and contracted pneumonia in the same year and was forced away from the sport for a few years.
The Liverpool native returned to boxing in 1940, and regained the British title despite his set backs in the late 1930’s.
Due to the war effort, Tarleton was unable to defend his title until 1945.
When he returned to the ring, the now 39-year-old beat Al Phillips on points to win what would prove to be his final fight.
In total, 41 of his quite ridiculous 118 career wins came via knockout.
This type of record, and prolific fighting schedule could never happen today, so Tarleton will likely never lose his title as Merseyside’s winning-est professional fighter.
Nel died in Liverpool aged just 50, in 1956 but has long been rembered and talked about as one of the best.
Tony Bellew (Record 30-3-1)
“The Bomber” is the most recently retired fighter on this list, and perhaps the most well known.
While many will recognise Bellew from his role in the first Creed film, his boxing career wasn’t too bad either.
Fighting over three weight division during his 11-year professional career, he found most of his success at Cruiserweight.
Bellew twice bested long time rival David Haye, held WBC Cruiser-weight championship gold as well as Commonwealth Titles throughout his career among other notable achievements.
Click here if you would like a look at five of Bellew’s finest performances.
Bellew announced his retirement after a loss to an undefeated Oleksandr Usyk in November 2018.
The huge Everton remains well respected in the industry and continues to make TV appearances in the sport.
John Conteh (Record 34-4-1)
It’s been 40 years since the retirement of the legendary John Conteh, and he still remains Liverpool’s most successful boxer.
He isn’t just Merseyside’s most successful boxer though. He was the first man from the region to win a world title.
Conteh made history in October 1974 when he won the WBC light-heavyweight title bu unanimous decision, against Argentinian Jorge Ahumada in the Empire Pool, London.
For more about that fight, click here.
The Empire Pool was also the venue for his first defence of the title against American Lonnie Bennett. He went on to defend the belt a further two times with a defeat over Len Hutchins at Anfield the most noticeable.
The Toxteth native’s final fight was also at Anfield, a stoppage victory against James Dixon in May of 1980.
The 68-year-old was awarded an MBE in 2017 for his service’s to sport, and Callum Smith will have to go some way to surpass Conteh’s greatness.
Tony Bellew hailed Conteh as the greatest to ever come from Merseyside in interview, and who am i to disagree.