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Boxing Social Asks: Who Is The Best Featherweight In The World?

Over the last two weekends the featherweight division has witnessed some changes.

Britain’s Leigh Wood caused an upset stopping what was a predicted unstoppable charge of Xu Can in the 12th round of their WBA Regular title fight. It was an impressive performance which particularly showcased the improvements that Wood has made under new trainer Ben Davison.

On Saturday night Kid Galahad finally got his hands on the IBF featherweight title. The Sheffield slickster could count himself unlucky when losing a split decision to Josh Warrington in June 2019 but turned on a career best display at the weekend. The 31-year-old impressively broke down the valiant challenge of Jazza Dickens to become a major player in the 126lb division.

Boxing Social then decided it was time to pose a question to three of our writers. Who is the best featherweight in the world?

Luke G. Williams

“The ultra-talented Gary Russell Jr for me should be the best featherweight in the world, but he is also one of the most infuriating fighters in the business. Having fought just six times now in seven and a half years – and not at all since February 2020 – I’m not going to consider him due to a level of inactivity which is – even by modern standards – ridiculous. I’d probably give the top spot to Emanuel Navarrete just ahead of Kid Galahad. I love the fact the Mexican fought three times last year and he’s a tough customer. However, Galahad showed on Saturday night that when he’s aggressive he is a force to be reckoned with and should fear no one. Here’s hoping we see a few fights involving any combination of Galahad, Josh Warrington, Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara, with whoever proves top dog from among that quartet facing off against Navarrete or even the elusive Mr Russell sometime at the end of next year.”

Mark Butcher

“Gary Russell Jr is the number one featherweight in the world. I think he’d be a fixture in the pound-for-pound Top 10, if not for his maddening inactivity. His speed and skillset are exceptional. But Kid Galahad will give any 126-pounder nightmares. He’s awkward, skilful, strong with a granite chin. He can mix it with the best.”

John A. MacDonald

“When Gary Russell Jr returns to civilisation for his annual title defence, he will once again be considered the best featherweight in the world. Having not fought for 18 months, with no fight scheduled and chasing a bout with Tank Davis, who fights at between 130-140lbs, I’m going to leave him out of the discussion at present. I think on résumé, Emanuel Navarette is the top featherweight, just now. On the eye test however, Kid Galahad has looked very impressive in his last two bouts. Hopefully, some meaningful fights can happen in the next year to determine who is number one.”

Image credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing