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Top 10 Fights in London

Anthony Joshua will meet Wladimir Klitschko in a huge fight in the heavyweight division on April 29th. The fight at Wembley Stadium looks set to smash the records for tickets sold and promises to be one of the biggest nights of boxing ever to take place in the capital. This got us racking our brains here at and below is our list of the Top 10 fights to take place in London.

10. Ricky Hatton v Tony Pep – 2001, Wembley Conference Centre

With plenty of his greatest successes coming across the pond or in his native Manchester his memorable nights in the capital were limited but he will never forget the time he first won a world crown against Tony Pep.Despite ssuffering a nasty cut above his right eye in the second round, Hatton was still able to dispatch of the tough Canadian with relative ease and duly knocked him out in the fourth. It may only have been a WBU title but it propelled the Hitman onto the world stage and on his way to a glittering career.

9. Naseem Hamed v Tom Johnson – 1997, New London Arena

Prince Naseem was a 23-year-old sensation who had already managed to win the WBO featherweight championship but really confirmed his place at the top of the sport when he faced Tom Johnson in 1997.  Johnson was the long reigning IBF champion and the bout between the pair was to unify the division. In his fourth fight in the capital, it ended up being a very easy night's work for Hamed dominated his opponent from the third round onwards and was eventually declared winner after Johnson failed to get back up after a devastating uppercut in the eighth.

8. David Haye v Enzo Maccarinelli – 2008, O2 Arena

It was a huge battle of Britain contest which was set to unite the cruiserweight division in one man’s favour. Despite the fight taking place in London, the two men didn't actually get in to the ring until gone 2am in the morning for the benefiit of an American audience. When things finally got going, it was cagey first round that was followed by an explosive right-hand of Haye to Maccarinelli in the second. The Hayemaker then forced him in to the corner before the fight was stopped as Haye added the WBO belt to his WBA, WBC and Ring titles at the O2.

7. Chris Eubank v Michael Watson – 1991, White Hart Lane

The second meeting between these two came at the home of Tottenham Hotspur and it was to be night that would have devastating consequences for Watson. In the 11th round, he was on the verge of victory given he was ahead on points and knocked Eubank to the canvas. However Eubank got back up and just moments later he connected with a huge uppercut that saw Watson fall back and hit his head on the ropes. Watson then collapsed in the ring in the 12th round and eventually suffered a blood clot due to his injury and spent 40 days in a coma. Despite the tragic cirumstances, it was a career defining fight for Eubank who captured the WBO super-middleweight title for the first time and held on to it for over three years.

6. Carl Froch v George Groves – 2014, Wembley Stadium

Let's set the scene. When these two first met in Manchester the fight between the two ended in controversial circumstances, when in round nine Howard Foster stopped the fight in Froch's favour despite Groves being well ahead on the score card. After the outcry, Froch and Groves agreed to do it all over again in a highly-anticipated rematch at Wembley Stadium. It was the first fight to be held at the national football stadium since it re-opened in 2007 and it did not fail to live up to the hype. As Carl Froch loves to remind everyone, he knocked out Groves in the eighth round in front of a record 80,000 fans.

5. Lewis Lennox v Oliver McCall – 1994, Wembley Arena

These big matches have often gone the way of the home fighter but it didn’t in 1994. In the fourth defence of his WBC world heavyweight title, Lennox Lewis was beaten by Oliver McCall in the second round of their bout at Wembley in what was a major shock. McCall dropped Lewis to the canvas in the second round and although the champion managed to get back to his feet, the fight was stopped and Lewis' unbeatebn start to his career was over. It turned out to be the first of only two losses in his career and a night he would probably rather forget, that is if he hasn’t already.

4. Henry Cooper v Cassius Clay – 1963, Wembley Stadium

Another loss for the home fighter but it is still one that goes down for a success for Our ‘Enry as he became only the second man to put the greatest fighter of all time on the floor. Clay got off the floor and won the fight in the next round but Cooper will always have that glorious moment on his CV. The pair met again three years later at Arsenal's old Highbury Stadium, in which Clay won again but it lacked the drama of the first and does not quite make the cut for this list. Clay would go down in history as one the all-time great sporting icons and his meetings with Cooper were the only time we would seem him do his thing on British soil.

3. Frank Bruno v Oliver McCall – 1995, Wembley Stadium

It was something of a fairy tale when Bruno finally captured a world title at Wembley in September 1995. He took on Oliver McCall at Wembley Satdium as he bid to become the first Brit ever to win the World Heavyweight title on home soil.  This was his fourth shot at a world crown, having previously been denied by Tim Witherspoon, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis although he was not to be denied again. He quickly took charge of proceedings against McCall and despite the American enjoying a late flurry, Bruno held on and the belt was his. He only managed one more fight after but that night in London will always be his greatest.

2. Barry McGuigan v Eusebio Pedroza – 1985, Loftus Road

Only really British via a technicality but we’ll happily claim him after his world championship winning exploits in the mid-80s. The Clones Cyclone faced the formidable task of taking on Eusebio Pedroza of Panama at Loftus Road. Pedroza had not lost in nine years and the fight against McGuigan was quite incredibly, the 20th defence of his title. However it was to be McGuigan's night in West London as he knocked down the champ in the 7th round before ultimately outpointing his opponent in front of a massive 26,000 crowd to capture the WBA featherweight title.

1. Randolph Turpin v Sugar Ray Robinson – 1951, Earls Court Arena

One of the greatest wins for a British boxer of all time came when Randolph Turpin beat Sugar Ray Robinson in July of 1951. Robinson was the middleweight championship of the world and had won his last 37 consecutive fights before coming to defend his title at Earls Court. Turpin claimed an incredible victory on points to cause a major upset and launch himself in to stardom, when even non-boxing fans were engulfed by the euphoria that surrounded his title win.He may have lost the title just two months later to Sugar Ray but the win in London will go down in history.

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