5 British Fighters Who Need to Fight Tougher Opponents in 2014

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5 British Fighters Who Need to Fight Tougher Opponents in 2014
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Moving a fighter up through the ranks is more of an art than a science. Even one defeat can be disproportionately harmful to a boxer's career so it's no surprise than promoters err on the side of caution.

Early in a career it is important to be exposed to different styles of fighter and to build a well of experience that can be drawn upon in tougher contests further up the ranks.

Even so, there is only so much patience fans have before they start losing interest and, ultimately, the only way to become a world-class fighter is to fight at world-class level.

No doubt this time last year there were calls for David Price to move up in class but those calls were not mistaken—what went wrong was that Price went from fighting guys 50th in the world to a top-15 fighter in Tony Thompson, without first facing a couple of guys 30th or 25th in the world as a bridge.

One British fighter who has already accepted a big challenge for 2014 is Ricky Burns (pictured). He defends his WBO lightweight title against unbeaten American Terence Crawford on March 1.

Crawford is arguably the first truly world-class opponent Burns has faced, and the Scotsman is the betting underdog, a very unusual circumstance for a British world-title holder defending on home soil.

Having nominally been a world champion since 2010, it is long overdue that Burns fight a top contender. Here are five more British fighters who need to make a leap forward in their careers this year.

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