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ESPN UK's pound-for-pound rankings: Joshua trails Brook and Frampton

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Carl Frampton wouldn't mind seeing McGregor in the boxing ring (1:26)

WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton knows that Conor McGregor may be talking about a move to boxing just to spite the UFC, but would be open to seeing McGregor in the ring and admits that it'll bring star power to the sport. (1:26)

Great Britain enjoyed a good 2016 in the world of boxing, with Carl Frampton, ESPN's global fighter of the year, deserving of individual mention.

Tyson Fury, who began 2016 as British No. 1, endured less predictable fortunes, and Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr and David Haye, may all be relishing the prospect of 2017 more than the memory of last year.

But who were Britain's best boxers in 2016 in ESPN's latest pound-for-pound ratings? Read on on to find out ...

1. Carl Frampton

Record: 23-0, 14 KOs

Accolades: WBA world featherweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 5th

Carl Frampton conquered two weight divisions away from his home city of Belfast in a brilliant year, rising from No. 5 in our British P4P rankings a year ago after two career-defining wins.

First, he dominated in a points win over rival Scott Quigg last February to unify the world super-bantamweight titles. Then, rather than defend his WBA and IBF belts, Frampton stepped up a division to win a majority decision over Leo Santa Cruz in New York last July.

He was brilliant in spells against the Mexican, picking off the three-weight world champion with his fast flurries of punches.

Frampton staggered Santa Cruz in the second round, withstood moments of the fight when it turned into a slugfest and his tactics were spot on in the best performance of his career.

Frampton, 30 in February, is a huge star in his Northern Ireland homeland, but he is also now one of Britain's best-known boxers. He has another world title unification fight coming up, but another victory over Santa Cruz on Jan. 28 would further set him apart from the rest.

2. James DeGale

Record: 23-1, 14 KOs

Accolades: IBF world super-middleweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 2nd

With Tyson Fury inactive, James DeGale has risen a place without throwing a punch. However, other than Frampton, no other Briton is as widely regarded as the No. 1 in his division other than the IBF super-middleweight champion.

DeGale must beat WBC title-holder Badou Jack in a unification fight in New York on Jan. 14 to decide the division's undisputed No. 1, but DeGale will have to do more to dislodge Frampton in the P4P table.

His profile in the UK has dipped since becoming world champion, with his last three fights taking place in North America. He also boxed only once in 2016 -- a unanimous and unspectacular points win against Rogelio Medina -- but big bouts beckon should he defeat U.S.-based Swede Jack, starting with a homecoming fight against British rival Callum Smith.

3. Kell Brook

Record: 36-1, 25 KOs

Accolades: IBF world welterweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 3rd

Kell Brook made a bold move to step up two weight divisions to challenge the world's best middleweight, but was stopped in the fifth round by Gennady Golovkin on Sep. 10. The Sheffield boxer had some success against Golovkin and his stock rose despite defeat, setting him up for more big fights.

Disappointingly, but through no fault of Brook's, a clash against British welterweight rival Amir Khan did not happen in the summer after a third low-key defence of his IBF world title against Kevin Bizier last March. Both Brook and Khan are now saying the fight could happen later in 2017.

Brook has decided to stay at welterweight, the weight at which he is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN divisional rankings. He has a tough fight next against his mandatory challenger, the American Errol Spence Jr. (21-0), after recovering from surgery to mend a broken right orbital bone suffered against Golovkin.

4. Anthony Joshua

Record: 18-0, 18 KOs

Accolades: IBF world heavyweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 8th

Anthony Joshua has knocked out all in his path and is slowly climbing our P4P British rankings. Victory over Wladimir Klitschko on April 29 would see him close in on top spot after another year of progress.

Joshua is yet to face a really big test, but former long-term champion Klitschko will provide just that. The 2012 Olympic gold medallist, who is based in north London, won the IBF world heavyweight title from American Charles Martin in just two rounds last April.

The Briton then claimed he was suffering from an illness in the build-up to a seventh round win against American Dominic Breazeale in June. Another U.S. fighter, Eric Molina, was then blitzed by big-hitting Joshua in three rounds on Dec. 10. It has all looked easy for Joshua so far, but harder tests beckon.

5. Terry Flanagan

Record: 32-0, 13 KOs

Accolades: WBO world lightweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 11th

Three wins this year have consolidated Terry Flanagan's position as one of Britain's best boxers, but to rise higher in our P4P rankings the Manchester boxer needs to be involved in more significant fights against rival world champions.

The chances of a bout with fellow Manchester boxer Anthony Crolla have receded thanks to promotional differences, and Crolla is now without a world title.

Flanagan finished off 2016 by stopping Orlando Cruz in the eighth round, having secured points wins over Derry Mathews and Mzonke Fan.

If he can beat mandatory challenger Felix Verdejo, of Puerto Rico, later in 2017, Flanagan could pack a better P4P punch.

6. Tony Bellew

Record: 27-2-1, 17 KOs

Accolades: WBC world cruiserweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 15th

Tony Bellew got what he wanted after stopping BJ Flores in a first defence of the WBC world cruiserweight title last October.

The Liverpool boxer goaded David Haye from ringside and now the pair are due to meet in a non-title heavyweight bout in London on March 4.

Bellew looks a different fighter at cruiserweight and is on the rise in our rankings. American Flores was dropped four times as Bellew blasted him out in three rounds -- and that followed a stunning knockout of Ilunga Makabu in the third round for the vacant belt last May.

Bellew has more to do at cruiserweight to dominate, and will start as the betting underdog against Haye, but no one can deny last year's success.

7. Lee Selby

Record: 23-1, 8 KOs

Accolades: IBF world featherweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 6th

It has been a disappointing year for Lee Selby, who is a rival world featherweight champion to Carl Frampton but has yet to be involved in the big fights in the way the Northern Irishman has.

Disappointingly, Selby boxed just once in 2016, last April, and the Welshman had to get off the canvas to complete his second IBF title defence against Eric Hunter.

His slick boxing ensured he dominated Hunter after the early scare to win unanimously on points, however, and he is due to make a third defence against Argentine Jonathan Victor Barros on the undercard of Frampton-Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on Jan 28.

Since both Frampton and Selby's careers are guided by Al Haymon, a match-up in 2017, if they are both victorious in Vegas, could be on the cards.

8. Jamie McDonnell

Record: 28-2-1, 13 KOs

Accolades: WBA world bantamweight champion

Start of 2016 ranking: 7th

Many thought Jamie McDonnell was fortunate to hold on to his WBA world bantamweight title after a points decision against Venezuela's Liborio Solis in Monte Carlo last November.

Maybe McDonnell had outgrown the weight division. If he stays at bantamweight a fight against American Rau'shee Warren, who holds the more prestigious version of the WBA title, will be next.

McDonnell stopped Fernando Vargas in the ninth round in London last June for his seventh world title fight win since 2013. Two of those wins have been in the U.S. and he is unbeaten since losing on points to Lee Haskins in 2008.

McDonnell has won IBF and WBA world titles and he only missed out on the WBO belt because Tomoki Kameda was forced to vacate it before losing twice to the Yorkshireman.

9. Anthony Crolla

Record: 31-5-3, 13 KOs

Classification: Lightweight contender

Start of 2016 ranking: 10th

Anthony Crolla has dropped four places in our latest P4P rankings after he lost his WBA belt to the division's No. 1, Jorge Linares, last September.

But Crolla can gain ground if he wins the rematch, which is set for March 25 in Manchester, after a mixed 2016.

Crolla looked devastating when he stopped Ismael Barroso with a seventh round body-shot last May to set up a clash with Linares, who was coming off a year spent out of action. Venezuelan Linares, a three-weight world champion, deserved a hard-fought points decision on Sept 24.

10. Amir Khan

Record: (31-4, 19 KOs)

Classification: Welterweight Contender

Start of 2016 ranking: 4th

Despite boxing just once in 2016 -- and that a sixth round knockout defeat -- Amir Khan just about retains his place in our top-10 P4P rankings.

Khan says 2017 will bring big fights against the winner of the welterweight title unification clash between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman, or against British rival Kell Brook. Khan has not held a world title since 2011 but he is still more well known in the UK than most of the country's current world champions.

Khan jumped up two weight divisions to challenge Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez for his WBC middleweight title in one of boxing's biggest fights of 2016, last May, and was doing well early on before he got knocked out in the sixth round.

Khan, who missed out on megafights against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, showed against Canelo he still has speed and movement. Khan has recovered from hand surgery and is due to make a ring return in April.

Those who didn't make the cut...

Tyson Fury is missing from our latest list as he did not box last year after relinquishing his world heavyweight titles and taking a break from boxing due to mental health problems.

Others, such as Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr, also dropped places due to performances in the ring or decisions out of it on who not to fight.

Some have slipped places after losing belts or producing disappointing displays, while others like David Haye have not boxed enough against top-ranked opponents to earn a place in our top 10 yet.

Here's the rest of the top 20:

11. George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs), super-middleweight contender

12. Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs), super-middleweight contender

13. Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs), WBA world super-lightweight champion

14. Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs), WBA world light-heavyweight champion

15. David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs), heavyweight contender

16. Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs), WBO world middleweight champion

17. Lee Haskins (34-3, 14 KOs), IBF world bantamweight champion

18. Kal Yafai (21-0, 14 KOs), WBA world super-flyweight champion

19. Scott Quigg (32-1-2, 24 KOs), super-bantamweight contender

20. Chris Eubank Jr (23-1, 18 KOs), super-middleweight contender.