Boxing rankings: The Independent’s pound-for-pound list of fighters

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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The boxing landscape is arguably as intriguing as it’s ever been.

The past few years have seen heavyweight for the ages epics between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, they’ve seen Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establish itself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans, and they’ve seen frequent displays of technical genius. champions in the lighter weight classes.

There have been upsets, title unifications and drama aplenty – Anthony Joshua’s losses to Andy Ruiz Jr and Oleksandr Usyk are prime examples.

All these fights and results have been taken into account in The IndependentThe own top 10 male boxers, pound for pound, will be updated monthly.

While there’s no exact science to putting together lists like this, a number of factors were considered in coming up with the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record , its level of activity and the caliber of the opposition.

The Independent’s pound-for-pound ranking

10. Dmitri Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs)

Dmitry Bivol edged out Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for a stunning win

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Entered our list in May 2022, following his superb victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The Russian went undefeated and retained the WBA light heavyweight title with this result, which he achieved by fighting on the front foot, choosing his shots wisely and nearly doubling his opponent’s output. Bivol, 31, won by two points on all three judges’ scorecards, although the margins should have been much wider. A clinical display that hugely raises the profile of the Russian and likely sets up a rematch with Canelo down the line. But first, Bivol must overtake undefeated Gilberto Ramirez in November.

9. Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs)

Shakur Stevenson (right) dismantled Oscar Valdez last time out

(Getty Pictures)

The undefeated American entered our list following his clinic against Oscar Valdez at the end of April. Stevenson picked up a unanimous decision victory over the Mexican, retaining the WBC and WBO super featherweight titles. At just 25 years old, the best is still ahead of Stevenson, who will surely only climb our rankings.

8. Vasiliy Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs)

Vasiliy Lomachenko edged out Richard Commey in his last fight

(Getty Pictures)

Was somewhat surprisingly beaten by our former No. 10, Teofimo Lopez, but the 34-year-old bounced back with two straight wins – the latest against Richard Commey – to maintain his status as one of the best boxers in the world . The Ukrainian southpaw (one of two on this list…) beat Jorge Linares in 2018 to become WBA lightweight champion and three-weight title holder, before adding other belts with notable wins over Luke Campbell and Jose Pedraza.

7. Juan Francisco Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs)

Juan Francisco Estrada celebrates a 2017 win over Carlos Cuadras

(Getty Pictures)

The diminutive Mexican is a two-weight world champion, having secured the WBA super flyweight title with his split decision win over Roman Gonzalez in March 2021. The victory saw Estrada, 32, avenge a 2012 loss by “ Chocolatito’, but his narrow nature meant the former rivals had to pull themselves together in March, until Estrada had to pull out due to Covid symptoms. Estrada has since edged out Argi Cortes, and his trilogy bout with “Chocolatito” is set to take place in December. Either way, Estrada’s creative use of angles is one of its most notable attributes, making it a fun watch every time.

6. Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs)

Tyson Fury after stopping Deontay Wilder again in 2021 heavyweight epic

(Getty Pictures)

Eclipsed Anthony Joshua as the household name in British boxing. Fury, 34, returned to the sport in 2018 after a three-year absence due to a long struggle with his mental health. Since then, he has established himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, dethroning Deontay Wilder to become WBC champion in the pair’s 2020 rematch, after drawing a controversial draw with the American in of their first meeting, in 2018.

Last October, Fury stopped Wilder for the second straight fight to retain the belt, which he did again in April by knocking out Dillian Whyte with ease after taking out the countryman for most of six rounds. A creative fighter who has shown remarkable resilience and heart in the ring, Fury previously held the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles and seems destined to regain them and reign as the undisputed champion in the future. .

5. Errol Spence Jr (28-0, 22 KOs)

Errol Spence Jr leaves AT&T Stadium with another welterweight belt

(Getty Pictures)

The American hasn’t been the most active fighter in recent years, but he’s slowly built up a nice resume. Spence Jr holds impressive wins over Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia and Carlos Ocampo. The southpaw stopped the latter, while notably finishing Kell Brook on the Briton’s pitch earlier in his career, and a canceled clash with Manny Pacquiao would surely have further strengthened Spence had it materialized.

Last time out, the 32-year-old beat Yordenis Ugas by brutalizing the Cuban’s eye, reclaiming another welterweight belt and increasing our ranking in the process. If he can increase his activity, Spence will likely only continue to climb here, especially if a long-awaited meeting with Terence Crawford materializes and Spence can win…

4. Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs)

Terence Crawford stopped Shawn Porter in his last fight

(AP)

The WBO welterweight champion has one of the most impressive resumes in the sport, and he just keeps getting better. Four of the American’s last seven opponents were undefeated before facing him, and all seven were stopped by Crawford – who has a huge number of knockout and TKO wins under his belt. Victories over marquee boxers Kell Brook and Shawn Porter in Crawford’s last two outings have further raised the 34-year-old’s profile, particularly his win over the latter last time out.

3. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs)

Saul Alvarez after his stoppage win over Caleb Plant last November

(AP)

In the nine years since his loss to Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican has established himself as the face of boxing, with wins over Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders and many others. The efficiency of the 32-year-old’s counter kicks, the finesse of his head movement and the beauty of his body work make him a pleasure to watch.

Detractors will point to Alvarez’s 2018 clenbuterol controversy and the fact that a few of his wins came via controversial scorecards. Fans will give more credit to Canelo’s admirable level of activity and the sheer number of formidable foes he has fought and beaten. His three wins in 2021 – all stoppages – ultimately saw him become boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion. A four-weight class titleholder, the Mexican failed to add a second lightweight title to his collection when he was edged out by undefeated Russian Bivol in May 2022.

The result, which surprised a number of fans, marked just the second defeat of Canelo’s professional career and saw him drop from No. 1 on our list to No. 4. He bounced back with a victory decisive on points against his aging rival Golovkin, although this result turned out to be little. at this point and only sees him climbing one spot here. The ambitious Mexican is expected to opt for the rematch with Bivol soon.

2. Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs)

Oleksandr Usyk (left) has outclassed Anthony Joshua twice in a row

(Getty Pictures)

Was the only undisputed cruiserweight champion of the four-belt era before moving up to heavyweight, where he became WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion in 2021 by edging out Anthony Joshua with relative ease. The 35-year-old Ukrainian is undefeated and recently beat Joshua on points for a second time to retain his heavyweight titles and move up two spots here. The Olympic gold medalist southpaw is as technical and clumsy as he is at the heavier weight classes, making a possible matchup with Fury an intriguing prospect down the line.

1. Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs)

Naoya Inoue (left) stopped Nonito Donaire in the duo’s June rematch

(AFP via Getty Images)

One of the lesser-known names on this list for more casual fans, the Japanese has no shortage of prowess which he may lack in profile.

Inoue has the best save percentage of any fighter on this list, which makes him such an exciting fighter to watch – along with his effortless evasion, brutal body attacks, and fearsome exit level. More recently, ‘Monster’ lived up to his moniker once again when he eviscerated Nonito Donaire in a rematch in June after narrowly outplaying the Filipino in his first fight. With this second victory over Donaire, Inoue added the WBC belt to his collection of bantamweight titles, and he also climbed to the top of this list from No. 5.

At 29, the WBA, WBC and IBF titleholder – who also held gold in two other weight classes – still has a lot to do.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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