The boxing landscape is arguably more fascinating than ever.
In recent years there have been heavyweight epics between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, they’ve seen Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establish himself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans and they’ve displayed technical brilliance frequently from champions in lighter weight classes.
There were surprises, title convergences and no shortage of drama – Anthony Joshua’s losses to Andy Ruiz Jr. and Oleksandr Usyk stand out as prime examples.
All these struggles and results have been taken into account The Independent‘s own top 10, pound-for-pound ranking for men’s boxers, updated monthly.
While there is no exact science of compiling lists like these, a number of factors were considered when compiling the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, level of activity and the caliber of the opposition.
The Independent’s pound-for-pound rankings
10. Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs)
Joined our list in May 2022 after his overwhelming victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The Russian went undefeated and retained the WBA light heavyweight title with that result, which he achieved by fighting on the front foot, choosing his shots wisely and nearly doubling his opponent’s power. Bivol, 31, won by two points on all three judges’ scorecards, although the spreads should have been much wider. A clinical show that will raise the Russian’s profile immensely and likely set in motion a rematch with Canelo down the line. First, however, Bivol must get past the undefeated Gilberto Ramirez in November.
9. Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs)
The undefeated American joined our list after training against Oscar Valdez in late April. Stevenson earned a unanimous decision win over the Mexican, retaining the WBC and WBO super featherweight titles. At just 25 years old, the best is still ahead of Stevenson, who is sure to only climb our rankings.
8. Vasiliy Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs)
Was somewhat surprisingly beaten by our former No10, Teofimo Lopez, but the 34-year-old has bounced back with back-to-back wins – most recently 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 the WBA lightweight champion and defending three-weight title before adding more belts with notable wins over Luke Campbell and Jose Pedraza.
7. Juan Francisco Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs)
The diminutive Mexican is a two-weight world champion who won the WBA super flyweight title with his split decision win over Roman Gonzalez in March 2021. With that win, 32-year-old Estrada avenged a 2012 loss to ‘Chocolatito’ but it’s close nature meant the old rivals had to play again this March until Estrada was forced to withdraw due to Covid symptoms. Estrada has since hinted at Argi Cortes, and his trilogy fight with “Chocolatito” is set to take place in December. In any case, Estrada’s creative use of angles is one of its standout attributes, making it a fun watch every time.
6. Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs)
Has eclipsed Anthony Joshua as the household name in British boxing. Fury, 34, returned to the sport in 2018 after a three-year hiatus due to a long battle with his mental health. He has since established himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, dethroning Deontay Wilder to become the WBC champion in the pair’s 2020 rematch after controversially drawing their first clash against the American in 2018.
Last October, Fury stopped Wilder for the second straight fight to retain the belt, which he did again in April, knocking out Dillian Whyte with ease after passing his compatriot for the better part of six rounds. A creative fighter who has demonstrated remarkable resilience and heart in the ring, Fury previously held the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles and appears destined to reclaim them and reign as the undisputed champion in the future.
5. Errol Spence Jr (28-0, 22 KOs)
The American hasn’t been the most active fighter in recent years but he’s slowly been building a good resume. Spence Jr holds impressive wins over Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia and Carlos Ocampo. The southpaw stopped the latter, most notably finishing off Kell Brook on the Briton’s home turf earlier in his career, and a canceled duel with Manny Pacquiao would certainly have set Spence even further if it had come to fruition.
Last time out, the 32-year-old beat Yordenis Ugas by brutalizing the Cuban’s eye, earning another welterweight belt and climbing our rankings in the process. If he can increase his activity, Spence will probably continue to climb only here, especially if a long-awaited meeting with Terence Crawford comes about and Spence can win …
4. Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs)
The WBO welterweight champion has one of the most impressive resumes in the sport and 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 tremendous number of knockout and TKO victories to his name. Victories over well-known boxers Kell Brook and Shawn Porter in Crawford’s last two games 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)
In the nine years since his loss to Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican has established himself as the face of boxing with victories over Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders and many others. The effectiveness of the 32-year-old’s counterattacks, the dexterity of his head movements and the beauty of his bodywork make him a pleasure to watch.
Critics will point to Alvarez’s clenbuterol controversy in 2018 and the fact that some of his wins came over controversial scorecards. Backers will have more faith in Canelo’s admirable activity and the large number of formidable enemies he has fought and defeated. His three wins in 2021 — all stoppages — eventually made him the first undisputed super middleweight boxing champion. As the defending champion in four weight divisions, the Mexican failed to add a second light heavyweight title to his collection when he was surpassed by undefeated Russia’s Bivol in May 2022.
This result, which surprised a number of fans, marked only the second loss of Canelo’s professional career, dropping him from No. 1 in our list to No. 4. He bounced back with a crucial points win over aging rival Golovkin, although that result proved little at the point and sees him climb just a point here. The ambitious Mexican should soon head to a rematch with Bivol.
2. Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs)
Was the only undisputed cruiserweight champion of the four belt era before moving up to heavyweight where he became the 2021 WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion by overtaking Anthony Joshua with relative ease. The 35-year-old Ukrainian is undefeated, most recently beating Joshua on points a second time to retain his heavyweight titles and move up two spots here. The southpaw, an Olympic gold medalist, is as technical and awkward as tends to be in the heavier weight classes, making a possible match-up with Fury an intriguing prospect across the board.
1. Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs)
One of the lesser-known names on this list for casual fans, the Japanese doesn’t lack in skill what he may lack in profile.
Inoue has the best interrupt rate of any fighter on this list, which makes him such an exciting fighter to watch – along with his effortless dodges, brutal body attacks and frightening level of power. Most recently, “Monster” lived up to his nickname again by gutting Nonito Donaire in a rematch in June after narrowly beating the Filipino in his first fight. With this second win over Donaire, Inoue added the WBC belt to his collection of bantamweight titles and also rose from No. 5 to the top of that list.
At 29, the WBA, WBC and IBF title holder, who has also held gold in two other weight classes, still has a long way to go.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/boxing/boxing-rankings-fighters-p4p-list-b2171039.html Box Rankings: The Independent’s pound-for-pound fighter list