The boxing landscape is arguably more fascinating than ever.
In recent years there have been epic heavyweight stories between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establishing himself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans and demonstrations of technical brilliance by lighter weight champions.
There were surprises, unification and drama – Anthony Joshua’s losses to Andy Ruiz Jr. and Oleksandr Usyk being prime examples.
All of those struggles and results have gone into it The Independentis their own top 10 pound-for-pound ranking for men’s boxers, updated monthly.
While there is no exact scientific basis for compiling such lists, a number of factors were taken into account when compiling the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, activity level, and the quality of the opponent.
The Independent’s pound-for-pound rankings
10. Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs)
The petite Mexican is the world twoweight champion after securing the WBA super flyweight title with his split decision win over Roman Gonzalez in March 2021. With that win, 33-year-old Estrada returned the favor for a loss to ‘Chocolatito’ from 2012, but it’s close nature meant the old rivals were forced to face off again in March last year until Estrada retired due to Covid-19 symptoms had to give up. Estrada has since overtaken Argi Cortes and triumphed in his belated trilogy fight with “Chocolatito” in December, winning a close bout by majority decision. His creative use of angles is one of his standout qualities, making him a fun sight to behold every time.
9. Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs)
The Ukrainian southpaw (one of two on this list…) beat Jorge Linares in 2018 to become the defending tripleweight champion before adding more belts with notable wins over the likes of Luke Campbell and Jose Pedraza. “Loma” was somewhat surprisingly beaten by Teofimo Lopez in 2020, but the 35-year-old bounced back with three straight wins and maintained his status as one of the top boxers in the world. The two-time Olympic champion is currently at the end of his career, which only makes his magnificent performance against the next fighter on this list all the more impressive. Lomachenko narrowly missed, but many observers thought he had won.
8. Devin Haney (30-0, 15 knockouts)
The undefeated American joined our list after his second straight win over George Kambosos Jr. Haney clinched a unanimous victory over the Australian at Kambosos’ home ground in June 2022 to become the undisputed lightweight champion before retaining that status in the pair’s rematch in October – also in Melbourne. Before these clashes, Kambosos Jr. was undefeated. At just 24, Haney still has the edge despite learning from his recent bout with Lomachenko in May. It was a fight Haney won, but not without controversy.
7. Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs)
Joined our list in May 2022 following his stunning win over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The Russian went undefeated and with that result retained the WBA light heavyweight title, which he achieved by fighting up front, choosing his shots wisely and nearly doubling his opponent’s power. Bivol, 32, won by two points on all three judges’ lists, when the gaps should have been much wider. A clinical performance that raised the Russian’s profile immensely and is likely to spark a rematch with Canelo down the line. Before that, however, Bivol was tasked with getting past undefeated Gilberto Ramirez in November. Bivol won on points with an aggressive and sharp performance that moved him from ninth to seventh on our list.
6. Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 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 long struggles 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 two’s rematch in 2020 after playing a controversial tie against the American in their first meeting in 2018.
In October 2021, Fury made a second-straight stop for Wilder to retain the belt, which he did again in April by effortlessly KOing Dillian Whyte, and again in December when he late-stopped Derek Chisora. A creative fighter who has demonstrated remarkable resilience and heart in the ring, Fury previously held the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles and was looking to regain them in a fight with Oleksandr Usyk this spring. However, the fight that would have crowned an undisputed heavyweight champion fell through.
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 against players like Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia and Carlos Ocampo. The southpaw stopped the latter, most notably finishing off Kell Brook on the Brit’s home turf early in his career. A canceled duel with Manny Pacquiao would certainly have advanced Spence even further if it had come about.
Last time out, the 33-year-old beat Yordenis Ugas by brutally punching the Cuban in the eye, earning another welterweight belt and climbing our rankings as a result. If he can increase his activity, then Spence will probably only continue to rise here, especially if a long-awaited meeting with Terence Crawford comes about and Spence is able to win …
4. Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs)
The WBO welterweight champion has one of the most impressive resumes in the sport, and it just keeps getting better. Four of the American’s last ten opponents were undefeated prior to their match against him, and all ten were stopped by Crawford, who has a tremendous record of KO and TKO wins. Wins over notable boxers Brook and Porter in 2020 and 2021 further raised the 35-year-old’s profile, particularly his win over the latter before Crawford stopped David Avanesyan in December 2022.
3. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs)
In the 10 years since his loss to Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican has established himself as the face of boxing with notable 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 joy to watch.
Critics will point to Alvarez’s clenbuterol controversy in 2018 and the fact that some of his wins came from controversial scorecards. The fans will believe even more Canelo’s admirable activity and the large number of impressive opponents he has fought and beaten. His three wins in 2021 — all stoppages — eventually made him the first-ever undisputed super middleweight champion. A four-weight division titleholder, the Mexican failed to add a second light heavyweight title to his collection when he was overtaken by undefeated Russian Bivol in May 2022.
That result, which surprised a number of fans, marked only the second loss of Canelo’s professional career and dropped him from No. 1 on our list to No. 4. He bounced back with a crucial points win over aging rival Golovkin, although that result proved little at the time and have only seen him climb a spot here. The ambitious Mexican then defended his super middleweight belt against John Ryder in Guadalajara, dropping the Brit en route to a decision win that keeps him in 3rd place.
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 defeating Anthony Joshua with relative ease. The 36-year-old Ukrainian is undefeated, most recently beating Joshua on points a second time to retain his heavyweight title and move up two places here. The southpaw, an Olympic gold medalist, is as technical and clumsy as can be in the heavier weight classes, making a possible duel with Fury an intriguing prospect – although that fight faltered this spring.
1. Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs)
One of the lesser-known names on this list for casual fans, the Japanese doesn’t lack in skill that he may lack in profile.
Inoue has the best stopping rate of any fighter on this list, which is what makes him such an exciting fighter – along with his effortless dodges, brutal body attacks and frightening level of power. In June, “Monster” lived up to his nickname again by defeating Nonito Donaire in a rematch after narrowly beating the Filipino in the first fight.
With that second win over Donaire, Inoue added the WBC belt to his bantamweight title collection and he also rocketed from No. 5 to the top of that list. The 30-year-old then stopped Paul Butler in the 11th round in December Take the WBO belt and become the undisputed champion – and Asia’s first boxer to hold four world titles in a weight class simultaneously.
The world threeweight champion still has a long way to go including a move to super bantamweight in July where he will challenge unified champion Stephen Fulton.