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I must state right away that this is not my pound for pound list, nor is this in order from top to bottom. It’s just a list in random order of fighters we feel are the most entertaining to watch, and bring boxing enjoyment to the millions.
There is many fighters at the moment that are at the forefront of boxing for the wrong reasons. Masters of self promotion and egotistical maniacs make for exciting media attention but can’t quite back it up when they lace up the gloves.
The sport of boxing doesn’t mean anything if you can’t perform in the ring and bring entertainment to the squared circle. So this list won’t include your nightclub boxing celebrities, it will just be a list of the fighters I feel can guarantee you some “edge of your seat” type entertainment.
Photo Credit – (@12rounds.ca)
Denis Lebedev – WBA Super World Cruiserweight Champion 29-3 (22ko’s)
One of my favourite action packed fighters is Russian brawler Denis Lebedev. The 37-year-old cruiserweight is renowned for brutality and always pushes his opponents to the edge, leaving no room for mistakes as the seasoned veteran will exploit any mans weak points.
Standing 5ft11 tall, Lebedev isn’t the tallest of fighters that campaign at his division, however his short and stocky figure forces him to rough you up on the inside and he would be happy to fight in a telephone box.
In his entire career, Lebedev has only lost three times. Marco Huck in 2010, Guillermo Jones in 2013 and Murat Gassiev in 2016. Despite losing to Gassiev at the back-end of last year, the WBA did not sanction their belt in that fight and he lost his IBF title.
Lebedev has been involved in some memorable moments since turning professional. Two of my favourites would be the time he knocked out Roy Jones Jr in the final 20 seconds of their final round, but continued to punch him whilst Jones Jr was unconscious up against the ropes. The controversy made for exciting viewing, but one of Lebedev’s iconic moments would be in 2013.
He lost his WBA cruiserweight title against Guillermo Jones in the 11th round. There was huge questions of corruption and max fixing in this fight as the eye injuries Lebedev suffered were so bad, the referee continued to allow the fight to continue.
Lebedev was controversially up on the cards at the time despite taking an unholy amount of damage to his face and it seemed the referee refrained from cancelling the fight as he felt Lebedev would win had the fight gone the distance.
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Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26ko’s)
Another Russian fighter that brings huge excitement is former unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The 33-year-old nicknamed “Krusher” has become one of boxing’s pound for pound kings over recent years, and a very feared man.
Kovalev recently suffered his first loss in a boxing ring when he faced former super middleweight unified champion Andre Ward. Losing a narrow 114-113 loss, although many felt Kovalev was on the wrong end of the deal and walked away with an unfair verdict.
The former WBO, WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight champion has some of the top names on his resume and had been a world champion for over 5 years. He is currently negotiating with Andre Ward’s team, trying to set up their rematch in which there was a clause in the contract however Ward’s team seem to be stalling for one reason or another.
In 2011, Kovalev’s power sadly ended the life of one of his opponents as he stopped fellow countrymen Roman Simakov in the 7th round. He later died due to injuries sustained in the fight. With 26 of his 30 wins coming by knockout, Kovalev has devastating power.
Midway through 2016 Kovalev faced Isaac Chilemba in a bout he was expected to win by knockout. The fight went the distance and when questioned why he didn’t seem on top of his game, he revealed instead of training he had been hunting wild bears in Russia with former 7ft giant Nikolai Valuev.
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Gennady Golovkin – IBF, WBC, WBA & IBO Middleweight Champion 37-0 (33ko’)
The undefeated Kazakh superstar is arguably at the peak of his career when it comes to media attention. The last few years have seen Golovkin launch himself into superstardom with every man calling for his name, but many few following through with their wishes to face him.
Golovkin is now 34 years old and hasn’t maybe had the breakthrough he should have yet, although his recent two victories against Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs have seen him generate huge exposure.
Not only has Gennady never been knocked down in his professional career, he has also never been knocked down in an incredible amateur career with a record of 345-5 and his indestructible chin was on show last month when he faced Daniel Jacobs.
With 33 of his 37 wins coming by knockout, there’s no secret why fighters have tried to avoid him. He has caused serious problems to nearly all the fighters he’s faced in his pro ranks and is only one title away from becoming the undisputed middleweight champion if he defeats WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.
The Kazakh trains out of Abel Sanchez’ Summit Gym in Big Bear and feels the altitude that he trains him enables him to overcome any fighter. There is many rumors of the fighters that Golovkin has knocked out in sparring, one of them being Sergey Kovalev.
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Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion 38-0 (37ko’s)
Known as “The Bronze Bomber” after his Bronze medal for USA in the Olympics, Deontay Wilder has marked up the most incredible KO ratio with only 1 of his 38 opponents going the distance.
Despite the level of opposition he has faced is very low, you can guarantee excitement when you watch Wilder fight. There is question surround his boxing ability and lack of movement, although there is no question over the power he has in his right hand.
The 6ft7 fighter has been a big draw in his home town of Alabama for a while now but is yet to have his career defining fight. He is obviously being protected by his advisor Al Haymon whilst they wait for a big fight to open up, however in today’s string of heavyweight boxers, you can see him getting out boxed.
However you can’t take away the power he holds, which is one of the reason’s I think he is one of the most entertaining fighters out there. You can guarantee someone is getting knocked out!
Photo Credit – (@BoxingNews)
Anthony Joshua – IBF Heavyweight Champion 18-0 (18ko’s)
Love him or hate him, respect his record or question his record, inside the ring he is an entertaining fighter. I’m on the side of the fence that isn’t yet convinced of Joshua’s elite level status, but he has certainly been promoted in the right way.
Winning the title in just his 16th fight, Joshua had already become a super star after defeating Dillian Whyte in an all British heavyweight showdown in 2015, scoring huge pay per view numbers and announcing himself as one of the new household names.
Despite having 100% knockout ratio on his record, the level of opponents he have faced have yet to test him, so I can’t yet praise Joshua’s boxing ability till we see someone stick it on him and fire something back. Which we are all expecting Wladimir Klitschko to do next month on April 29th.
If AJ comes through this, you can see him in either two ways. Unifying the division and becoming one of boxing’s biggest world stars. Or option two, his promoter will carry on protecting him and he will make routine defences against the likes of Andy Ruiz Jr or a rematch with Dillian Whyte. I’m hoping for the first option!
Photo Credit – (@TheBoxingObserver)
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – WBO Light Middleweight Champion – 48-1-1 (34ko’s)
Canelo Alavarez is currently the biggest draw in boxing by a mile. He draws the biggest pay per view numbers, the biggest crowds and the biggest criticism. Canelo has been a professional since the age of 15, and is already a multi-time world champion.
Promoted and protected by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo has seen a huge dent in his fan base over the last year as he continues to avoid world level fighters, and instead opting to fight lower level of opposition whilst bending the rules.
Canelo will face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in May at a catchweight of 164.5lbs and he will hold the record the most catchweights in boxing of all time. This just demonstrates the bargaining power that Canelo has as he continues to fight at whatever weight he desires.
This being said Canelo is always entertaining to watch. You can however guarantee that unless you knock him out, you will not possibly win on the scorecards. He is the most protected fighter of our generation.
Photo Credit – (@SkySports)
Guillermo Rigondeaux – WBA Super & Lineal Super Bantamweight Champion 17-0 (11ko’s)
This little Cuban has to be one of my favourite technical boxers in the sport today. Finishing his amateur career with an incredible record of 475-12 and over 10 gold medals representing Cuba throughout his time, he is a wizard in the ring.
He turned professional late on as he was already 29 when he decided to campaign in the paid ranks, although he was instantly a fighter to keep your eye on. Becoming an interim champion after just 7 fights and the full champion in 9 fights, Rigondeaux set himself up for a huge show down with long reigning champion Nonito Donaire.
Donaire had been on a 31 fight undefeated winning stream at this point and held both the WBO, WBA, Ring and Lineal titles at the time when he faced the Cuban amateur sensation. Rigondeaux put on a masterclass and defeated Donaire who was at the time one of Bob Arums’ Top Rank Promotions biggest draws.
Rigo has not fought back in Cuba since he turned professional in 2009 as a previous dispute with former leader Fidel Castro meant Rigo was unable to return to Cuba. In 2016 he came over to British shores and faced young hopeful Brit Jazza Dickens, breaking his jaw in the second round.
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Mikey Garcia – WBC World Lightweight Champion 36-0 (30ko’s)
Undefeated three weight world champion Mikey Garcia is another fight I look forward to watching. He has come back from a two-year hiatus from the sport and picked up where he left off.
Garcia has a very strong resume and record of fighters on there, and with 30 of his 36 fights being won by a knockout, he has shown why he is a three weight world champion. Garcia has always been a promising talent and could have gone straight to the top of boxing if it wasn’t for his time out for personal reasons in 2014.
He currently campaigns at lightweight and we saw him capture the WBC title when he knocked out undefeated holder at the time, Dejan Zlaticanin in three rounds in what could possibly be one of the most ruthless knockouts you will see this year.
Mikey is now linked to a fight with WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine champion Jorge Linares in what would be a fight for the boxing purists. Either way, Garcia is extremely entertaining to watch and is expected to rise to the top of the pound for pound list very soon.
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Vasyl Lomachenko – WBO Super Featherweight Champion 7-1 (5ko’s)
This little Ukrainian wizard nicknamed “Hi-Tech” is one of the most technically gifted fighters, if not the number one gifted fighter on the planet. With an amateur record of 396-1, he has always been a fighter that people have known about.
He only turned professional in 2013 and fought for a world title in just two fights. He became a world champion in his third fight and after successfully defending it three times, he moved up to become a two weight world champion in just 7 fights.
He is on a four fight knockout streak with two impressive wins over his last two opponents, Roman Martinez and undefeated Nicholas Walters. Lomachenko is thought to be the next heir to Mayweather’s throne of being boxing’s number one and he will be defending his title against Jason Sosa next week.
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Terence Crawford – WBC, WBO, Ring & Lineal Super Lightweight Champion 30-0 (21ko’s)
This undefeated American is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Arguably one of the top contenders on the world scene, the number one star in his division, the power and the ability to clean up everyone he faces, however he is in a division with not a lot of competition.
Many have been hoping Crawford would either bring up Mikey Garcia from 135lbs to fight him, or that he will eventually move up in hope of unifying the division up at welterweight. He will be facing Felix Diaz on the 20th April at Madison Square Garden.
There seems to be nobody who is close to Terence Crawford in his division with the only other champion at 140lbs being Ricky Burns (An opponent Crawford has already beaten) and Julius Indongo. A relatively unknown entity that people expect Burns to beat.
Photo Credit – (@TheMirror)
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez 46-1 (36ko’s)
Standing just 5ft3 inches and weighing roughly 115lbs, this little man has been at the top of boxing for some time now. He suffered his first loss last month when his 46 fight undefeated streak had ended, but that doesn’t take away what he did before that.
Roman Gonzalez is without a doubt one of the most incredible and entertaining fighters over the last few years. A four weight world champion and only aged 29, this Nicaraguan superstar has continued to shine even in his defeat he was impressive, with some even having him the winner.
Gonzalez has never ducked anyone and has a resume of world-class opponents that he continued to defeat. Names such as Edgar Sosa, McWilliams Arroyo and Carlos Cuadras on his recent list of impressive wins, Gonzalez is already a future hall of fame fighter.
Starting at light flyweight, then moving down to minimum-weight, the smallest division in boxing you can be, he has managed to grow into super flyweight over years gone by but he continued to be part of tougher wars each time and his recent opponent Srisaket Sor Rungvasai just seemed one step too far.
Nevertheless, the rematch seems to be on its way and this tiny superstar will always be boxing fans top handful of fighters to watch. The most action packed guy I’ve seen in a long time.
Photo Credit – (@RoundByRoundBoxing)
Gervonta Davis – IBF Super Featherweight Champion 17-0 (16ko’s)
Possibly one of the biggest young prospects in world boxing, 22-year-old Gervonta Davis has already become a world champion after upsetting the odds and knocking out undefeated holder at the time, Jose Pedraza.
Davis turned professional in 2013 aged 18 and won 6 fights that year alone, all by knockout. He is promoted by Floyd Mayweather and you can see the amount of time and care Money Mayweather is putting into his latest protegé.
The young fighter is said to be from a broken home and has made public of his troubles growing up as a kid. He seems to have come up the hard way and has suffered years of trauma as a youngster, turning him into the ruthless brawler he is today.
With 16 of his 17 wins coming by knockout, he is another fighter you can watch knowing you are going to get entertainment. He makes his debut on UK shores in the coming months against undefeated hopeful Liam Walsh.
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Naoya Inoue – WBO Super Flyweight 12-0 (10ko’s)
This 23-year-old nicknamed “The Monster” was given this alias after he announced himself on the pro ranks and caused destruction. Becoming a two weight world champion after just 8 fights and aged 20 whilst doing so, he drew massive exposure.
He was supposed to be fighting Roman Gonzalez providing Gonzalez had come through his test against Srisaket, however since that went pair-shaped he has hinted at moving up to bantamweight.
Inoue has devastating power and has shown this time and time again, the only problem for him is being such a small fighter, he doesn’t bring the crowds and the exposure that he deserves. He fights out of Japan where the money is rumoured to be incredible out there for these world level fighters.
Had Gonzalez of remained undefeated, a bout against Roman Gonzalez would have been the number two fight in world boxing, closely behind Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez.
Photo Credit – (@BoxingScene)
Oscar Valdez – WBO Featherweight Champion 21-0 (19ko’s)
This young Mexican has been a promising star ever since he turned professional back in 2012. Only going the distance twice in his career, he earned himself a world title shot in 2016 against unbeaten Matias Rueda, stopping him in the second round.
Valdez campaigns in a very competitive career with the other world title holders being Gary Russell Jr, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Marez and Lee Selby. Of all those names, Valdez seems to be the fighter being called out the least, probably due to his knockout ratio.
He fights the number one ranked fighter in the WBO rankings next month, making the second defence of his title against Colombian heavy-hitter Miguel Marriaga. The Colombian boasts a record of 25-1 (21ko’s) so you can guarantee someone is getting knocked out.
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Manny Pacquiao – WBO Welterweight Champion 56-6-2 (38ko’s)
The last fighter left out of the boxing golden era, Pacquiao continues you impress as his incredible boxing career continues on. He has already previously retired but has come back to the ring after a 7 month spell out to focus on his political career, but bounced back with an immediate title win.
The 38-year-old Filipino has one of the most succesful and incredible boxing stories with some of the best and biggest names on his record. Pacman is the second richest boxer of all time and drew the biggest pay per view numbers in history when he faced Floyd Mayweather.
If you look at Pacman’s record, he has fought world level opposition back to back since 2006. He currently holds a title in a division of serious talent, Kell Brook and Keith Thurman holding titles at 147lbs also.
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Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 (53ko’s)
Dr Steelhammer will go down in boxing hall of fame as one of the 2000’s all time greatest heavyweight boxers. He had a 10 year undefeated, seeming nobody could touch him until he fought huge underdog Tyson Fury.
Prior to his defeat to Tyson Fury, Wladimir has been a fantastic embassador for the sport of boxing. No trash talking, professional and completely dedicated to the sport. The ideology of boxers coming from a broken home or troubled pasts broke free of Wladimir as he was just a normal man from a normal upbringing.
Both him and his brother Vitali once ruled the division and both were extremely hard-hitting professional fighters. Since Vitali’s retirement, Wladimir has been left on his own to bring success to the K2 heavyweight banner.
He will be facing undefeated IBF champion Anthony Joshua at the end of April and despite being a not so prime age of 41, you can’t write him off. His last fight was a stinker, but you will always pay to watch him!
Photo Credit – (@BoxingScene)
That is a bunch of fighters I feel are boxing’s strong holds. Of course there are fighters that are world champions and are very elite level, but being a big draw outside of the ring when it comes to media attention doesn’t always mean you can back it up in the ring.
I feel all these fighters, whether they have the occasional stinker that blows the place out, will always bring entertainment and will always be fighters you need to watch. Whether you are a boxing purist, or the casual fan that only knows the name of Mike Tyson, these fighters guarantee you an impressive encounter!