Home Boxing The fighters ready to take the next step in every boxing division

The fighters ready to take the next step in every boxing division


There are 17 weight divisions in males’s boxing, and in each there’s a champion decided by every of the 4 main sanctioning our bodies: the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF. A few of these organizations even have a secondary titlist or an interim titlist, and all 4 have rankings in every weight class. Usually, these lists are fairly completely different.

So, who’re the true contenders which might be nonetheless preventing beneath the radar however have the expertise to succeed?

Former two-division world champion and present boxing analyst Timothy Bardley Jr. picked his wild playing cards in every division.

HeavyweightCruiserweightLight heavyweightSuper middleweightMiddleweightJunior middleweightWelterweightJunior welterweightLightweightJunior lightweightFeatherweightJunior featherweightBantamweightJunior bantamweightFlyweightJunior flyweightStrawweight




Jared Anderson knocks out Oleksandr Teslenko in Spherical 2 because the Madison Sq. Backyard crowd watches on.

Jared Anderson, 22: At 6-foot-4, 240 kilos, “The Real Big Baby” is not one of many largest fighters within the division. Tyson Fury (6-9, 275) would tower over him. However Anderson is as agile and fluid in his skills. Anderson (11-0, 11 KOs) is ambidextrous, that means he does not have a weak aspect and might punch laborious with each fingers. Not like most of in the present day’s American heavyweights, Anderson, of Toledo, Ohio, is not a soccer or basketball participant who determined to offer boxing a strive. He is been dwelling, sleeping and consuming boxing since he was a child, honing the ring instincts of a born fighter. Anderson is a middleweight in a heavyweight’s physique. He has the important instruments to take over the division: velocity, energy and, much more vital, the brains to unravel any puzzle contained in the squared circle.

Justin Huni, 22: Have you ever heard of Australia’s Huni? I guess most of you have not. He is transferring at a ferocious tempo by testing his expertise towards undefeated heavyweights from Australia. Once I watched movie on him, the primary phrase that got here to thoughts: rattling! His hand velocity and coordination are wonderful. Huni (5-0, 4 KOs) already understands his strengths, which isn’t all the time the case for a younger fighter. He is acquired full management of the middle of the ring. He’s a searching technician with exact accuracy when making use of his mixtures to the top and physique. Lots of in the present day’s heavyweights lack conditioning and the power to throw mixtures, however not Huni.


Jai Opetaia, 26: I’ve all the time referred to this weight class because the “My growth was stunted” division. Some guys lack peak. Different guys haven’t got the muscle mass to be a heavyweight. However Opetaia (21-0, 17 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, has all of it. He is a southpaw boxer-puncher. He has wonderful technical expertise and nice reflexes. We hear time and time once more the phrase eyes are the window to the soul. Opetaia has excellent imaginative and prescient in terms of throwing correct punches and recognizing incoming fireplace. The best way he strikes out of hurt’s method is almost flawless. His straight left is his kill shot, and his confidence may be very excessive. It nearly looks like a superpower.

Aleksei Papin, 34: Many people have a look at a fighter’s document and write him off due to one minor loss. Do not try this! Papin, of Reutov, Russia, is an orthodox bruiser, a gutty, hard-hitting fighter with a KO mentality. He has massive, robust legs that assist him arrange and ship highly effective pictures, but he is nonetheless nimble sufficient to get out of the way in which if want be. Nice technicians take note of element, comparable to recognizing repetitive mixtures, even punch patterns, or when somebody is out of place and never able to punch. Papin (13-1, 12 KOs) can uncover absolutely anything.

Gentle heavyweights

Joshua Buatsi, 29: Buatsi, of Accra Ghana, is a badass, and the game wants to show its consideration to him now. He is an orthodox fighter who improves every day trip, and because of this, his confidence appears to have opened his thoughts to create unscripted, single-punch, highlight-reel knockouts. His lightning-quick pistol-like jab blinds the imaginative and prescient, making opponents prone to the punching energy in his proper hand. Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) is bodily robust, tall and durable for a lightweight heavyweight standing 6-foot-2. His subsequent step must be studying each side contained in the ring, as he’s now starting to field properly off his back and front ft.

Gilberto Ramirez, 30: Ramirez, of Sinaloa, Mexico, wants no introduction. He’s a former tremendous middleweight champion now campaigning at mild heavyweight. Ramirez (43-0, 29 KOs) is a 6-foot-3 southpaw who has improved drastically on his mechanics and is now using his peak and southpaw stance to his benefit. Combating on the within has by no means been an issue, as he’s recognized for throwing and touchdown piercing physique pictures that may depart any man on the canvas. Toughness is unteachable on this planet of boxing; champions are born and might succeed solely by self-discipline. Ramirez is beneath the radar, ready and in want of a possibility to point out his greatness on this loaded division.

Tremendous middleweight

David Benavidez, 24: At 6-foot-½, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) possesses peak, attain and measurement benefits towards many within the division. He additionally has loads of starvation and is daring and deceiving on the identical time. He isn’t muscular, nor does he have one-punch knockout energy. However Benavidez, of Phoenix, Arizona, has unbelievable hand velocity and an incredible ring IQ when preventing from his proper aspect. He places blazing mixtures collectively and applies relentless strain. As well as, he is proven himself to have a fantastic chin. Benavidez can bodily and mentally break down his opposition when making use of strain. He enjoys staying simply shut sufficient, forcing his opponents to punch at his excessive, tight guard. Greats comparable to Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. used this tactic to suppress the need of rivals. Benavidez needs to take each fighter’s coronary heart anytime he steps foot contained in the ring.

Pavel Silyagin, 28: Silyagin, of Novokuznetsk, Russia, is a technician with surgical capacity and might function seemingly with out visibility, primarily as a result of he depends on the muscle reminiscence collected in his coaching. Silyagin (10-0, 5 KOs) is extremely tactical. His jab is sort of a knife slicing by a stick of butter. He is aware of when to face his floor and when to maneuver and field. He has the instruments to take care of any boxing fashion, making him a harmful opponent for anyone within the tremendous middleweight division.


Janibek Alimkhanuly, 28: A southpaw, Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) is thought for his impeccable timing and counterpunching capacity. The fighter from Kazakhstan incorporates refined lateral motion together with quick-twitch, correct counters after he makes his opponents miss. He is a bit on the technical aspect, a grasp of angles and positioning. With solely 11 fights beneath his belt, he appears to be the true deal. I can not assist however discover his commanding presence, controlling each side of the ring. Alimkhanuly’s capacity to punch in between opponent’s punches is difficult to grasp, as most fighters who do it accomplish that unknowingly. He’s extremely conscious of the vulnerability of a fighter who chooses to throw a punch. He’s just like the Corridor of Fame NFL cornerback Deion Sanders, intercepting punches versus footballs.

Demetrius Andrade, 34: Whereas Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) has been in boxing for a very long time and has been a fixture within the division for years, you’d suppose fighters could be lining up for an opportunity to face him, being a world champion and all. However many look elsewhere when Andrade’s identify comes throughout their desk. The Windfall, Rhode Island, native is far completely different from the remainder — a slickly transferring fighter with Pernell Whitaker-like protection. Though he is not as imply or tenacious as Whitaker was, Andrade depends on focus and a capability to transition from offense to protection and again to firing, making him the final word chess participant. Energy punchers often is the most prevented fighters, however within the boxing world a pure, masterful boxer is essentially the most feared.

Junior middleweight

Tim Tszyu, 27: The son of legend and Corridor of Famer Kostya Tsyu matches the invoice not by being a namesake, however by his steady dominance contained in the ring. Historically, offspring have a bonus, however in some instances, they do not, dwelling within the shadows of their dad and mom’ success. I see Tim’s want and drive. Moreover, he is a tough employee. Tszyu, of Sydney, Australia, is crude however technically sound. He operates from the surface in. His orthodox, upright stance and barely lifted guard, a trademark of his father, permits him to combat at vary and be ready to counter with out dropping a second. Tim’s jab and straight proper cross are his finest weapons. Nonetheless, simplicity goes a great distance in boxing. Fundamentals have gotten misplaced, however Tszyu (20-0, 15 KOs) inherited the cheat code for fulfillment.

Erickson Lubin, 26: “The Hammer” is thought for his persistence, punch placement and cerebral method. He’s a relaxed however ready-to-pounce southpaw. Lubin, of Orlando, Florida, is a positioning specialist who controls house and retains his lead leg outdoors an orthodox opponent more often than not. In doing so, he often comes out untouched after hazardous exchanges. Nonetheless, sometimes Lubin will go towards the standard knowledge of boxing by transferring towards the orthodox proper cross. For instance, he appears to be like to arrange his straight left cross after avoiding an incoming proper cross. Lubin (24-1, 17 KOs) additionally possesses good punching energy, which makes him much more harmful off the counter.


Eimantas Stanionis, 27: The welterweight division is by far the healthiest in boxing. Fighters like Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Jaron Ennis are beginning to make a reputation for themselves and shortly transferring up the rankings, however there are a number of extra names who belong, beginning with Stanionis. The orthodox sensation from Kaunas, Lithuania, by no means shies away from contact. He is a juggernaut, bodily sturdy, constant and never simply deterred. Stanionis’ fashion is appropriate to fight pure boxers, counterpunchers and even some southpaws. Quantity strain fighters like Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) are nice at mounting actual property and making the ring smaller for his or her benefit. He’s relentless in attacking the physique.

Rashidi Ellis, 26: In boxing, like many sports activities, velocity kills. Aggression and punching energy, too. Hand velocity is innate and never taught. Ellis, of Lynn, Massachusetts, is a right-hand-dominant welterweight born with velocity. Ellis (23-0, 14 KOs) is explosive offensively, with energy and aptitude. He varies his mixtures, typically throwing mixtures of three to 5 punches with one hand. He tends to get slightly large along with his energy pictures, which will be harmful towards a counterpuncher, however one factor is for positive: The center and can of Ellis are the ability plant to his success.

Junior welterweights

Brandun Lee, 22: There’s all the time a man in each division for whom solely time will inform us how nice he can be. And that is true about Lee, of Yuba Metropolis, California. His footwork is cash, environment friendly and rhythmic, and his punching energy is his equalizer. He has displayed exceptional ending qualities and has produced among the finest single-punch knockouts of this yr. Lee (24-0, 22 KOs) has mastered preventing at a distance to maximise his punching energy, and his punch placement makes him some of the correct fighters within the sport.

Arnold Barboza Jr., 30: Barboza is hard, formidable — and by no means talked about amongst the most effective on this weight class. Nonetheless, the orthodox fighter out of Lengthy Seaside, California, retains successful as he waits in line for his earned alternative for a championship. He is not an influence puncher or a pure boxer. As an alternative, I’ve categorized his preventing fashion as well-rounded and athletic. Barboza (26-0, 10 KOs) can do some of every part, giving him the power to make changes on the fly. If he fights a strain fighter, he can outbox him. And if Barboza is preventing a boxer, he can strain him on the within. This capacity has earned Barboza the nickname “The Locksmith.”


William Zepeda, 25: There’s a rugged warrior from Mexico seeking to make his mark among the many lightweights. Zepeda (25-0, 23 KOs) is a southpaw swarmer who punches with unhealthy intentions. Zepeda’s assault is persistent and violent, but beneath management. Moreover, his quantity punching fashion makes him enjoyable to look at. His good punching energy completes his arsenal and provides one other layer of hazard to his sport. Normally, strain fighters field from the orthodox stance, however boxing has seen an increase in southpaw strain fighters lately. The likes of Errol Spence Jr. and Joseph “JoJo” Diaz throw punches in bunches, making their video games just like Zepeda’s — however, in fact, with a slight variation.

Rolando Romero, 26: There’s something about Romero, of Las Vegas, Nevada, that bears our consideration. It is not his approach or footwork and never even his boxing mechanics or capacity. Romero is completely different — imply, uniquely awkward, unbalanced and very highly effective. He likes to blow up offensively, off rhythm, catching his opponent abruptly. Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) has freakish bodily power and loads of ambition. His quest to be the most effective is his motivation. He made this record primarily based on thriller and uncertainty. Nonetheless, if somebody can escape his treacherous roughhousing techniques and his highly effective spontaneous mixtures, Romero will be overwhelmed. However not with no combat.

Junior light-weight

Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, 27: As a foreigner, making a reputation for your self within the U.S. market is tough. However Rakhimov (16-0-1, 12 KOs), a southpaw from Bokhtar, Tajikistan, has gotten my consideration. He earned a draw with former champion JoJo Diaz in February 2021 in a extremely entertaining matchup that lived as much as the hype. He’s an aggressive strain fighter with good technical expertise who likes to face in entrance of his opposition. He can both assault first with mixtures of three to 4 punches, or he’ll look to attract out errors along with his presence. A lot of his offense will come from the surface as a result of, being tall and rangy, he is aware of that his energy is on the finish of the punch. Defensively, Rakhimov will transfer his head to keep away from punches, however more often than not he’ll use a excessive guard to defend. Permitting fighters to punch at that top guard is his method of setting a lure.

Robson Conceicao, 33: The 130-pound brazilian has impressed me ever since he went 12 rounds with junior light-weight kingpin Oscar Valdez — the person that dethroned the once-called boogeyman of the division, Miguel Berchelt. Think about being in entrance of somebody like Valdez, who has energy in each fingers coming in the direction of you? Conceicao’s sport of keep-away from his opponents by leashing out when in vary has been very efficient. His protection and skill to combat on the excellent distance for him are unmatched. Conceicao (17-1, 8 KOs) is a bodily robust, well-conditioned fighter, and can be a drive at junior light-weight.


Robeisy Ramirez, 28: Ramirez’s Cuban boxing background, hand and foot velocity, mixed along with his punching energy, put him on this record. Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) has regained his confidence after dropping his pro-debut, however his ability is unmatched. And as his confidence and bodily power continues to develop, it is laborious to not think about a number of belts round his waist. Judging by his previous few performances, he’s a combat or two away from competing for a world championship.

Joet Gonzalez, 28: Perhaps essentially the most difficult second in former title challenger Gonzalez’s profession is behind him. He was distracted by household turmoil earlier than coming into the ring towards the extremely gifted Shakur Stevenson in 2019. Gonzalez, of Glendora, California, is an entire fighter. He has good hand velocity and punching energy. He is balanced in his assaults, altering ranges, sustaining eager positions to counter successfully. Gonzalez (25-2, 15 KOs) is liable for his defensive harnessing, a expertise wanted to compete with anybody in his division. Timing is a giant a part of his sport; discovering his opposition’s rhythm and exploiting their weaknesses is his calling card.

Junior featherweight

Ra’eese Aleem, 31: Aleem is a former karate black belt . He was born for fight. Aleem (19-0, 12 KOs), of Muskegon, Michigan, is a reactive fighter ruled by his reflexes and athleticism. His capacity to compute and course of issues shortly whereas pushing at a speedy tempo is what catches my consideration. As well as, Aleem has eager timing and abrupt respectable punching energy that has shocked his competitors.

Ludumo Lamati, 29: Lamati is a giant fighter for the 122-pound division, standing at 5-foot-8 and with a 70-inch attain. Being comparatively tall, one would suppose he may combat off his again entrance and play keep-away along with his opposition, however as a substitute he has a bag stuffed with methods in his arsenal. Lamati (18-0-1, 10 KOs), from Japanese Cape, South Africa, has wonderful pendulum footwork that helps him get in offensively and out defensively. He’s additionally a prolific physique puncher which makes him a triple risk for any opponent — measurement, ring generalship and a punisher to the physique. That is a recipe for fulfillment in any division.


Rau’shee Warren, 35: A terrific southpaw boxer can beat an incredible orthodox fighter extra occasions than not. Southpaw heavyweight Micheal Moorer defeated Evander Holyfield for the title. The good southpaw Manny Pacquiao dethroned Keith Thurman. Southpaws face orthodox fighters extra usually than typical ones face southpaws. Warren, of Cincinnati, Ohio, a two-time US Olympian, is a speedster — he has among the quickest fingers within the sport in the present day. Though he has suffered a number of shut losses, his dedication and want had been evident in his final day trip towards Damien Vazquez. Warren (19-3, 5 KOs) produced a scintillating second-round KO win, which despatched a message to the champions on this division and earned him a spot on my record.

Gary Antonio Russell, 29: The brother of former champion Gary Russell Jr. is a southpaw workhorse. He pressures fighters behind sharp technical expertise and runs fast, correct mixtures arrange by his jab. Russell (19-0, 12 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, units a blazing tempo early, testing the stamina and the need of his competitors. It’s essential to be a double-fisted southpaw, as many southpaws use their lead hand as bait for his or her again hand — however not Russell. His proper hook is simply as devastating as his straight left hand, and his want to win is even larger.

Junior bantamweight

Jade Bornea, 26: The junior bantamweight division has gained a whole lot of respect lately. Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire, Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez have introduced velocity and energy, and because of this, the little guys are magnified. Bornea, a switch-hitting fighter of Arakan, Philippines, is unbeaten, ruthless and a physique snatcher. Bornea (17-0, 11 KOs) just isn’t extraordinarily quick like Pacquiao, however he has a tenacity frequent to many fighters from the Philippines. Having grit is one thing you are born with, and the surroundings you develop up in molds your character. Bornea is a real fighter, one who can take it and dish it, too. A warrior does not all the time have to have superior ability. Starvation could make up for the missing of expertise.


Kento Hatanaka, 23: “Prince” is the son of former WBC junior featherweight champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka. Hatanaka has inherited the expertise and has been uncovered to boxing early, giving him the sensation of invincibility when maneuvering contained in the ring. Hatanaka (12-0, 9 KOs), of Nagoya, Japan, pushes the tempo early whereas having the conditioning and complete distance management all through the combat. He injects his left hand as much as the top and downstairs to the physique, making me surprise if he is naturally left-handed. A puncher that may push the tempo, pay respect to protection, and one that may function as a bricklayer with meticulous aggression deserves point out.

Junior flyweight

Agustin Mauro Gauto, 24: The orthodox fighter from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is an excellent adaptive fighter with large higher torso motion. Gauto (17-0, 12 KOs) has quick fingers and makes use of deceiving techniques like stage adjustments and high-guard traps to get opponents to throw exactly the punch that he meant them to launch — after which counter. Perhaps I’ll name him “Little Canelo” as a result of his actions and method remind me of Canelo Alvarez.


Ginjiro Shigeoka, 22: If I solely had one phrase to explain his preventing fashion, I’d use “Destruction”. Shigeoka (6-0, 5 KOs), from Kumamoto, Japan, is a southpaw with unbelievable one-punch energy. I’ve by no means seen a person so little in boxing that possesses this type of drive. So as to add, he’s extraordinarily assured and exact along with his offense, and a drive to be reckoned on this 105-pound division.

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