European Pound for Pound

By Cain Bradley on September 1, 2018
European Pound for Pound
The Ukrainian remains one of the preeminent boxers in the world. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

He moved up to lightweight for his last bout and stopped Jorge Linares in an exciting bout which saw him dropped for the first time…

1. Vasyl Lomachenko
The Ukrainian remains one of the preeminent boxers in the world and for most people leads the world Pound for Pound rankings. He moved up to lightweight for his last bout and stopped Jorge Linares in an exciting bout which saw him dropped for the first time. He also has wins over Rigondeaux, Sosa, Walters, Martinez and Russell.

2. Oleksandr Usyk
Usyk showed his sheer class when winning the World Boxing Super Series. In the final he dominated the previously unbeaten Murat Gassiev. It was a masterful performance and alongside his win over Mairis Breidis makes him a shoo-in for Fighter of the Year. A move up to Heavyweight seems likely to be coming soon and I fancy him over everyone in that division.

3. Anthony Joshua
Joshua is making his way up these lists, often due to other boxers losing rather than him winning. He did get a big win earlier this year, unifying the world titles by defeating Joshua Parker. He did not shine though and Parker has subsequently made that win less impressive by losing to Whyte. He fights Povetkin later this month before hopefully looking towards the winner of Wilder vs. Fury.

4. Dmitry Bivol
Bivol is one of my favorite fighters right now. The way he crucified Sullivan Barrera was incredible to me. He dominated him before stopping him, looking better than even Andre Ward did. His last fight saw him dominate Isaac Chilemba but not stop his tough opponent. His night was ruined by the loss of Sergey Kovalev, as many sensed a big Russian unification was on its way.

5. Badou Jack
Jack was perhaps unfortunate in only managing a draw against Adonis Stevenson. However, it does seem like he has a tendency to not quite do enough to get wins, having also drawn with James DeGale. Jack is fun to watch though and seems willing to take on challenges, so we will get a chance to see him in a big fight soon.

6. Mairis Breidis
When Usyk dominated Gassiev, the stock of one man went up. Breidis had taken on Usyk earlier this year and only lost a majority decision in a close bout. I preferred him to Gassiev before the tournament and am desperate to see them clash, which we will hopefully see in the second cruiserweight WBSS.

7. George Groves
Another World Boxing Super Series finalist, this time in the Super Middleweight division. Three career losses have come in a split decision against Badou Jack and two losses to the great Carl Froch. He gave a boxing masterclass as underdog against Chris Eubank; boxing behind a great jab showing the ability he has had since the amateur days.

8. Murat Gassiev
Gassiev stock is down after his performance in the WBSS final. Usyk made him look one dimensional and unable to adapt. That should say more about Usyk than Gassiev. Gassiev is still a terrifying young fighter with power and ability. His semi final win over Dorticos, a top fighter in the division, is proof of that.

9. Carl Frampton
Carl is slowly slipping down this list as it has been over 18 months since he fought a top level fighter and that came in a loss to Leo Santa Cruz. Granted, he beat him in their first fight. I just need to see Frampton back at world title level to move him back up. He gets that chance later this year against Josh Warrington.

10. Billy Joe Saunders
There is a wild range of opinions about Billy Joe. He has undoubted talent but his level of opposition leaves him lower down this list. His two best wins are Chris Eubank Jr. and David Lemieux who look like boxers just below the top level. If he can beat Demetrius Andrade though, that becomes his best win and he jumps up this list.

11. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
Had some great wins as a prospect including stopping Isaac Chilemba. His last year has been a bit disappointing though, laboring to wins over Craig Baker and Mehdi Amar. He looks to be taking on Adonis Stevenson in December and I actually think it is a winnable fight for him.
12. Ryan Burnett
A former unified champion in the Bantamweight division after a whirlwind 2017 that saw him beat Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. We will see him in big fights over the next 18 months as he takes part in the WBSS. First up is Nonito Donaire.

13. Sergey Kovalev
A hard boxer to place given the last time we saw him was losing against Eleider Alvarez. It was his third loss after two defeats to Andre Ward. The Ward loss, especially given his performance in the first fight, can certainly be excused. We can properly evaluate the Alvarez loss when we figure out how good Alvarez. Kovalev, at this point in his career, is certainly not the same force but is still a big figure in arguably the best division in boxing.

14. Kai Yafai
The title reign of Yafai has been underwhelming. He has made three defences since defeating Concepcion for the title and none has done much for his reputation. Even the win over Concepcion has been devalued by the results that have followed. If he continues to fight opponents who do not impress, he will slide down this list.

15. Artur Beterbiev
The third of the Eastern European prospects at Light Heavyweight, he was a former amateur world champion. His early bouts showed an incredible ability with huge power, stopping Cloud in two and Campillo in four. Inactivity has blighted him since although he did win the IBF title against Enrico Kolling. His first defence comes in October against Callum Johnson.

16. Josh Taylor
Taylor has proved himself to be an incredible prospect, improving the level of opposition while still performing well. He was dominant against Miguel Vazquez and Ohara Davies before stepping up against Viktor Postol. He showed that he can battle if necessary and got the win against a highly rated opponent. He is now in the WBSS tournament and we will hopefully see just how good he is.

17. Sergey Derevyanchenko
Another Ukrainian prospect, one of my favorites. He has not been tested at the top level but his WSB record and the way he has dismantled gatekeepers has impressed me. He gets a chance to prove the hype is real when he takes on Danny Jacobs.

18. Josh Warrington
I had zero faith in Warrington. I believed him to be incredibly overrated. Then he used pressure and size to defeat Lee Selby and become world champion. Selby has excuses but Warrington deserves credit. Next, he will take on Carl Frampton.

19. Kell Brook
At this point, Brook is living off past glories. He beat Shawn Porter comfortably, better than anyone has managed. Since then though he has two losses, to Errol Spence and Gennady Golovkin. We really cannot be sure just how good he is right now until he steps up.

20. Sergey Lipinets
Lipinets is a former IBF World Champion, losing his bout by decision to Mikey Garcia. He won the title against Akihiro Kondo and also beat Leonardo Zappavigna. He has impressed me and I don’t think it’s a shame he will not be in the WBSS.

21. Ivan Baranchyk
Baranchyk is my favorite of two strong Belarusians in the division. He is unbeaten so far and only 25. He became only the second man to stop Petr Petrov in his last bout and will take on Anthony Yigit in the first round of the WBSS.

22. Jamie McDonnell
The underrated British fighter has left the Bantamweight division after losing to Naoya Inoue. His wins whilst champion were impressive as he beat Kameda, Solis and Chacon. Rumors are he will return in the Featherweight division.

23. Dillian Whyte
Whyte got the best win of his career by beating Joshua Parker. He showed heart, power and stamina in getting a decision win. All roads seem to lead to a rematch against Anthony Joshua at some point in 2019, although he may first take on Dereck Chisora.

24. Viktor Postol
A big player in the light welterweight over the past few years. He may be past his best, but wins over Selcuk Aydin, Lucas Matthysse and Jamshidbek Najmiddinov are still impressive. He showed in a loss against Josh Taylor that he is still a quality operator by giving the young Scot all he could handle.

25. Callum Smith
The WBSS finalist will need to deliver on the promise he has always shown if he is to defeat George Groves. His first round stoppage over Rocky Fielding looks better now he is a world champion.

26. Lee Selby
I’ve always been high on the Selby brothers. Lee lost his world title last time out against Josh Warrington but he pointed to weight struggles. Next time out we will likely see him in a different weight class and hopefully return to his mesmerizing best.

27. Tony Bellew
I hate ranking Bellew. I don’t think he is a top level heavyweight. He has only beat a washed up David Haye. Even his best win at Cruiserweight came over Ilunga Makabu, hardly a superstar. Something makes me put him in here, maybe his high profile. It sounds like next he will fight Usyk and I only see one winner.

28. James DeGale
Given he is just over 18 months from drawing with Badou Jack, his fall is shocking. However since then he has had two fights. He lost to Caleb Truax in a shocking upset, before returning to win a close decision.

29. Luke Campbell
Another 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Campbell came close to defeating Jorge Linares earlier this year. That was after a good couple of wins including Argenis Mendez and Darleys Perez. The slickster will be hoping for a rematch with Linares but first takes on Yvan Mendy, the only other man to defeat him.

30. Tyson Fury
I feel like I have to include him in the rankings because of what he has done and has the ability to do. It has been a while since we have seen that, but he likely fights Deontay Wilder next and we will find out exactly where Fury is.

Just missed out: TJ Doheny, Kiryl Relikh, Maciej Sulecki, Rocky Fielding, Chris Eubank
Will be here soon: Andrew Selby, Quadratillo Abduqaxorov, Jason Quigley, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Michael Conlan

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  1. Cain Bradley 04:43pm, 09/03/2018

    He would beat Bellew in a fight I agree. But when I do a pound for pound list I weigh up achievements first rather than matchups. Fury also barely gets a mention because over the last 30 months he has got nowhere near proving he should be on the list.

  2. Casanovita de Ahome 09:27am, 09/02/2018

    Forty fighters in total get a mention. Fury barely makes the list?! Where’s Povetkin?! It would be a cold day in hell when Adonis would cold cock Povetkin like he did Bellew!

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