Professional boxing is regulated sanctioned boxing. It is fought for a purse that is divided between the boxers as determined by contract. To guarantee the boxers’ safety, most professional bouts are supervised by a regulatory authority. Most high-profile bouts obtain a sanctioning body’s endorsement, which awards championship belts, establishes rules, and assigns its judges and referees. Let us look at the current top ten professional boxers:
1. Saul Alvarez – Born on 18 July 1990, Saul Alvarez is a Mexican professional boxer who has held numerous world championships in four weight classes. Since 2018, he has held the Ring Magazine and lineal middleweight titles, since 2020, the unified WBA (Super), WBC, and Ring super middleweight titles. Previously, between 2011 and 2013, he held the WBA (Unified), WBC and Ring light middleweight titles; between 2015 and 2020, the WBA (Super), WBC (twice), IBF, Ring, and lineal middleweight titles; from 2016 to 2017 the WBO light-middleweight title; and in 2019 he won the WBO light heavyweight title.
2. Tyson Fury – Born on 12 August 1988, Tyson Fury is a British professional boxer. He is a two-time heavyweight world champion since February 2020, having held the Ring Magazine, the WBC, and lineal titles since defeating Deontay Wilder. In 2015, after defeating Wladimir Klitschko, he held the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal titles. With his defeat of Wilder, Tyson became the third heavyweight to be awarded the Ring Magazine title twice, after Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson. In 2020, he won three fights that were rated by BoxRec as 5-Star.
3. Errol Spence Jr. – Born on 3 March 1990, Errol Spence Jr. is an American professional boxer. Spence Jr is currently a unified welterweight world champion. Since 2017, he has held the IBF title and, since 2019, the WBC title. As an amateur, he won three consecutive United States national championships in the welterweight division and, at the 2012 Olympics, represented the United States, where he reached the quarter-finals. Spence was named Prospect of the Year in 2015 by ESPN.
4. Terence Crawford – Born on 28 September 1987, Terence Crawford is an American professional boxer. Since 2018, he has held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including the WBO welterweight title. From 2014 to 2015, he held the WBO, Ring Magazine, and lineal lightweight titles; between 2015 and 2017, the unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, Ring, and lineal light welterweight titles.
Terence Crawford had a short reign as the undisputed light-welterweight champion in August 2017, before moving up to welterweight. In 2004, he was the most recent undisputed titlist at light-welterweight since Kostya Tszyu. In 2005, he also became the first male boxer to hold all four major world titles in boxing simultaneously – WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO, since Jermain Taylor, and is one of only four male boxers in history.
5. Deontay Wilder – Born on 22 October 1985, Deontay Wilder is an American professional boxer. From 2015 to February 2020, he held the WBC heavyweight title. He was the first American world heavyweight champion.
Wilder took up the sport at age 20. As an amateur at the 2008 Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division. The formidable punching power of Deontay Wilder is well known. He has knocked out all opponents he has defeated. His knockout-to-win percentage stands at 98%, with 20 knockouts in the first round. He won the Premier Boxing Champions Knockout of the Year award three times in 2016, 2017, and 2019, and a winner of the 2019 Ring magazine Knockout of the Year award.
6. Anthony Joshua – Born on 15 October 1989, Anthony Joshua is a British professional boxer of Nigerian descent. He is a two-time unified heavyweight champion. Since December 2019, he has held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles and previously between 2016 and June 2019. At the regional level, from 2015 to 2016, he held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
In 2011, he represented England at the World Championships in the super-heavyweight division, winning a silver medal as an amateur.
At the 2012 Olympics, he also represented Great Britain, winning gold. Joshua won the Prospect of the Year title in 2014, a year after turning professional. Joshua is the second British boxer, after James DeGale, to win both a gold medal at the Olympics and a world title, and the first British heavyweight to do so.
7. Manny Pacquiao – Born on 17 December 1978, Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino professional boxer and a senator of the Philippines. He is considered one of the greatest professional fighters of all time. In 2016, he was elected as a senator of the Philippines.
Pacquiao has won twelve major world titles and is the only eight-division world champion in boxing history. In five different weight classes, he was the first boxer to win the lineal championship, the only fighter to hold world championships across four decades (the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s), and the first boxer to win world titles in four out of the eight “glamour divisions.”
In July 2019, at 40, Pacquiao became the oldest welterweight world champion in history. He was also the first to become a recognized four-time welterweight champion in history to win the WBA (Super) welterweight title.
8. Gennadiy Golovkin – Born on 8 April 1982, Gennadiy Golovkin is a Kazakhstani professional boxer. Since 2019, he is a two-time middleweight world champion, having held the IBF and IBO titles. Between 2014 and 2018, he held the unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and IBO titles and was ranked as the world’s best boxer from September 2017 to September 2018.
In 2010, Golovkin won the WBA interim middleweight title. In the same year, he was elevated to regular champion. The following year, he won the IBO title the next year. Golovkin was also elevated to WBA (Super) champion’s status in 2014. Later that year, he won the WBC interim middleweight title and, in 2015, the IBF middleweight title. In 2016, after Álvarez vacated his WBC middleweight title, Golovkin was elevated to full champion. In 2018, he held three of the four major world titles in boxing until being stripped by the IBF for not fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko. In 2018, following a loss to Álvarez, Golovkin lost all his titles and his undefeated record. In 2019, he regained his IBF and IBO titles by defeating Derevyanchenko.
At the 2003 World Championships, Golovkin won a gold medal in his middleweight division’s amateur career. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Golovkin went on to represent Kazakhstan, winning a middleweight silver medal.
9. Alexander Povetkin – Born on 2 September 1979, Alexander Povetkin is a Russian professional boxer. In August 2020, he was awarded the WBC interim heavyweight title. From 2011 to 2013, he held the WBA (Regular) heavyweight title and twice has challenged for the unified heavyweight championship.
In 2002 and 2004 European Championships, 2003 World Championships, and 2004 Olympics, Povetkin won gold medals in the super-heavyweight division as an amateur. After turning professional in 2005, he claimed the vacant WBA (Regular) title in 2011. He challenged unified champion Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal titles in 2013, suffering his first professional career loss. Povetkin fought unified champion, Anthony Joshua, for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles in 2018 and suffered a seventh-round technical knockout loss, his only defeat by stoppage to date.
10. Teofimo Lopez – Born 30 July 1997, Teofimo Lopez is an American professional boxer. He is the current unified lightweight world champion, having held the IBF title since 2019 and the WBA (Super), WBO, and Ring magazine titles since 2020. As an amateur, he represented Honduras at the 2016 Summer Olympics.