Boxing titles are often won and lost in a matter of seconds with just one punch. Most experts believe it’s harder to retain a world title than it is to win one and that’s especially true in today’s era with multiple champions in each division. This list deals with 10 up and coming boxers who will be world champions someday. Regardless of age, nationality or pro experience, these boxers all have the skills and mindset to one day be crowned one of the champions in their respective divisions.
Most of these 10 boxers had excellent amateur careers with several of them competing in the Olympic Games and a few of them taking home medals as souvenirs. Some of them have also won regional or minor titles since turning pro and are ready for a world title shot right now. On the other side of the coin, some of them still have a way to go before they’ll be ready to face a world champion, but they should be successful when that day finally comes.
10. Shakur Stevenson
Although he’s just 3-0 with one KO since turning pro earlier this year, 20-year-old Shakur Stevenson of Newark, New Jersey seems destined to become a world champion. Stevenson won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as a bantamweight after losing to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez and has now moved up to the 126 lb featherweight division as a pro. The youngster has signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotional team and ex-world light heavyweight champ Andre Ward is his manager. Stevenson possesses speed, punching accuracy and a good defense in the ring and has so far surprised many fans with his power since turning pro. There’s no doubt the featherweight division is deep right now with champions such as Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Oscar Valdez, Lee Selby and Gary Russell Jr., but Stevenson should be ready to challenge for a title in a few years.
9. Lamont Roach Jr.
Lamont Roach Jr is another young American with a lot of potential. The 22-year-old from Washington DC is 15-0 with 6 Kos since turning pro in 2014 while attending the University of Maryland. He’s promoted by Oscar De la Hoya’s Golden Boy company. Roach began boxing at the age of nine, had over 100 wins as an amateur and was a National Golden Gloves and U.S. National Champion in 2013 in the 132 lb division. The junior lightweight (super featherweight) has beaten the likes of Mario Macias, Alejandro Valdez, Jesus Valdez and Luis Hinojosa as a pro and has also captured the WBC Youth Silver Jr. Lightweight Title. Roach definitely isn’t ready for champions such as Vasyl Lomachenko and Miguel Berchelt at the moment, but should soon be able to challenge newly-crowned WBA champ Alberto Machado.
8. Michael Conlan
Most fans believed Ireland’s Michael Conlan was robbed during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where he was beaten in the bantamweight quarterfinals. Conlan then made the headlines by making rude hand gestures to the judges in the ring after the decision was announced, but most understood his feelings. However, he had won a bronze medal at the London Olympics as a flyweight four years earlier and took the gold at the 2015 World Championships as a bantamweight. The native of Belfast, Northern Ireland fought for the Republic of Ireland as an amateur and turned pro on St. Patrick’s Day after signing with Top Rank. The 25-year-old is 4-0 with a surprising 4 Kos in the 122 lb super bantamweight division and could earn a title shot within the next three years.
7. Antonio Orozco
Before he becomes a world champion, Mexico’s Antonio Orozco needs to figure out what weight division he should be competing in. The 29-year-old failed to make the 140 lb junior welterweight (super lightweight) limit twice in the past year and had two fights canceled because of it. The latest incident came in September when he was seven pounds overweight for his fight with Roberto Ortiz and perhaps it’s time he moved to welterweight. Orozco had a fine amateur career before turning pro in 2010 and has gone 26-0 with 17 Kos since then. He stopped Keandre Gibson in the fourth round in April to win a couple of minor titles and has already beaten Abner Lopez, Miguel Acosta, Humberto Soto, Emmanuel Taylor, Steve Forbes, Ivan Hernandez, Miguel Angel Huerta and Martin Honorio. Orozco’s ranked second by the WBO and sixth by the WBC and is ready for a title shot.
6. Jose Carlos Ramirez
California’s Jose Carlos Ramirez represented the U.S. At the 2012 Olympics and went 2-1 after winning the Nationals two years earlier as a lightweight. Ramirez is also a former Jr. Golden Gloves National Champion and two-time Jr. Olympic National Champion. He turned pro in 2012 and has a perfect record of 20-0 along with 15 Kos in the super lightweight (junior welterweight) division. His 75 per cent knockout ratio means his power is quite evident and its now time for the 25-year-old to take on some tougher opponents. He’s beaten the likes of Robert Frankel, Ryusei Yoshida, Johnny Garcia, Manuel Perez, and Jake Giuriceo and is scheduled to face unbeaten Mike Reed (23-0) in November for the WBC Continental Americas Super Lightweight Title). Ramirez is ranked fifth by the WBO and WBC and should be ready for a title shot within a year or two if he beats Reed.
5. Felix Verdejo
Formerly ranked number one in the world by the WBO, Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo was all lined up for a title shot against WBO Champion Terry Flanagan, but had to pull out after a motorcycle accident. The 24-year-old has now slipped down the rankings to number six due to relative inactivity this year and is scheduled to return to the ring in January. The former 2012 Olympian saw his dream of amateur gold come to an end when he met Vasyl Lomachenko in the quarterfinals. Verdejo turned pro shortly after the Olympics and has a perfect record of 23-0 with 15 Kos. He’s been inconsistent lately though and a bit injury prone outside of the ring. He’s the WBO Latino Lightweight Champion, fights regularly on HBO, but needs another win or two before he’s given his long-awaited title shot.
4. Joseph Diaz
NABF Featherweight Champion Joseph Diaz is another former U.S. Olympian who competed at the 2012 Games in London, where he went 1-1 as a bantamweight. He’s also a former two-time National Bantamweight Champion and a former National Featherweight Champion. The 24-year-old southpaw turned pro in 2012 with a mark of 25-0 with 13 Kos since then. Diaz stopped Hugo Partida for the NABF Title in 2015 and defended it against Jayson Velez, Victor Proa, Andrew Cancio, Horacio Garcia and Manuel Avila. He also won the WBO NABO Title against Avila and defended it against Rafael Rivera on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez tilt. Diaz also has wins over Luis Maldonado, Raul Hidalgo, Roberto Castaneda, Rene Alvarado and Ruben Tamayo. He’s currently ranked number one by the WBO, two by the WBC, fourth by the IBF and sixth by the WBA and is ready any time now for a title shot.
3. Artur Beterbiev
Thirty-two-year-old Russian light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev should be the first boxer on this list to win a world title when he faces Enrico Koelling for the vacant IBF Crown on November 11th. Beterbiev is just 11-0 as a pro since 2013 with a 100 per cent knockout ratio. He fights out of Montreal and has beaten the likes of Tavoris Cloud, Jeff Page Jr, Gabriel Campillo, Ezequiel Maderna and Isidro Prieto. Beterbiev has already won the WBO NABO, WBO International and WBA NABA Light Heavyweight titles. The power-punching Russian had an excellent amateur career with a silver medal at the World Championships in 2007 and a gold two years later. He also made it to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics. Beterbiev has fought just once outside of Canada as a pro, but it’ll be an upset if he doesn’t take the title against Koelling in Fresno, California.
2. Olexander Gvozdyk
It looks like it’s also just a matter of time before NABF and WBO NABO Light Heavyweight Champion Olexander Gvozdyk of Ukraine claims a world title. The 30-year-old won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics before turning pro two years later. He fights out of Oxnard, California and has racked up a perfect record of 14-0 along with an 81 per cent knockout ratio and 12 Kos. The heavy-handed Gvozdyk has beaten some skilled opponents so far such as Otis Griffin, Nadjib Mohammedi, Tommy Karpency, Isaac Chilemba, Yunieski Gonzalez and Craig Baker. Gvozdyk is currently ranked number one by the WBO, number two by the WBC and number four by both the the IBF and WBA. With the WBA and IBF titles being vacant at the moment, Gvozdyk should soon get a title shot and win a belt.
1. Luke Campbell
England’s Luke Campbell is the only boxer on this list to have already fought for a world title. And although he lost a split decision to WBA Champion Jorge Linares in September, he proved he’s one of the best lightweights in the world and is ready, willing and able for another title bout at anytime. The 30-year-old southpaw fought extremely well against Linares in California and his stock definitely rose due to his heart, boxing skills and punching power. Campbell was an excellent amateur bantamweight with gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and 2008 European Championships. He’s also won the WBC Silver Lightweight Title and has wins over Tommy Coyle, Gary Sykes, Argenis Mendez, Derry Mathews and Darlys Perez since turning pro in 2013. Campbell is 17-2 with 14 Kos with his only other loss being to Yvan Mendy by split decision in 2015. Look for Campbell to get another title shot soon and make the most of it.