There are some great boxers out there from various parts of the world who don’t get the accolades they deserve. These are guys who consistently perform to their best of their abilities and keep racking up the wins in virtual anonymity. Some of them are former or current world champions while others have yet to win a world title. But for some reason, even die hard boxing fans aren’t as familiar as they should be with them.
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising for several boxers on this list to end up in the Hall of Fame once they decide to hang up their gloves. These are all solid, hard-working pros who might be more well-known or have a bigger fan base if they fought regularly on television in the U.S. If you get the chance, it’s worth checking these 10 boxers out when possible to judge for yourself just how good they are.
10. Billy Joe Saunders
If England’s Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 Kos) keeps performing like he did against David Lemieux of Canada on December 9th, 2017 he won’t be underrated for long. The 28-year-old southpaw gave Lemieux a thorough boxing lesson in his own back yard as he easily retained his WBO Middleweight Title. Now Lemieux has never been mistaken for an elite boxer as he’s basically just a power puncher, but he barely touched Saunders all night long. And let’s not forget the unbeaten world champion is also a former British, European and Commonwealth Champion who beat current IBO and WBA Super Middleweight Champ Chris Eubank Jr. by split decision with another fine boxing display in 2014. The main problem with Saunders is that he fights to the level of opposition, which means he looks lethargic against mediocre opponents. This is why many fans would love to see how the former Olympian fares against Gennady Golovkin or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
9. Luke Campbell
Like Saunders, Luke Campbell is a former British Olympian and southpaw who possesses fine, but underrated boxing skills. The 30-year-old has compiled a 17-2 record as a pro with an impressive 14 Kos to his name. Campbell managed to win a gold medal at the 2012 Games in London and has captured a couple of regional WBC Lightweight Titles so far as well as a Commonwealth Belt. The native of Hull, England also came close to capturing a world title back in September, but was edged on a close split decision by WBA Champ Jorge Linares in California. Campbell has outboxed former world champs Darleys Perez and Argenis Mendez with his other pro loss coming by split decision at the hands of Yvan Mendy in December, 2015. Campbell showed the world his boxing skills and toughness against Linares and it’s only a matter of time before he earns another world title shot.
8. Gennady Golovkin
You might be surprised to see IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC Middleweight Boss Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan on this list, but he’s a better boxer than given credit for. At 37-0-1 with 33 Kos and a knockout ratio of 87 per cent, Triple G is basically known as a power puncher. However, his boxing skills are better than many fans realize. He doesn’t usually need them though, but he’s now had to go the distance twice in a row after posting a 23-fight knockout streak. The 35-year-old Golovkin has met a pair of Grade A boxers in his last two bouts and managed to outbox former world champs Daniel Jacobs and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. He rightfully earned a close unanimous decision over Jacobs last March and was then given the short end of the stick with a draw against Canelo in September. His boxing skills shouldn’t be so surprising though since he won silver at the 2004 Olympics and lost fewer than 10 of his 350-plus amateur bouts.
7. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
Like Golovkin, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand possesses the perfect combination of power and boxing skills. Rungvisai, who’s also known as Wisaksil Wangek, is a 31-year-old veteran with a record of 44-4-1 with 40 Kos and a knockout ratio of 82 per cent. The southpaw pulled off a huge upset in March, 2017 when he beat Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez of Nicaragua by majority decision to take his WBC World Super Flyweight Title. At the time, the unbeaten Gonzalez was regarded by many experts as being the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and was rolling along with a mark of 46-0. Rungvisai then proved it was no fluke as he beat Chocolatito again just six months later, this time by an impressive fourth-round KO. Rungvisai will be taking on another member of this list when he faces Juan Francisco Estrada in a highly-anticipated fight on Feb. 24, 2018 at the Forum in Los Angeles.
6. Sullivan Barrera
Time may be running out for Cuban veteran Sullivan Barrera to win a world light heavyweight title as he’s now 35 years old. He’ll be getting another shot in March though when he takes on hard-hitting WBA Champ Dmitry Bivol of Russia. Barrera’s currently 21-1 with 14 Kos with his only pro loss coming to former light heavyweight king Andre Ward by unanimous decision in March, 2016. Barrera was a fine amateur who won gold at the World Junior Championships in 2000 before turning pro in 2009. He’s beaten some solid opponents including Joe Smith Jr., Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Karo Murat and Jeff Lacy due to his top-class boxing skills, solid chin and underrated power. He now fights out of Miami and has won some regional pro titles, but is hoping to win a world belt before his career’s over. If his chin holds out against Bivol, he should have the skills to out box him.
5. Amir Khan
When it comes to pure boxing skills, Amir Khan of England is arguably second to none. But when it comes to his chin, he certainly lacks a solid one. This has been Khan’s downfall as as he’s been stopped by the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia while compiling a record of 31-4 with 19 Kos. Khan’s speed and footwork are exceptional and when combined with his inability to take a solid shot it makes him one of the world’s more exciting boxers. The 31-year-old native of Bolton won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, racked up several regional pro titles and is a former WBA and IBF World Junior Welterweight Champion. He’s proven his boxing talent by beating the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana. Andriy Kotelnik, Dmitry Salita, Zab Judah, Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri.
4. Jermell and Jermall Charlo
It’s often hard to tell 27-year-old twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo of Richmond, Texas apart, but both of them are turning out to be solid pros and underrated boxers. They’re unbeaten with Jermell at 30-0 with 15 Kos and Jermall having a mark of 26-0 with 20 Kos. Jermall is the former IBF Junior Middleweight Champ with wins over Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Antwone Smith, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage. Meanwhile, Jermell is the current WBC Junior Middleweight Boss and has victories over Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Joachim Alcine, Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, Demetrius Hopkins, Harry Joe Yorgey and Denis Douglin. Jermall recently moved up to middleweight where he hopes to challenge opponents such as Triple G, Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo Alvarez and Jermell may soon follow suit. They both have fine boxing skills and underrated power.
3. Juan Francisco Estrada
Fans are in for a treat on Feb. 24th when Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico takes on fellow underrated-list member Srisaket Sor Rungvisai for the WBC Super Flyweight Title at the LA Forum. The 27-year-old Estrada is currently 36-2 with 25 Kos with his losses coming against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez by unanimous decision in a WBA title shot in 2012 and an eight-round unanimous decision to Juan Carlos Sanchez in 2011. Estrada’s currently riding a 10-bout winning streak with victories over the likes of Brian Viloria, Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura and Carlos Cuadras. He’s a former WBO and WBA World Flyweight Champ who’s flown under the radar most of his career. He’ll now move up in weight to try and earn some well-deserved recognition and accolades with a title win over Rungvisai on HBO.
2. Jamie McDonnell
Most boxing fans outside of Britain have never heard of 31-year-old Jamie McDonnell even though he’s the current WBA World Bantamweight Champion. The native of Doncaster, England is 29-2-1 with 13 Kos and owns wins over Liborio Solis, Fernando Vargas, Javier Nicolas Chacon and Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat. However, his most impressive performances were a pair of victories over Japan’s Tomoki Kameda and beating the hard-hitting Julio Ceja for the title in 2013. McDonnell’s defended his title five times with his sixth defense resulting in a no-contest in a rematch against Solis due to an early clash of heads. Since McDonnell’s power is average he usually depends on his boxing skills to get by and so far he’s done a great job of it. He’s surprised most of his better-ranked opponents with his determined efforts and has already achieved much more than most experts ever imagined he would.
1. Donnie Nietes
Filipino boxers are among the best in the world, but Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire are basically the only two who are recognized across the globe. Well, meet their fellow countryman Donnie Nietes. All the 35-year-old has done so far is compile a 40-1-4 record with 22 Kos while winning four world titles in three different weight divisions. Nietes’ lone loss was a 10-round split decision to Angky Angkotta back in 2004 when Angkotta came in six pounds above the flyweight limit of 108 lbs. Nietes’ is riding a 32-fight, 13-year unbeaten streak. He’s currently the IBF World Flyweight Champion and is a former minimumweight and light flyweight champ. He holds the record for being one of the longest-reigning world champions ever at 10 years and eight months and counting, but most people have never heard of him. Nietes has beaten numerous top contenders in his divisions and will be attempting to extend his unbeaten streak and title reign on Jan. 18th, 2018 when he meets Juan Carlos Reveco. Nietes will be a Hall of Famer when he retires and may then finally get the recognition he deserves.