World Boxing News have rated the current World Boxing Council champions in order of merit.
Of the seventeen weight classes, WBN eventually managed to separate the bunch through recent top-level achievement and begin our countdown in descending order.
17. Ganigan Lopez 28-6, 17 KO’s (Mexico) – Light-Flyweight: The 34 year-old recently retained his title with unanimous victory over Jonathan Taconing to make a successful first defense. Given some of the other champions on the list and the number of defeats on his record, unfortunately for Lopez his name props up the rest.
16. Dejan Zlaticanin 22-0, 15 KO’s (Montenegro) – Lightweight: One of the newest champions on the list, Zlaticanin overpowered late replacement Franklin Mamani in three rounds to add his name to the WBC honor roll and also holds victories over Ivan Redkach and Ricky Burns to his credit.
15. Hugo Ruiz 36-3, 32 KO’s (Mexico) – Bantamweight: Having lost out to Koki Kameda for the WBA version, Ruiz avenged his interim loss to Julio Ceja in February by emerging victorious for the full championship.
14. Jermell Charlo 28-0, 13 KO’s (USA) – Super-Welterweight: One half of the champion Charlo Twins, Jermell halted John Jackson in eight rounds last May to fulfill a lifelong dream and build on his previous wins over Vanes Martirosyan, Joachim Alcine and Gabriel Rosado.
13. Francisco Vargas 23-0-2, 17 KO’s (Mexico) – Super-Featherweight: Vargas would surely have been higher on the list had he not struggled to a draw with Orlando Salido last time out. His exciting triumph over Takashi Miura to claim the green belt stills lives fresh in the memory though and won Vargas several Fight of the Year accolades for 2015.
12. Tony Bellew 27-2-1, 17 KO’s (UK) – Cruiserweight: ‘The Bomber’ captured the 200 pound crown on a magical evening at Goodison Park when Bellew wiped out Junior Makabu in three rounds. A hard-fought battle with Mateusz Masternak set Bellew up for the title win, whilst Isaac Chilemba and Nathan Cleverly were beaten at the second attempt during the Briton’s time at light-heavyweight.
11. Carlos Cuadras 35-0-1, 27 KO’s (Mexico) – Super-Flyweight: Cuadras made the sixth defense of his 115 pound strap this spring by stopping Richie Mepranum in Sinaloa and is the latest fighter to be linked to a high-profile clash with Roman Gonzalez. A previous standout win came against Luis Concepcion in 2015.
10. Badou Jack 20-1-2, 12 KO’s (USA/Sweden) – Super-Middleweight: Swedish-born Jack proved his worth by overcoming underdog status against Anthony Dirrell to capture WBC gold. Jack recovered from being knocked out in one minute by Derek Edwards fourteen months prior to unanimously out-point Dirrell in Chicago. Jack has since followed it up with a triumph over George Groves and a draw with Lucian Bute, a result which is widely thought of as a travesty against the champion.
9. Shinsuke Yamanaka 25-0-2, 17 KO’s (Japan) – Bantamweight: Carving his name on the WBC Wall of Champions way back in 2011 by halting Christian Esquivel, the 33 year-old has gone from strength-to-strength. A total of ten title defenses, including against ex-world title holders Vic Darchinyan, Tomas Rojas, Anselmo Moreno and Liborio Solis, have increased Yamanaka’s reputation considerably.
8. Wanheng Menayothin 42-0, 17 KO’s (Thailand) – Minimumweight: Wanheng is in the midst of a sustained assault on Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather’s 49-0 retirement record, of which a spate of six round wins would considerably go against him. On the title front, Menayothin has chalked up four championship level victories and continues to be the dominant force at 105 pounds.
7. Viktor Postol 28-0, 12 KO’s (Ukraine) – Super-Lightweight: The ‘Iceman’ stunned a California crowd when taking out Argentinian hardman Lucas Matthysse in the tenth round last October and has the chance to unify the division against Terence Crawford later this month.
6. Gary Russell Jr. 27-1, 16 KO’s (USA) – Featherweight: ‘Mr. Russell’ pushed amateur and now professional legend Vasyl Lomachenko all the way in June 2014 in a WBO battle, but managed to put that loss behind him to claim the WBC version with an impressive win over Jhonny Gonzalez. Challenger Patrick Hyland was then pushed aside as Russell kept his name at the forefront of the 126 pounders.
5. Deontay Wilder 36-0, 35 KO’s (USA) – Heavyweight: With an awesome record and a solid reign as champion already behind him, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is just a unification away from breaking into the pound for pound top ten ratings. Wilder needs to land an Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury or Wladimir Klitschko fight in the coming twelve months to further cement his high-standing in the sport.
4. Adonis Stevenson 27-1, 22 KO’s (Canada/Haiti) – Light-Heavyweight: Having defeated every fighter he’s ever faced and completely annihilated Chad Dawson to begin his reign as champion, Adonis Stevenson is one of the stellar names at 175 pounds. A long drawn out multi-belt battle with Sergey Kovalev has been hanging over Stevenson’s head since ‘Superman’ first took the title and is threatening to hamper the Haitian-Canadian’s reputation if not resolved soon.
3. Danny Garcia 32-0, 18 KO’s (USA) – Welterweight: ‘Swift’ had the unenvious task of taking the 147 pound mantle from the retiring Floyd Mayweather but did it in style when overcoming multi-weight world title holder Robert Guerrero. Garcia, 28, has beaten a long list of former world champions in the last four years, including Nate Campbell, Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Paulie Malignaggi.
2. Gennady Golovkin 35-0, 32 KO’s (Kazakhstan) – Middleweight: ‘GGG’ is a name that strikes fear into the heart of all at 160 pounds. A plethora of broken bodies have been left in the powerful 34 year-old’s wake and just one more belt is needed to clean up the division.
1. Roman Gonzalez 45-0, 38 KO’s (Nicaragua) – Flyweight: Another of those few who can realistically overhaul the Marciano / Mayweather magical 49-fight mark, Gonzalez has proven himself to be quite a draw since nailing down an HBO contact. The 29 year-old went on a ten-fight KO streak until a comprehensive points win over McWilliams Arroyo last time out. Gonzalez has since been linked to a move up to 115 pounds this fall.