The Sportsman Boxing Power Rankings: May 2022

Retiring heavyweight kings, emerging southpaw superstars and relentless Mexican pound-for-pounders make up this month's list
07:00, 03 May 2022

The Sportsman Boxing Power Rankings is a monthly series ranking boxers on a number of factors to determine the most pivotal names in the fight game. Rather than a pound-for-pound list, the Power Rankings will collate performance, reputation, influence and momentum. Here is our pick for the ten male boxers who sit atop the sport as of right now.

10. Artur Beterbiev

The unbeaten WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion has a date in the diary with WBO boss Joe Smith Jr. Should he come through that big unification contest unscathed, the 37-year-old would be in line to meet the winner of this weekend’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol clash. Such a fight would crown an undisputed champion at 175lb, and a meeting with ‘Canelo’ in particular would net Beterbiev by far the biggest purse of his career.

9. Naoya Inoue

The Japanese knockout artist is preparing for a June rematch with WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire. Inoue’s WBA and IBF straps will also be on the line as he looks to repeat his stunning 2019 victory over the ‘Filipino Flash’. Their first bout was an absolute war, and this rematch is one of 2022’s most anticipated bouts.

8. Gennady Golovkin

‘GGG’ overcame some hairy moments to stop Japan’s Ryota Murata in April. The victory saw Golovkin unify the WBA and IBF middleweight belts. The mighty Kazakh was not at his best, but the Saitama battle certainly provided the “big drama show” he often promises. Rocked early on and looking off the pace, ‘GGG’ battled back to break down Murata in the ninth round.

7. George Kambosos Jr

The unified lightweight king finally has a date set for his long-rumoured bout with WBC champion Devin Haney. The undisputed championship clash will take place in Kambosos’ homeland of Australia, giving ‘Ferocious’ every advantage and incentive to excel. George gave us one of 2021’s most exciting moments when he upset Teofimo Lopez last November. This outdoor extravaganza could provide one of this year’s most memorable fights, particularly if Kambosos achieves a second straight underdog victory.

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6. Dmitry Bivol

Fighting Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez offers boxers the brightest spotlight in the sport today, and Bivol is the latest man to step into the harsh glare. Winning against the ginger wizard is not easy, with Floyd Mayweather still the only man to accomplish it. But Bivol will be confident considering he’s unbeaten, a long-time WBA light heavyweight champion and enjoys significant height and reach advantages over the Mexican. Few expect him to be victorious against Alvarez, but that sliver of doubt is why we have the fights in the first place.

5. Oleksandr Usyk

The unified heavyweight belt-holder has returned from fighting alongside the Ukrainian territorial defence force attempting to peg back the Russian invasion. He has now entered training for his rematch with the name he dethroned to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles; Anthony Joshua. Should Usyk manage to retain his titles this summer against ‘AJ’ against a backdrop of war-torn unrest in his homeland, it would be one of the stories of the year.

4. Shakur Stevenson

The New Jersey southpaw continues to electrify. Stevenson didn’t put a foot wrong as he dethroned WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez this past weekend. He unified the famous green belt with his WBO strap in the process, and the sky really does feel like the limit for the 24-year-old. A two-weight world champion already, there are plenty more worlds to conquer for this defensive genius.

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3. Errol Spence Jr

The unquestionable ‘Truth’ left Yordenis Ugas’ eye in a horrible state in their three-belt welterweight unification battle last month. Stopping the Pacquiao-conquering Cuban in the tenth round, Spence has put himself on a collision course with the imperial WBO king, Terence Crawford. Perhaps the biggest and best fight that can be made in the current boxing landscape, it is to be hoped that this generation-defining 147lb clash does not slip through our fingers.

2. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

The mooted move to cruiserweight turned out to be all talk, at least for now. But the undisputed super middleweight boss is still going up in weight. The unbeaten Dmitry Bivol is in Alvarez’s crosshairs this weekend, as he looks to add the WBA light heavyweight belt to a collection that is in danger of needing its own house. The most popular fighter on the planet, and the best. The scary thing is he’s still only 31 years of age.

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1. Tyson Fury

If ‘The Gypsy King’ is to be believed, then this will be his last appearance on this list. Fury has retired following his sixth-round TKO victory over Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium. The performance was typical Tyson. He mastered ‘The Body Snatcher’ with smart outside fighting, went tit-for-tat when Whyte tried the rough stuff then applied the finishing touch with a thunderous uppercut to end the fight. The question of whether Fury would beat Usyk or Joshua will hang over him forever if he really is done. The question of how he’d get on against Francis Ngannou in an exhibition unfortunately looks like the next one he’ll answer.

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