A third of the year is past and boxing has left little to complain about.

Multiple unification matches, our first few Fight of the Year contenders, a massive stadium show…2022 is off to a great start and it’s not slowing down. 

It’s as good a time as any to take a pulse of just who is fighting the best in their fields.

This weekend, the leader in this rolling study since the start takes on one of the two best light heavyweights in the world, Dmitry Bivol, with a chance to keep his lead.

The fighter to watch in the coming weeks in terms of a big move is the winner of Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano. Charlo has been in the top ten before and is just outside the top ten for the moment. A win over Brian Castano in their unification rematch would remove Charlo’s loss to a then-unranked Tony Harrison and replace it with the highest ranked possible win in his weight class. 

Charlo is 2-0-1 in his last three starts, all against ranked opposition.

Castano is also entering his third straight with a ranked foe and could advance with a win.  

Here’s a few notes on the update:

A pool of 52 fighters was evaluated for this update. They include non-titlist Roman Gonzalez who is currently ranked in the pound-for-pound top ten of both TBRB and Ring. It was enough to merit a closer look at his recent run.

Errol Spence’s win over Yordenis Ugas gave him his fourth straight win against a fighter ranked top ten in their division by TBRB and Ring Magazine. It is the longest active streak in the sport, tied with flyweight titlist Junto Nakatani. Nakatani did not make the top ten as only two of his four wins came against fighters ranked by both bodies 

Among reigning titlists, only Arsen Goulamirian or Mark Magsayo lack a single fight or win in their last five starts or three years of activity against a top ten opponent in any division as rated by TBRB or Ring. In the case of Magsayo, that deserves an asterisk.. Gary Russell was ranked at the top of featherweight before being out of the ring for almost two years. It was a quality win for Magsayo.  

One new name cracked the top ten: Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson also earned recognition from TBRB and Ring as champion for his win over Oscar Valdez at Jr. lightweight. While Valdez was technically unranked by Ring prior to the fight, the decision by the magazine to move past Valdez’s PED related removal and recognize the winner as champion treated Valdez as no less than the #2 fighter in class. Stevenson received full credit for a win over a second ranked fighter in his class.

Here’s how it shakes out as with eight months to go in 2022..

1) Saul Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KO) 

Overall Points Rank: 1 (44.34 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 1 (5 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 3 (15 pts)

Age: 31

Current Lineal Titles: World Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); WBO Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); IBF Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Lineal Titles: World Middleweight (2015-21, 4 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2011-13, 6 Defenses); Ring Super Welterweight (2013); WBC Middleweight (2015-17, 2 Defenses; 2018-19, 1 Defense); WBO Super Welterweight (2016-17); IBF middleweight (2019); WBO Light Heavyweight (2019); WBA Middleweight (2018-21, 1 Defense); TBRB/Ring Magazine Middleweight (2015-17, 1 Defense; 2018-21, 1 Defense); Ring Magazine Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); TBRB Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 17-1-1, 10 KO (18-1-1, 11 KO including WBA secondary title fights)

Last Five: Caleb Plant TKO11 (#2 - 168), Billy Joe Saunders RTD8 (Ring #5/TBRB #6 - 168), Avni Yildirim RTD3 (Unrated), Callum Smith (Ring Champion/TBRB #1 - 168), Sergey Kovalev KO11 (#2 - 175[++])

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Daniel Jacobs UD12 (#2 - 160)

Next Opponent: May 7, 2022 vs. Ring Magazine #2/TBRB #1 Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KO, WBA)  

The Take: Alvarez has the most wins in the last three years against top ten competition (five) in the sport and he’s done it across three weight classes. This weekend his bonus win over Daniel Jacobs will age past three years but with a chance to be replaced by an even better win at light heavyweight. Since the first Golovkin fight, Alvarez has faced only one fighter unranked by TBRB or Ring.

2) Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 22 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 2 (28.31 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 2 (4 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: Tie - 5 (12.5 pts)

Age: 32

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Welterweight (2017-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Welterweight (2019-Present, 2 Defenses); WBA Welterweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Previous Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 4 KO

Last Five Opponents: Yordenis Ugas TKO10 (#3- 147), Danny Garcia UD12 (#6/#7 - 147), Shawn Porter SD12 (#5/#4 - 147), Mikey Garcia UD12 (#1/#2 - 135[--]; Unrated/Champion -140[-]), Carlos Ocampo KO1 (Unrated) 

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA 

The Take: Spence rebounded from more than a year off and a horrific auto accident to dominate a game Danny Garcia only to lose another year and change to an eye injury, scuttling a planned showdown with Manny Pacquiao. It did not matter as Spence battered Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas to add a third belt at welterweight and set the table for a showdown with Terence Crawford. 

3) Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 3 (26 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 17 (2 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 2 (16.5 pts)

Age: 33

Current Lineal Titles: World Heavyweight (2015-Present, 8 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Heavyweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses)

Additional Titles: IBF Heavyweight (2015); WBA/WBO Heavyweight (2015-16); TBRB Heavyweight (2015-16; 20-Present, 1 Defense), Ring (2015-18; 20-Present, 1 Defense) 

Record in Title Fights: 8-0-1, 5 KO including all lineal title fights; 4-0-1, 3 KO including only sanctioning body title fights

Last Five: Dillian Whyte TKO6 (#4/#3 - Hvy), Deontay Wilder KO11 (#2 - Hvy), Deontay Wilder TKO7 (#2/#1 - Hvy), Otto Wallin UD12 (Unrated), Tom Schwarz (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The heavyweight king finished his rivalry with Deontay Wilder in one of the wildest heavyweight shoot-outs of all time. The rivalry ends decisively in Fury’s favor and fight fans saw the encore with a one-sided, one-punch knockout of Dillian Whyte. Fury says he’s done but he hasn’t vacated his WBC belt just yet so there’s no need to take that seriously yet. The best heavyweight fight out there right now is with unified titlist Oleksandr Usyk to crown an undisputed champion.  

4) Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 4 (24.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 3 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: Tie - 8 (10 pts)

Age: 31

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 4 Defenses); WBA Super Lightweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); WBC/WBO Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: Ring Magazine Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); TBRB Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 1 KO

Last Five: Jack Catterall SD12 (Unrated/#10 - 140), Jose Ramirez UD12 (#1/#2 - 140), Apinun Khongsong KO1 (Unrated), Regis Prograis MD12 (#1 - 140), Ivan Baranchyk UD12 (#6/#7 - 140)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Taylor is here largely by the grace of the official decision. Plenty felt Catterall did enough to beat him. It doesn’t erase other good work for Taylor who may next be headed to welterweight. The two knockdown performance against Ramirez was the culmination of, in terms of total fights, a rapid ascent. The World Boxing Super Series provided a platform and opponents for Taylor to go from hot rising contender to halfway toward undisputed at Jr. welterweight. 

5) Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 28 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 5 (20.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 7 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 10 (9.5 pts)

Age: 32

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Bantamweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC “Franchise” Super Flyweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA “Super” Super Flyweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBA/WBO Flyweight (2013-16, 5 Defenses); TBRB/Ring Jr. Bantamweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 9-2, 5 KO

Last Five: Roman Gonzalez SD12 (#2 - 115), Carlos Cuadras TKO11 (#10/Unrated - 115), Dewayne Beamon TKO 9 (Unrated), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai UD12 (World Champion - 115), Victor Mendez RTD7 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: While there can still be ample debate about who the rightful winner was in chapter two, Estrada and Roman Gonzalez seem inevitable for a third fight on a likely road for both to Canastota. Their third fight was scuttled by COVID and Estrada appears headed to a fight with the deserving Joshua Franco for now. Estrada has held unified straps now in two weight classes. This golden age at Jr. bantamweight still has some gas in the tank.

6) Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 19 KO)

Overall Points Rank: Tie - 7 (19 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 9 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 1 (18.5 pts)

Age: 24

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Lightweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBO Jr. Lightweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); WBC Super Featherweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBO Featherweight (2019-30)

Record in Title Fights: 3-0, 1 KO (4-0, 1 KO including interim title fights)

Last Five: Oscar Valdez UD12 (Unrated/#2 - 130), Jamel Herring TKO10 (#1/#2 - 130), Jeremia Nakathila UD12 (Unrated), Toka Kahn Clary UD12 (Unrated), Felix Caraballo (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Joet Gonzalez UD12 (#10/Unrated - 126)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The 2016 US Olympic Silver Medalist might have realistically lost only the third round to the tested veteran Valdez in his last outing. Officially it was only the second time in Stevenson’s career where he’s lost more than one round in a fight on more than one card. Stevenson’s biggest tests are likely to come as he matures into the lightweight division but for now he’s the clear leader at 130 lbs.    

7) Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KO) 

Overall Points Rank: Tie - 7 (19 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 18 (2 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: Tie - 8 (10 pts)

Age: 35

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA/IBF/WBO Heavyweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Lineal Titles: World Cruiserweight (2018-19, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: WBA Cruiserweight (2018, 1 Defense); WBO Cruiserweight (2016-19, 6 Defenses), WBC Cruiserweight (2018-19, 2 Defenses); IBF/TBRB/Ring Cruiserweight (2018-19, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 8-0, 3 KO

Last Five: Anthony Joshua UD12 (#1 - Hvy), Dereck Chisora UD12 (Unrated), Chazz Witherspoon (Unrated), Tony Bellew (Unrated), Murat Gassiev UD12 (#2 - 200)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA vs. #2 Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KO)

The Take: Usyk returned to the top ten on the strength of his victory over Anthony Joshua to win three heavyweight belts. Usyk previously reigned as the undisputed king at cruiserweight and is one win away from rewriting recent history in the flagship division. A win over Tyson Fury would make Usyk the only man to hold history’s crown at both cruiserweight and heavyweight. Usyk will have to deal with Joshua in an immediate rematch first, likely in July.. 

8) Vasyl Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KO; 22-2, 11 KO incl. World Series of Boxing contests) 

Overall Points Rank: 11 (17 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 5 (4 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 17 (7.5 pts)

Age: 34

Current Alphabet Titles: None

Previous Titles: WBO Featherweight (2014-16, 3 Defenses); WBO Super Featherweight (2016-18, 5 Defenses); WBC Lightweight (2019); WBA Lightweight (2018-20, 3 defenses); WBO Lightweight (2018-20, 2 Defenses); Ring Magazine Lightweight (2018-20, 3 defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 13-2, 9 KO

Last Five Opponents: Richard Commey UD12 (#5/#6 - 135), Masayoshi Nakatani TKO9 (#9 - 135), Teofimo Lopez L12 (#1/#2 - 135), Luke Campbell UD12 (#2/#7 - 135), Anthony Crolla KO4 (#4/#7 - 135)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA 

The Take: Lomachenko returned to the top ten after a second consecutive top ten win following his lightweight title loss to Teofimo Lopez. Lomachenko is one of several lightweights who will likely be hunting for a shot at the winner of George Kambosos-Devin Haney in 2022 and would have a serious shot at reclaiming his lost crowns. Lomachenko has faced eight straight opponents ranked champion or top ten in their class by TBRB or Ring, the longest active streak in the sport. 

9) Roman Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 12 (16.24 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 10 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 13 (8.74 pts)

Age: 34

Current Alphabet Titles: None

Additional Lineal Titles: World Flyweight (2014-16, 4 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBA Minimumwieght (2008-10, 3 Defenses); WBA Light Flyweight (2011-13, 5 Defenses); TBRB/Ring/WBC Flyweight (2014-16, 4 Defenses); WBC super flyweight (2016-17); WBA super flyweight (2020-21, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 17-3, 10 KO, 1 KOBY (18-3, 11 KO, 1 KOBY including interim title fights)

Last Five Opponents: Julio Cesar Martinez UD12 (#1 - 112 [-]), Juan Francisco Estrada L12 (World Champion -115), Israel Gonzalez UD12 (Unrated/#10 - 115), Khalid Yafai TKO9 (#4 - 115), Diomel Dorticos (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: One of the most accomplished fighters of all time in the lowest weight classes might be even higher with better luck in the Estrada rematch. Instead, a canceled rubber match was replaced with the consensus leader at flyweight and Gonzalez showed his rebound from losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai has a lot of road left to travel. A clash with an Estrada-Franco winner would give Gonzalez another chance at his second lineal crown.  

10) Stephen Fulton (20-0, 8 KO) 

Points Rank: Tie - 18 (12.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 24 (2 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: Tie - 5 (12.5 pts)

Age: 27

Current Alphabet Titles: WBO Jr. Featherweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); WBC Super Bantamweight (2021-Present, 0 Defense)

Additional Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 2-0

Last Five Opponents: Brandon Figueroa MD12 (#4/#3 - 122), Angelo Leo UD12 (#6 - 122), Arnold Khegai UD12 (Unrated), Isaac Avelar KO6 (Unrated), Paulus Ambunda UD12 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No 

Next Opponent: June 04, 2022 vs. #3 Daniel Roman (29-3-1, 16 KO)

The Take: Fulton joined fellow Jr. Featherweight Murodjon Akhmadaliev as a double-belted titlist after a rousing win over Figueroa. It was Fulton’s fourth consecutive win over an undefeated opponent. Fulton has a healthy roster of ranked opponents surrounding him to continue to rise and could make a move here with a win over highly rated former titlist Daniel Roman. Will we eventually get a showdown for undisputed if Fulton keeps winning? Whether we do or not, could the boxing world be pining for Fulton-Naoya Inoue by the end of 2022? 

Rest of the Top Thirty: Mairis Briedis (Ranked 13 on Overall Points/19 on Unique Wins/12 on Last Two Starts), Nonito Donaire (16/22/14), Tie - Jermell Charlo (31/31/4)/Gennady Golovkin (23/13/17), Tie - George Kambosos (23/37/7)/Murodjon Akhmadaliev (13/19/21)/Petchmanee CP Freshmart (9/35/15), Kazuto Ioka (10/4/32), Gervonta Davis (21/12/27), Artur Beterbiev (13/19/29), Illunga Makabu (27/28/21), Tie - Naoya Inoue (6/8/42)/Brian Castano (17/33/22), Jermall Charlo (32/38/15), Tie - Terence Crawford (29/30/21)/Sunny Edwards (18/11/36)/Josh Warrington (47/34/10), Johnriel Casimero (17/23/31), Tie  - Lawrence Okolie (20/25/32)/Joe Smith Jr. (35/32/21)

Previous Competition Index Updates

July 2020

November 2020 

January 2021 

March 2021

July 2021

January 2022

Here’s how it works.

  • Using the most recent ratings available in a print issue of Ring or the most recent archived Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ratings prior to a fight:
  •     Every primary WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titlist, some select recent former titlists, and fighters who appeared in either the Ring or TBRB pound for pound top ten in the last year or so were evaluated based on the official results against their last five opponents and/or last three years of activity and what those opponents were rated heading into the fight.
  •     Wins over rated opponents started at 11 points for a recognized TBRB or Ring champion down to one point for defeating a number ten contender. Draws got half credit. No points were given for a No Contest or No Decision but the result will be noted.
  •     Fighters who have produced a higher activity level were given a kicker score for any wins over rated opposition in the last three years no later than May 1, 2019. Everyone evaluated was scored for their last five opponents even if that was past the three year mark.
  •     Losses to rated opponents were given an inverse score, beginning with -1 for a champion down to -11.
  •     Losses to unrated opponents received a universal score of -12.
  •     Wins over unrated opponents were worth nothing.
  •     If there is a difference between a fighter’s Ring and TBRB rankings, the average of the two numbers was used (i.e. a win over a fighter rated second by one body and fifth by the other would be worth 7.5 pts).
  •     If a fighter was rated by only Ring or TBRB, half credit was given for a win based on the single rating. A loss total would come from an average of -12 and the point loss that would apply to the rating that was in place. 
  •     Moves between weight classes were adjusted for by taking into consideration the body weight shift between weight classes. In other words, if a rated Jr. welterweight jumped up to beat a rated welterweight, the math would work like this: 147/140 multiplied by the divisional rating score. It works in reverse for a win over a fighter rated lower (i.e. 160/168 multiplied by the smaller man’s rating in his class). In an over the weight class fight, the divisions the men were rated in were used.
  •     Fighters from a higher class are noted with a [+], from a lower [-], after the weight limit of their respective weight class. 
  •     The totals generated result in a rating. 
  •     Each fighter evaluated is given a score for how many unique wins they have against rated opponents; beating the same opponent twice counts for only one unique win. They are then rated based on unique wins with tiebreakers decided by whoever holds higher total points. The rating for total points and unique wins is averaged.
  •     That average score is then averaged against a rating for the score generated for each man’s last two wins. The top ten remaining after that is then reordered again by total overall score. The remainder of the list is not resorted.   
  •     All divisions were treated equally based on the idea fighters can only face the men in their division while they are there and all point totals were applied based on official results.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com