Coming up Saturday night in Las Vegas Vasyl Lomachenko will attempt to become the Undisputed world lightweight champion, as he battles American Devin Haney in a scheduled 12-round pay-per-view.
Lomachenko, 17-2, 11 KOs, is the former three division world champion taking on the unbeaten American lightweight king in the on the best matchups of the first half of 2o22.
The highly anticipated bout is an opportunity for Lomachenko to regain status in the 135-lb. division that he held until his upset loss in October 2020 to Teofimo Lopez. That night in the Las Vegas “bubble” during the Covid-19 craziness, Lomachenko was beaten on a 12-round decision by Lopez and that took away his WBA/IBF/WBO championships.
However, up until that time it was widely believed that Lomachenko was the most accomplished current fighter of European descent. After all, he had won 12 consecutive title outs in three weight classes.
So, if you were ranking a sort of Euro “pound for pound” list for now, how and where would Loma stack up?
European Boxers Pound for Pound List: Where does Lomchenko rank?
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Obviously his Ukrainian Countryman Oleksandr Usyk would head the current list of any top European fighter in the sport. This as he holds three of the heavyweight championship belts from the IBF, WBO and WBA.
Usyk, 20-0, 13 KOs, who’s the former Olympic Gold Medalist and undisputed cruiserweight champ, beat Brit Anthony Joshua, not once but twice, by convincing decisions in 2021 and 2022 and is still aiming for an undisputed shot with WBC heavyweight champion and number two on this “pound for pound” tally, Tyson Fury.
The Brit Fury, 33-0-1, 24 KOs is the unbeaten former lineal champ, who twice knocked out arguably the most dangerous puncher in the sport in former WBC champion Deontay Wilder in 2020 and 2021. He has also defended the title twice by defeating fellow countrymen Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora in his two latest defenses.
The belief is that Fury and Usyk will meet by the end of 2023 or early 2024 in the first ever four belt undisputed heavyweight title clash.
The Scotsman at the top of Boxing
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More consideration on the “Top current Euro fighter” sheet has to go with current unbeaten 140 lb. WBO world champion Josh Taylor. Taylor, 19-0, 13 KOs, previously held all four belts at junior welterweight becoming the first ever Undisputed Champion in the four belt era in that division.
The Glasgow native accomplished the feat with his decision win over American Jose Ramirez in their Undisputed title fight in 2021. Taylor had also previously beaten unbeaten American Regis Prograis in a dramatic October 2019 finale; to the World Boxing Super Series tournament taking Prograis’ WBA World Championship. Taylor has since defended his undisputed crown once beating Englishman Jack Catterall by narrow decision in his home country. But, he then chose to vacate three of the titles only leaving him as WBO champ.
Now, Taylor has his sights set in June on fighting the former lightweight triple belt holder Lopez at Madison Square Garden in one of the signature fights of this Summer.
Is the European Female Pound for Pound Title Up for Grabs?
Another current champion that deserves serious conversation on our “pound for pound aboard” list…is….wait for it….a broad.
Unbeaten Irish undisputed women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor has to be given consideration. Taylor, 22-0, 6 KOs and the former Olympic gold medalist for Ireland, has all four 135 lb. women’s titles and won a dramatic title defense decision last May over Puerto Rican seven division champ, Amanda Serrano. That bout at Madison Square Garden is arguably the most lucrative and prominent women’s world title fight ever.
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Now, Katie Taylor vs Chantelle Cameron (17-0) is ready to go down. The undisputed women’s junior welterweight queen will give a tough test in Ireland in one of the most prominent women’s fight in the history of U.K. women’s boxing.
The Best Russian Boxers
There can also be an argument made that Russian-born light heavyweight unified champion Artur Beterbiev deserves consideration on this list. This, as Beterbiev owns the WBC/IBF/WBO titles and has a perfect record of 19 – 0 19 KOs. However, Beterbiev no longer fights in Europe and instead has lived and trained full time in Montreal Quebec, Canada for almost a decade.
For that reason, he can’t really be considered as much “European,” as much as he is North American..
Meanwhile, WBA light heavyweight champion and fellow Russian Dmitry Bivol, 21-0, 11 KOs also deserves consideration on any “pound for pound” list of current European Fighters. This is especially after his May 2021 decision upset of one of the top names in the sport, Canelo Alvarez.
Bivol has defended his WBA Championship number of times and is aiming for an Undisputed shot with his countryman Beterbiev.
The Best non-champ in Europe
Now, arguably the second most intriguing non-champion in Europe, besides Lomachenko, is former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The English big puncher is 25-3, 22 KOs, and previously amassed the WBA/IBF/WBO titles throughout his heavyweight run before American Andy Ruiz dethroned him in June of 2019 by KO. Joshua regained his titles six months later via decision over the lightly regarded Ruiz. However, as mentioned above, Usyk beat Joshua not once but twice, and has Joshua at a crossroads of whether or not he can get back to the highest level of fighting?
That’s not unlike what Lomachenko will be going for in the Las Vegas ring with the unbeaten American Haney on Saturday.