Who are the 10 best cruiserweight boxers in the world at the moment?

Who are the 10 best cruiserweight boxers in the world at the moment?

Steve Njuguna
updated at December 14, 2023 at 11:18 AM

Cruiserweight is a weight category of boxing that is sandwiched between light heavyweight and heavyweight. The category was initially created for fighters who typically alternate between 168 and 200 lbs. This article delves into the best cruiserweight boxers in the world currently, according to popular rankings.

Best Cruiserweight boxers in the world
ai Opetaia celebrates during the IBF cruiserweight title fight in Sydney in July 2022. Photo by Peter Wallis
Source: Getty Images

The category is often reserved for fighters who either drop down from the heavyweight category or are slightly undersized to fight against opponents who weigh in excess of 250 pounds. The four main Cruiserweight title belts on offer are the International Boxing Federation title (IBF), the World Boxing Council (WBC) title, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the World Boxing Association (WBA) title.

Who are the top 10 cruiserweight boxers in the world right now?

The best Cruiserweight boxers as of November 2023 are determined by the current belt champions as well as their closest challengers. With stats and records from the latest news, we bring you the top 10 cruiserweight boxers in the world right now.

10. Richard Riakporhe "The Midnight Train"

With a reported weight of 202.0 lbs (91.6 kgs), the former British Champion Richard Riakporhe has been a high-level contender for the Cruiserweight title in the past five years. As of November 2023, he still has an unbeaten professional record, having fought 17 bouts and won all of them.

9. Mateusz Masternak 'The Master'

Polish boxer Masternak is a former European Cruiserweight champion and WBC Youth champion with an estimated weight of 198 lbs (89 kgs). He started his career in 2007 and has had 52 bouts as of November 2023, winning 47 of them.

Mateus Masternak
Masternak after winning the European Cruiserweight Championships in 2012. Photo by Lennart Press
Source: Getty Images

8. Ilunga Makabu

Junior Ikunga Makabu is a former 2x WBC World Cruiserweight Champion with a reported weight of 198 lbs (89 kgs). The Congolese-born South African national has fought 33 bouts in his professional career so far, losing only four of them.

Ilunga Makabu
Ilunga Makabu at a past press event. Photo by Alex Livesey
Source: Getty Images

7. Mairis Briedis ' The Latvian Punisher'

Latvia's Mairis Briedis is an experienced campaigner in the division, having won three World Cruiserweight titles from the IBF, WBO, and the WBC in a spell of dominance between 2018 and 2020. He is nicknamed 'The Latvian Punisher' and weighs in at 199 lbs (90 kgs). His professional record stands at 30 wins and two losses.

6. Badou Jack 'The Ripper'

Badou Jack with a weight of 199 lbs (90 kgs) in 2023, he is a Gambian-Swedish boxer who has competed across various different weight classes. He has previously held the WBA super-middleweight title and also the light-heavyweight title. He won the WBC Cruiserweight title in February 2023 and immediately vacated it to pursue the Bridgerweight title. He has a professional record of 34 fights, 28 wins, three losses, and three draws.

5. Lawrence Okolie

Okolie's latest weight is recorded as 199 lbs (90 kgs). He is a British Boxer who has achieved great success at both amateur and professional levels. He is a two-time Commonwealth Games Champion and held the WBO Cruiserweight title between 2021 and May 2023. He is one of the best British Cruiserweight boxers of all time.

Lawrence Okolie
The referee interacts with Lawrence Okolie during their WBO World Cruiserweight championship fight against Chris Billam-Smith in May 2023 in Bournemouth, England. Photo by Luke Walker
Source: Getty Images

Joint 1st. Noel Gevor (WBC Cruiserweight Champion)

Noel Mikhelian Gevor won the WBC Cruiserweight title in November 2023 after beating fellow challenger Ilunga Makabu from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 33-year-old Armenian has a professional record of 29 bouts with 27 wins and two losses.

Joint 1st. Chris Billam- Smith (WBO cruiserweight Champion)

Chris has held the WBO title since May 2023. As of November 2023, he is scheduled for a title defence on December 10, 2023, against Mateus Masternak of Poland. Chris is a former Commonwealth, European, and British Cruiserweight Champion. He has a career record of 19 bouts with 18 wins and one loss.

Joint 1st. Arsen Goulamirian (WBA cruiserweight Champion)

The unbeaten Arsen has been WBA champion since 2018. The Frenchman has had 27 career bouts, winning 18 of them by knockout and nine by decision. Due to his long duration at the top, Arsen is widely regarded as one of the best Cruiserweight boxers in history.

Arsen Goulamirian is one of the best cruiserweight boxers ever
Arsen Goulamirian attends the Sportel Awards Ceremony in October 2021 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Photo by Arnold Jerocki
Source: Getty Images

Joint 1st. Jai Opetaia (IBF cruiserweight Champion)

Australian sensation Jai has been the IBF Champion since 2022. He is a former World Junior boxing champion. Opetaia is unbeaten in his professional career with 23 bouts.

Is Oleksandr Usyk a cruiserweight?

Despite making his name in the weight category, Oleksandr Usyk no longer competes in the cruiserweight. He became a unified Cruiserweight Champion in 2019 after winning the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles, but he vacated the titles to compete in the heavyweight category, where he also won the four titles to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Oleksandr Usyk
Oleksandr Usyk after beating Thabiso Mchunu of South Africa to win the WBO Cruiserweight title at The Forum on December 17, 2016 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How
Source: Getty Images

How much is cruiserweight in boxing?

Cruiserweight boxers typically weigh between 168 lbs (76 kg) and 200 pounds (91 kg). This differs from other disciplines, such as MMA, where Cruiserweight occupies the limits of 205 lbs (93kg) to 225 lbs (102 kg).

Origins of the cruiserweight category

The origin of the cruiserweight division can be traced back to a time when there was a noticeable size disparity between the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. The creation of the cruiserweight division aimed to provide a more level playing field for fighters who were too big for light heavyweight but not large enough to compete with the much heavier heavyweight contenders.

The cruiserweight division was officially recognized in the early 1980s. The first major cruiserweight title fight took place on March 31, 1984, when Marvin Camel faced Roddy MacDonald for the IBF cruiserweight title. Camel won the bout and became the inaugural champion of the division.

Who is the best cruiserweight boxer in the world right now?

The subject of who holds the reins as the number one Cruiserweight boxer in the world right now is still up in the balance as four different men hold the four respective Cruiserweight belts. As of November 2023, Arsen Goulamirian holds the WBA title, Noel Gevor holds the WBC title, Jai Opetaia holds the IBF title, and Chris Billam-Smith holds the WBO title. There is no undisputed champion who has unified the belts.

Final words

The cruiserweight category remains one of the most competitive in modern boxing, especially with more boxers preferring to avoid the huge sluggers in the heavyweight category. The best cruiserweight boxers in the world are all in a relentless pursuit to challenge for and unify the four belts to become the undisputed champion.

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Steve Njuguna photo
Steve Njuguna
Steve Njuguna is a media professional with close to a decade of experience in the sports media industry. He has previously worked as a sports journalist with Bamba Sports TV, Vybez Radio and The Nairobian newspaper.