The Best Cruiserweight Boxers: Masters of the Division

Latest Update / Sep 18,2023

The cruiserweight division, historically overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of the heavyweight category, has seen a resurgence in recent years. Positioned between the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, cruiserweights offer a thrilling mix of speed, skill, and power. Let's explore some of the best cruiserweight boxers currently dominating the scene.

The Current Champions

Jai Opetaia (IBF Champion): Born in 1995, Opetaia's boxing journey began early. He comes from a boxing background, with his father and uncle both having fought professionally. Opetaia made headlines when he qualified for the 2012 London Olympics at just 16 years old, becoming Australia's youngest-ever Olympic boxer. His southpaw stance and combination of speed and power have troubled many opponents, making him one to watch in the division.

Chris Billiam-Smith (WBO Champion): Chris Billam-Smith, also known as "The Gentleman", is a British professional boxer competing in the cruiserweight division. Since making his professional debut, Billam-Smith has showcased not only his boxing skills but also his sportsmanship, which earned him his nickname. Hailing from Bournemouth, England, Billam-Smith has proven to be a rising star in the cruiserweight division. His bouts are characterized by a blend of tactical boxing and raw power, making him a fan favorite.

Badou Jack (WBC Champion):  Badou Jack, known as "The Ripper", is a Swedish professional boxer who has competed in both the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Born in Stockholm in 1983, Jack has consistently been a figure of prominence in boxing since turning pro. Jacks most notable achievements include winning the WBC super middleweight title and later capturing the WBA light heavyweight title.

Arsen Goulamirian (WBA Champion): The French-Armenian boxer Arsen Goulamirian is another name that has steadily climbed the cruiserweight rankings. With an unbeaten record and impressive performances against notable opponents, Goulamirian has showcased his prowess in the ring time and again. His meticulous approach to bouts, combined with his ability to adjust strategies on the fly, makes him a tough opponent for anyone in the division.

Some Notable Cruiserweight Boxers

Mairis Briedis: The Latvian powerhouse, Mairis Briedis, is a name that resonates at the top of the cruiserweight division in recent years. Briedis has faced some of the division's top talents and emerged victorious, boasting an impressive record. His technical prowess, combined with his ability to deliver knockout punches, makes him one of the most formidable cruiserweights today.

Yuniel Dorticos: Hailing from Cuba, a country known for producing boxing legends, Yuniel "The KO Doctor" Dorticos has made a significant impact in the cruiserweight scene. With a high knockout ratio, Dorticos lives up to his nickname. His punch power and ability to finish fights have earned him a spot among the elite in the division.

Lawrence Okolie: The British sensation Lawrence Okolie has made waves in the cruiserweight division with his impressive reach, agility, and power. Transitioning from a successful amateur career, Okolie has showcased his dominance, winning bouts decisively. His rapid rise to the top echelons of the division is a testament to his talent and dedication to the sport.

Ilunga Makabu: Representing the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ilunga Makabu's name is synonymous with resilience. Over the years, he has bounced back from setbacks and climbed the cruiserweight ladder. Known for his sturdy chin and potent punching power, Makabu has delivered numerous memorable bouts, cementing his place among the best.

Krzysztof Glowacki: The Polish boxer, Krzysztof Glowacki, has been a mainstay in the cruiserweight elite list. His blend of technical boxing, combined with his ability to slug it out, has endeared him to fans worldwide. Over the years, Glowacki has faced off against top talents in the division, with several notable victories under his belt.

Thabiso Mchunu: South Africa's Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu is known for his technical boxing skills and ability to outclass opponents with his movement and ring IQ. While he may not have the highest knockout ratio, Mchunu's tactical approach to boxing has earned him victories against several top contenders in the division.

Evolution of the Cruiserweight Division

It's essential to understand the path the cruiserweight division has taken to appreciate the current talents fully. Historically, the cruiserweight division was seen as a mere stepping stone for fighters looking to make a mark in the heavyweight boxing category. Names like Evander Holyfield began their illustrious careers here before moving up. But the present-day champions and contenders have carved out their legacy, making the division a powerhouse in its own right. Boxing, as a sport, has always seen talents emerging from specific pockets of the world. While the U.S., UK, and Mexico have been traditional powerhouses, the cruiserweight division has spotlighted talents from regions like Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Baltic nations. These fresh talents bring with them unique fighting styles, techniques, and narratives, enriching the division's tapestry.

One cannot deny the impact of media and big boxing promotions in elevating the cruiserweight division. Platforms like DAZN, ESPN, and Showtime have showcased some epic cruiserweight battles, granting the division its long-overdue recognition. The increased media coverage means that these fighters are now global names, with fans spanning continents.

The Future: Potential Mega Fights

With the division being closely contested, there are several potential mega-fights on the horizon. Unification bouts, rematches, and cross-promotion fights can set the stage for some memorable nights for boxing fans. As we've seen with the likes of Briedis, Dorticos, and Okolie, the appetite for big fights is there. Promoters and managers will surely be working behind the scenes to make these dream matchups a reality. One aspect that drives the popularity and interest in any sport, especially boxing, is the storylines and rivalries that develop over time. The cruiserweight division is ripe with these narratives. Regional rivalries, rematches stemming from controversial decisions, and tales of redemption provide added layers to the spectacle inside the ring.

The Training Revolution


boxer punching a bag with boxing gloves


Modern-day cruiserweights are benefiting from advancements in training methodologies and sports science for improving punching power and rehabilitation from injuries. Nutrition, recovery techniques, and specialized training camps tailor-made for opponents have leveled up the performance of these athletes. Their ability to harness these tools is evident in the stamina, strength, and tactical depth we witness in their fights. The cruiserweight division is bustling with talent from various parts of the world. The current crop of boxers has revitalized interest in the category, with several thrilling bouts and rivalries keeping fans on the edge of their seats. The landscape of boxing is ever-evolving, and with young talents emerging, the cruiserweight division promises even more action-packed fights in the near future.

Current Cruiserweight Rankings

According to boxing rankings, these are the top cruiserweight boxers right now:

1. Jai Opetaia

2. Mairis Briedis

3. Chris Billiam-Smith

4. Yuniel Dorticos

5. Badou Jack


The present era of cruiserweight boxing is filled with fighters who bring a mix of technical skills, power, and agility to the ring. As the division continues to grow in popularity and stature, fans can look forward to more classic bouts that will go down in boxing history. The names mentioned above are currently the torchbearers of the division, but as with all sports, new talents will emerge, and the rankings will shift. However, one thing remains constant: the cruiserweight division promises unparalleled entertainment for boxing enthusiasts.