Rau'shee Warren is the United States' best hope for a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games in London. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matt Mosley returns to Bad Left Hook today for a look forward to the coming Olympic games in London, and ranks the ten best fighters in the amateur game today.
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We had a look at some of the best amateur boxers and a few promising prospects in the three part series I did late last year.
As a follow on from that, here I have attempted to rank who i see as the 10 best amateurs in the world, regardless of weight.
I have based these P4P rankings on both accomplishments in major tournaments and on who I think are the most talented fighters.
I have also listed the 10 best in each weight class, according to the AIBA's latest rankings.
UK magazine Boxing News covers amateur boxing extensively and I have included their unofficial rankings, which they released this week, in the P4P list.
1/ Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) 23 years old, Lightweight - 60kgs/132lbs
How could it be anyone else? He has won the gold medal in all but one of the five major tournaments he has competed in, including the 2008 Olympics, the 2011 and 2009 World Championships, and the 2008 European Championships. In the 2007 Worlds he could only manage the silver.
The best amateur boxer that i've seen in recent years and one of the most sucessful ever, especially if he gets in the medals at London 2012. His inevitable arrival in the pros is something that should be looked forward to with excitement.
Ranked No. 3 at Lightweight by the AIBA, No. 1 by Boxing News.
2/ Zou Shiming (China) 30, Light-Flyweight - 49kgs/108lbs
This veteran of amateur boxing has won three of the last four World championships (2011, 2007, 2005) and claimed the silver in 2003. Add to that his gold at the last Olympics, his bronze in 2004, and his domination of the Asian Games and he could easily make a case for being No. 1 on this list. He's getting on in age a bit now though, especially for a minimum weight fighter, and could be ready to pass the torch on at this years Olympics. If he did manage to win another gold, or even get on the medal podium, he will surely go down as one the most dominant amateurs of all time. I am certain he is already one of the best ever in his weight class.
Ranked No. 3 at Light-Flyweight by the AIBA, No. 1 by Boxing News.
Shiming vs Santos Vasquez (USA):
3/ Misha Aloian (Russia) 23, Flyweight - 52kgs/115lbs
The current World champion and No. 1 ranked fighter at Flyweight. He will be the man to beat at London 2012 and fellow Flyweights Rau'shee Warren and Andrew Selby will be aiming to knock him off the top spot.
Easier said than done though. He's a very good fighter and still young and improving.
Ranked No. 1 at Flyweight by the AIBA, No. 1 by Boxing News.
Aloian vs Rau'shee Warren (USA):
4/ Domenico Valentino (Italy) 27, Lightweight - 60kgs/132lbs
Italy have produced some top amateurs over the years, and this guy is one of them. If only Lomachenko hadn't arrived in Valentino's era he would likely have even more titles to add to his gold, silver and 2 bronze at the last four World Championships. As it is he will just have to be content with being one of Italy's best ever, and he gets a another shot at Lomachenko in London, his old foe who beat him by 17-12 in last years Worlds semi-finals.
Ranked No. 2 at Lightweight by the AIBA, No. 4 by Boxing News.
Valentino vs. Frankie Gavin (England) (TURN YOUR SPEAKERS DOWN):
5/ Serik Sapiev (Kazakhstan) 28, Welterweight - 69kgs/152lbs
This guy is a proven amateur veteran, a two time World Champion (2005, 2007) who won the silver at last years Worlds, when losing in the final to the Ukrainian, Taras Shelestyuk (16-10), and the bronze in 2009. He has yet to get on the Olympic podium but with his pedigree and the fact that this year could be his last chance for Olympic glory, I'm sure he will be among the top 2 or 3 favourites for gold in his weight division.
Ranked No. 7 at Welterweight by the AIBA, No. 2 by Boxing News.
Sapiev vs. Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine):
6/ Andrew Selby (Wales) 23, Flyweight - 52kgs/115lbs
After watching Selby lose by one point (13-12) to Misha Aloian in the World's last year, I then watched him beat highly rated Englishman Khalid Yafai in the British ABA's/Olympic box-offs to see who would get the place for team GB in London. In a proposed best-of-three series Selby won the first fight quite handily, knocking Yafai down in the process, and when Yafai failed to make weight for the second fight, Selby won the series 2-0. This guy is a real talent and, as far as skills go, he's the best that Great Britain has to offer at this years Olympics, in my opinion. There is little to split Selby, Aloian and Rau'shee Warren as the best amateur Flyweights in the world.
Ranked No. 2 at Flyweight by the AIBA, No. 3 by Boxing News.
Selby vs Khalid Yafai (England) - British ABA's
7/ Lorenzo Alvarez (Cuba) 21, Bantamweight - 56kgs/123lbs
There has to be at least one Cuban in this top 10 list and Alvarez is the one I choose. Although, at the moment, their are several Cubans pretty much on a par with each other, Alvarez is the current World Champion and at or close to the top of the divisional rankings. His biggest threat in the Olympics could well come from England's Luke Campbell, who Alvarez beat 14-10 in the Worlds final. I'm sure the Cuban will be favourite with the bookies for the gold medal in London though.
Ranked No. 2 at Bantamweight by the AIBA, No. 1 by Boxing News.
Alvarez vs. Luke Campbell (England):
8/ Roberto Cammarelle (Italy) 31, Super-Heavyweight - +91kgs/over 200lbs
This solid, hard hitting Italian veteran may not have been as dominant of late in major championships (he went out on points - 15-13 - to England's Anthony Joshua in the World's quarter-finals) but he makes it on to this list due to his long list of past achievements. Gold at the last Olympics, bronze in 2004, gold at the Worlds in 2007 and 2009, bronze in 2004, and three silvers at numerous European Championships.
He's been there and done it all and this year's Olympics will very likely be his last. He may well go out with a bang.
Ranked No. 3 at Super-Heavyweight by the AIBA, No. 5 by Boxing News.
Cammarelle vs. David Price (England) - 2008 Olympic final:
9/ Rau'shee Warren (USA) 24, Flyweight - 52kgs/115lbs
Warren makes it here for two reasons:
1. He is just about to turn 25, yet has already placed in the medals in three of the last for World Championships, winning the gold in Chicago in 2007.
2. He boxes in one of, if not the best and most competitive divisions in the sport (along with the Lightweight and Light-Welterweight divisions), and consistently ranks highly. At last years World's he narrowly lost out in the semi finals (17-13) to Misha Aloian, who would go on to win the gold. Warren managed to attain the bronze for his efforts, but he will certainly be aiming for better in London, before he inevitably turns pro.
A fast, talented fighter and currently the USA's finest.
Ranked No. 12 at Flyweight by the AIBA, No. 2 by Boxing News.
Warren vs. Kalid Yafai (England):
10/ Denis Berinchyk (Ukraine) 23, Light-Welterweight - 64kgs/141lbs
A tough, hard nosed Ukrainian who you can tell just loves to fight. He's a pressure fighter and usually looks to get on the inside to land short hooks and uppercuts to the head and punishing body shots. He lost in the 2011 World's final to Everton Lopes of Brazil (in a fight I thought he just did enough to win), 26-23, in a foul filled contest which was none the less still very entertaining. Though relatively inexperienced compared to most of the others on this list, he makes it here both because of his style (he is impressive to watch) and because I think the he has a very bright future,whether in the amateurs or pros. I really hope he turns pro soon because I feel his style is much more suited to the paid ranks.
Ranked No. 7 at Light-Welterweight by the AIBA, No. 1 by Boxing News.
Berinchyk vs. Everton dos Santos Lopes (Brazil):
Honourable mention: Magomedrasul Medzhidov (Azerbaijan, Super-Heavyweight), Yasniel Toledo Lopez (Cuba, Lightweight), Anthony Joshua (England, Super-Heavyweight), Everton dos Santos Lopes (Brazil, Light-Welterweight), Albert Selimov (Russia, Lightweight), Luke Campbell (England, Bantamweight), Evhen Krytov (Ukraine, Middleweight), Olegsandr Usyk (Ukraine, Heavyweight), Artur Beterbiev (Russia, Heavyweight), Julio Cesar De La Cruz (Cuba, Light-Heavyweight), Jong Hun Shin (South Korea, Light-Flyweight), Roniel Iglesias (Cuba, Light-Welterweight), Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine, Welterweight).
AIBA Rankings By Division
(As of 01/01/12)
These are based on a points system so they may not always be in line with a fighter's true standing, or with my P4P rankings. Some top amateur fighters like Rau'shee Warren, for example, do not even make the AIBA top 10 at Flyweight, but i see these rankings as just a guide and should not be taken too seriously.
Boxing News issued their own rankings this week and they had Warren at No. 2 in his division, behind only Misha Aloian.
Super-Heavyweight (Over 200lbs)
1/ Magomedrasul Mehzidov (Azerbaijan)
2/ Filip Hrgovic (Croatia)
3/ Roberto Cammarelle (Italy)
4/ Anthony Joshua (England)
5/ Erislandy Savon (Cuba)
6/ Viktar Zuyeu (Belarus)
7/ Sergei Kuzmin (Russia)
8/ Doszhan Opsanov (Kazakhstan)
9/ Jorge Washington Quinonez Tenorio (Ecuador)
10/ Blaise Mendouo (Cameroon)
Heavyweight (91kgs/200lbs limit)
1/ Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan)
2/ Xuanxuan Wang (China)
3/ Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)
4/ Artur Beterbiev (Russia)
5/ Chouaib Bouloudinats (Algeria)
6/ Siarhei Karneyeu (Belarus)
7/ Mohammad Ghossoun (Syria)
8/ Julio Cesar Castillo Torres (Ecuador)
9/ Romarick Tangoum (Cameroon)
10/ Giancarlo Squillace (Australia)
1/ Julio Cesar La Cruz (Cuba)
2/ Damien Hooper (Australia)
3/ Joe Ward (Ireland)
4/ Egor Mekhontsev (Russia)
5/ Fanlong Meng (China)
6/ Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan)
7/ Hyeong Kyu Kim (South Korea)
8/ Ytalo Antonio Perea Castillio (Ecuador)
9/ Yahia Elmekachari (Tunisia)
10/ Dane Mulivai (Australia)
1/ Ievgen Khytrov (Ukraine)
2/ Ryota Murata (Japan)
3/ Darren O'Neill (Ireland)
4/ Maxim Koptyakov (Russia)
5/ Artem Chebotarev (Russia)
6/ Shuhrat Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)
7/ Jaime Jorge Cortez Padilla (Ecuador)
8/ Abdelmalek Rahou (Algeria)
9/ Bogdan Andrei Juratoni (Romania)
10/ Esquiva Falcoa Florentino (Brazil)
1/ Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine)
2/ Krishan Vikas (India)
3/ Freddie Evans (Wales)
4/ Imre Bacskai (Hungary)
5/ Myke Michel Carvalho (Brazil)
6/ Qiong Maitituersun (China)
7/ Serik Sapiev (Russia)
8/ David da Costa (Brazil)
9/ Hammond Cameron (Australia)
10/ Alexis Vastine (France)
1/ Thomas Stalker (England)
2/ Everton dos Santos Lopes (Brazil)
3/ Munkherdine Uranchimeg (Mongolia)
4/ Vicenzo Mangiacapre (Italy)
5/ Gyula Kate (Hungary)
6/ Gaybatulla Gadzhiallieyev (Azerbaijan)
7/ Denis Berinchyk (Ukraine)
8/ Ray Moylette (Ireland)
9/ Hrachik Javakhyan (Armenia)
10/ Roniel Iglesias (Cuba)
1/ Yasniel Toledo (Cuba)
2/ Domenico Valentino (Italy)
3/ Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine)
4/ Faith Keles (Turkey)
5/ Albert Selimov (Russia)
6/ Aydar Amirzakov (Kazkhstan)
7/ Abdelkader Chadi (Algeria)
8/ Luke Jackson (Australia
9/ Gani Zhaiilauov (Kazakhstan)
10/ Miklos Varga (Hungary)
1/ Anvar Yunusov (Tajikistan)
2/ Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba)
3/ Luke Campbell (England)
4/ John Joe Nevin (Ireland)
5/ Mohamed Ouadahi (Algeria0
6/ Veaceslav Gojan (Moldova)
7/ Denis Makarov (Germany)
8/ Roberto Navarro Gonzales (Dominican Republic)
9/ Detelin Stefanov Dalakliev (Bulgaria)
10/ Sergei Vodopiyanov (Russia)
1/ Misha Aloian (Russia)
2/ Andrew Selby (Wales)
3/ Elvin Mamishzade (Azerbaijan)
4/ Khalid Yafai (England)
5/ Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba)
6/ Vicenzo Picardi (Italy)
7/ Yong Chang (China)
8/ Juliao Neto (Brazil)
9/ Gibert Bactora (Mauritius)
10/ Jason Moloney (Australia)
1/ Jong Hun Shin (South Korea)
2/ Salman Alizada (Azerbaijan)
3/ Zou Shiming (China)
4/ David Ayrapetyan (Russia)
5/ Jose Linares (Spain)
6/ Yosbany Soto (Cuba)
7/ Patrick Barnes (Ireland)
8/ Carlos Pilataxi (Ecuador)
9/ Thomas Essomba (Cameroon)
10/ Purevdorj Serdamba (Mongolia)