Here we look at the best 5 current fighters to have not won a world title, we have only selected fighters from the main four sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF & WBO). We also aren’t including Interim champions.
Ola Afolabi (20-3-4, 9 knock outs) The English born, American based cruiserweight has been a pro for the better part of 12 years. He learned his trade at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard gym in Hollywood, Calif. where he got regular work with James Toney, something that undoubtedly rubbed off on him. After stopping former WBA cruiserweight champion Orlin Norris, he was away from boxing for 2½ years.
When he returned he saw off previously unbeaten Eric Fields in ten rounds, after one more win he took on Enzo Maccarinelli for the Interim WBO title. Behind on points entering the ninth round he unleashed a crunching over hand right that dropped Maccarinelli flat on his back, though the Welshman rose, he was clearly in trouble and the fight was waved off.
Nine months later he met Marco Huck for the full title, losing a close competitive unanimous decision. After four more wins he took apart Valery Brudov in five rounds on the Wladimir Klitschko-Jean Marc Mormeck undercard. That set up a Huck rematch, this time the judges couldn’t separate the pair on the cards. After a thirteen month hiatus they met in the rubber match, losing a majority decision.
While he went 0-2-1 verses Huck, losing by a 16 point spread over the three bouts combined, showing he deserves to be in the thick of things with the very best the cruiserweight division has to offer. With the Huck trilogy in the past, he hopes to work himself into a another opportunity with one of the other champions, currently ranked WBC #10. WBA #5 & IBF #6 so a fourth opportunity may not be to far off.
Martin Murray (25-1-1, 11 knock outs) Arguably the most unlucky fighter in world boxing, having come out of relative obscurity to win the British & Commonwealth middleweight titles he surprisingly got the call to face WBA 160 champion Felix Sturm two years ago. Little was expected of him, however he went out and fought Sturm to a standstill, getting a draw on the scorecards away from home in Germany.
Two more victory’s followed, including one to win the WBA interim title, before he was selected as the opponent for Sergio Martinez in Argentina. He was brought in as a sacrificial lamb, unperturbed he headed into the lions den, infront of somewhere in the region of 50,000 Argentinean’s all baying for blood. Murray stepped up to the plate giving "Maravilla" all he could handle, dropping the universally recognised numero uno middleweight on the planet in the eighth innings.
A lack of genuine world class experience probably cost Murray the victory in Argentina. He’ll have learned from both the Sturm & Martinez fights. Was due to face Garth Wood in Australia this December only for it to be called off when Anthony Mundine-V-Shane Mosley was rescheduled. Murray was due to fight on the Carl Froch-V-George Groves undercard only to come down with a viral condition, summing it up by saying "If it wasn’t for bad luck, i’d have no luck at all."
Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 knock outs) After a tremendously successful amateur record that culminated with the slick southpaw winning gold at the 2005 World Championships. He elected to abdicate Cuba in 2008 with Guillermo Rigondeaux ahead of the Olympics in which he’d have been a firm favourite to repeat his success from Myangyang.
As a pro, he first came to peoples attention when he was employed as chief sparring partner for Ricky Hatton’s fight with Manny Pacquiao. By 2011 he has served his apprenticeship and met Carlos Molina, appearing somewhat fortunate to escape with a draw.
Next time out he was the unlucky one, having in most peoples view done enough to outpoint Paul Williams, thus taking the first big scalp as a pro he was on the wrong end side of two of the judges cards, losing a majority decision. To add insult to injury Lara suffered a hairline fracture of his cheek that meant he had to drive back from Atlantic City to his home in Miami.
Since then Lara has managed to drill Ronald Hearns in a single round, win a decision over Freddy Hernandez, before being involved in a technical decision with Vanes Martirosyan. Earlier this summer he managed to get past the hard charging Alfredo Angulo, surviving two knock downs to rally and stop Angulo in the tenth.
Lara seems a hot and cold guy, on his day he’s a nightmare for anyone, he’s got several first round stoppages but if a fight goes longer he has in the past struggled, the Austin Trout fight will go a long way to determining his future.
Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 knock outs & 1 no contest) The Argentinean punching machine comes from breeding, most of his family at some point boxed.
Having previously come up short against Zab Judah & Devon Alexander, though giving them all they could handle before losing controversial decisions in their back yards.
Last year he served notice to the light welterweight division smashing his way past poor Humberto Soto and then Ajose Olesegun to claim the WBC Interim crown. Those wins set him up for another Showtime date this time against Mike Dallas, though "The Machine" was a big favourite to win it was the manner in which he almost decapitated Dallas in the opening round.
In May Matthysse took on WBA counterpart Lamont Peterson, both agreed to fight at 141 so neither would put up their respective titles. After a slow first round Matthysse lit Peterson up in the second round before closing the show in eye opening jaw dropping fashion.
The win allowed Matthysse to challenge Danny Garcia for the full WBC championship, though he put up a solid effort Garcia surprised most experts winning a close unanimous decision. Though Matthysse lost, he’s still recognised as the second best light welterweight on the planet and among the best 20/30 fights in the world.
Hekkie Budler (24-1, 7 knock outs) The 25 year old South African has been a pro since 2007, fighting at light flyweight winning the IBO crown on a majority decision over Juanito Rubillar in early 2010, four months later "The Hexecutioner" bested the Filipino in a rematch this time by the slimmest of margins of a split decision. Struggled in his American debut, eking out another split decision, this time over journeyman Evaristo Primero. His luck ran out against fellow South African Gideon Buthelezi, this time he was on the receiving end of a split decision.
Following the loss Budler, dropped 3 pounds heading to boxing lightest weight division. You wouldn’t think those couple of pounds would make such a difference but Budler seems to have come into his own beating noted pair Michael Landero UD12 & former IBF ruler Florante Condes UD12. Earlier this year he made a huge statement beating countryman, former champion and pre-fight favourite Nkosinathi Joyi, albeit by a close you guessed it split decision. Collected the WBA Interim crown beating up Hugo Verchelli in the process. Currently ranked #2 by RING magazine and edging towards the number one slot.
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