Naoya Inoue will attempt to become a world champion in a fourth different weight class on July 25 when he faces WBC and WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Inoue will enter the ring with a pristine record of 24-0 with 21 of those victories coming by way of stoppage. He’s the first fighter to become an undisputed champion by knocking out every single major world title holder.
But he’ll be stepping into the ring against an opponent that has never been stopped in his professional career as “Cool Boy Steph” has a record of 21-0 and is a natural 122-pound fighter.
“The Monster” still plans on knocking him out.
The attribute of punching power is always welcome in professional boxing. For the fighters themselves, it gives them the chance to take matters out of the judges’ hands. For the promoters, it’s something that they can sell. For the fans, there’s nothing more exciting than a knockout artist.
But it’s not all about who hits the hardest.
To be an efficient knockout artist, you must possess qualities other than just power.
- How good are you at positioning yourself to punch?
- How versatile are your phases of attack?
- How effective are you at finishing an opponent when they’re badly hurt?
It’s very difficult to establish which fighter is best in these areas and opinions will always vary. The Sporting News now makes an earnest attempt at unveiling the top five consummate knockout artists in 2023:
5. Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs)
If this list was compiled a few years ago, Golovkin would be at the top or very near the top. But while the 40-year-old GGG is clearly in decline, he is still the unified middleweight champion of the world.
Golovkin has knocked out more opponents in world title fights than any active professional. The native of Kazakhstan is an irresistible puncher with perfect technique and – at his best – remarkable timing.
The downward left hook to the temple is a signature shot, and his jab is bone-breaking, but any punch GGG releases will cause pain if it lands cleanly.
4. Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs)
Davis has won a plethora of world title belts from 130 to 140 pounds. Some of those titles have been legitimate, some haven’t, but “Tank” is one of the best fighters in the world today – period.
The Davis left hand out of the southpaw stance is lethal, and his powerful right hook is a very quickly loaded punch. The Baltimore man also goes to the body well, and everything he throws is delivered with speed and snap.
It looks like Ryan Garcia is up next up in a lightweight super fight. If Davis, 28, can make his weaponry work against an elite-level talent in the prime of his career, then his pound-for-pound credentials will be undeniable.
3. Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs)
A decorated amateur, Beterbiev made a seamless transition to the pro ranks. The Russian knockout artist has stopped every prospect, contender, and champion he’s faced on his way to an immaculate unbeaten record.
The unified light heavyweight king has dynamite in both fists and he’s one of the most ruthless finishers in world boxing. Near-perfect fundamentals set up his chilling power, which has been responsible for halting 14 of 18 opponents in seven rounds or less.
MORE: Who is Artur Beterbiev?
On Saturday, the 38-year-old Beterbiev is a huge favourite to overcome Yarde. If he can retain his titles, then an undisputed championship fight with WBA counterpart Dmitry Bivol is one of the hottest fights in boxing.
2. Deontay Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs)
The former heavyweight king is perhaps the hardest single-punch hitter in boxing history. If “The Bronze Bomber” nails you with a flush right-hand shot, then don’t make any plans… for a month. That’s unless your name is Tyson Fury, of course.
What often goes unappreciated about Wilder is his positioning. He doesn’t just walk up and punch big guys when he feels like it – that doesn’t work in professional boxing. The Alabama star waits patiently, like a tiger in the grass, then uses his feet to set up the killer blow.
Wilder, 37, has floored every man he’s ever faced and only “The Gypsy King” has bedeviled him to this point. This man’s hitting power is nothing short of incredible.
1. Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs)
Inoue is the perfect blend of speed, power, and technique; attributes that allow him to diversify his knockouts brilliantly. If you check the highlight reel, Inoue has stopped opponents with left hooks, straight right hands, and body shots. And if you do manage to survive a direct hit, then the three-weight world champ’s combination work can be measured on the Richter scale.
Known as “The Monster,” the Japanese star has been knocking out opponents at the world level since 2014. He is more versatile than Wilder; more explosive than Beterbiev; has a better resume than Davis; and he’s on better form than Golovkin.
The 29-year-old Inoue, who recently relinquished the undisputed bantamweight crown in order to begin his journey collecting world titles at super bantamweight, is the ultimate knockout artist in 2023.
Published at Fri, 21 Jul 2023 04:30:03 +0000