With the cruiserweight division heating up, we look at the 10 best fights to be made at 200 pounds…
1 Jai Opetaia vs Lawrence Okolie
Most will say these are the top two cruiserweights in the world right now, so the best way to narrow it down to one would be for them to fight. Opetaia, as shown against Mairis Briedis, is a fine boxer, while Okolie might be the biggest puncher in the division.
2 Lawrence Okolie vs Richard Riakporhe
Two unbeaten Londoners with punch power in abundance, a big domestic clash between Okolie and Riakporhe in the nation’s capital would be explosive to say the least.
3 Jai Opetaia vs Chris Billam-Smith
Seemingly on the horizon in the near future, Opetaia’s manager, Dean Lonergan, was sitting ringside when Billam-Smith defeated Isaac Chamberlain last weekend and appears interested in making this fight for his champion.
4 Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis II
Given he travelled to Australia to defend his title, Briedis probably deserves a rematch with Opetaia at some point, particularly in light of the close nature of their first fight, as well as his solid reign as champion.
5 Ilunga Makabu vs Yuniel Dorticos
Makabu, the WBC belt-holder, and Dorticos, the former IBF belt-holder, are a couple of veteran cruiserweights who have paid their dues and fought a who’s who of the division. It’s only right they meet at some point.
6 Richard Riakporhe vs Chris Billam Smith II
These two first met in 2019, with Riakporhe taking a split division after 10 rounds. They have since then come on leaps and bounds, however, and with both now on the fringes of world-class it would be great to see them fight for a second time.
7 Sergey Kovalev vs Aleksei Papin
Now at cruiserweight following a long and successful career as a light-heavyweight, Kovalev could do worse than fight countryman Aleksei Papin if in need of a significant test at his new weight.
8 Krzysztof Głowacki vs Mateusz Masternak
With 86 pro fights between them, it’s a surprise Polish cruiserweights Głowacki and Masternak have never before met in the ring. However, with both men in the final stages of their respective careers, there is still time – just – to change that.
9 Thabiso Mchunu vs Badou Jack
Mchunu’s good recent form came to an end earlier this year when Ilunga Makabu beat him for a second time, while Jack, now 38, finds himself currently competing at cruiserweight following periods at light-heavyweight and super-middleweight.
10 Jack Massey vs Isaac Chamberlain
If Chamberlain is seeking a way back after last weekend’s punisher with Billam-Smith, he could aim for a fight against Jack Massey, someone who, at 20-1, has responded well from a close decision loss against Richard Riakporhe in 2019.