With four major boxing world titles as the standard now, the paper world champion has become a fixture of the sport.* Most of these paper champions are of what I like to call the fringe contender category: boxers who are capable of beating journeymen most (but not all!) of the time, but are woefully incapable against any Top 10 level fighter.
As a rule, these guys enjoy decent title reigns only if they stick to their home turf and have the political connections necessary to ensure no world class challengers find their way into mandatory challenger status. What is more, as weak champions their title reign is always in danger even from journeyman, as a bad training camp or a lack of focus can even the playing field against even pedestrian opposition.
Every year sees a handful of these titlists lose their crown, and in no particular order, I see these five as topping the list of the weakest champions in boxing today.
- Beibut Shemenov: A former Kazakh Olympian, Shumenov has good technique, but he came to the pros late, is already 30, and has pretty much peaked. The WBA has him safe and sound for now, since I don’t see any real threats among their Top 10, but he had better steer clear of the real contenders in the talent deep light heavyweight division.
- Takashi Miura: The current owner of the WBC super featherweight title is a fringe contender at best, and there are better guys standing below him on the WBC’s rankings. His days are numbered.
- Kiko Martinez: The IBF’s super bantamweight champ beat the highly touted, undefeated Jhonatan Romero, which just shows how shielded Romero was. He’s nothing special, and if he wants a long reign he had best stay close to home in Spain.
- Liborio Solis: The Venezuelan worked his way into his WBA super flyweight title the hard way, and it’s not that he’s a bad fighter. However, he faces some very stiff competition out of Thailand and Japan, and it’s hard to see him staying atop his perch for long.
- Alberto Rossel: The WBA interim light flyweight champion has already had some close calls, and this without even stepping out of his Peruvian backyard. If he hangs on to that interim belt long enough to convert it to regular status (for whatever that is worth), it will be a minor miracle.
* And the four major sanctioning bodies does not even include the WBA’s scandalous hijinks, which often have as many as three beltowners — super, regular, and interim — claiming their world title at the same time!