Divisional rankings: Light heavyweight

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in the weight class he is ranked No. 1.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through Dec. 18. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

More divisional rankings

Heavyweight - Cruiserweight - Light heavyweight - Super middleweight

Middleweight - Junior middleweight - Welterweight - Junior welterweight

Lightweight - Junior lightweight - Featherweight - Junior featherweight

Bantamweight - Junior bantamweight - Flyweight - Junior flyweight/Strawweight


1. Adonis Stevenson (29-1)

Quebec's Stevenson's has made eight successful defenses, including on June 3 when he pulverized Andrzej Fonfara, as expected, in a rematch of Stevenson's hard-fought decision win in 2014. But Fonfara is not the same fighter now as he was then and Stevenson dropped him hard in the first round and nearly knocked him out before stopping him in the second round of an utter mismatch. Stevenson, the lineal champion who has nonetheless avoided the top challenges, is supposed to next face mandatory challenger Eleider "Storm" Alvarez (23-0), who won on the undercard. But yet another step-aside deal was made so Stevenson can fight face former titlist Badou Jack (21-1-3) in early 2018.
Next: TBA vs. Jack

2. Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1)
Kovalev, a punching machine from Russia, lost his three belts to Andre Ward by controversial decision in an excellent fight in November 2016, then suffered an eighth-round knockout in the rematch on June 17. Kovalev, who fired longtime trainer John David Jackson and replaced him with Abror Tursunpulatov, bounced back against Ukraine's Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1) on HBO on Nov. 25, destroying him, as expected, in two rounds. Kovalev dropped him three times and regained one of the belts Ward vacated upon his retirement. Kovalev will make his first defense against Germany-based Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1) on HBO after Sullivan Barrera turned down the fight.
Next: March 3 vs. Mikhalkin

3. Sullivan Barrera (21-1)
Since losing a lopsided decision to Andre Ward in March 2016, Cuban defector Barrera has bounced back to win four fights in a row, including on Nov. 25 when he survived a first-round knockdown for the second fight in a row to rout Felix Valera. He was offered a title shot against Sergey Kovalev next but turned it down to take less money to challenge titlist Dmitry Bivol (12-0). on Kovalev's next undercard.
Next: March 3 vs. Bivol

4. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0)
Gvozdyk, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist for Ukraine who had around 250 amateur fights, has moved quickly since turning pro in 2014. In November, he made longtime contender and former world title challenger Isaac Chilemba to quit on his stool after the eighth round of a one-sided fight and in April he destroyed rugged Cuban contender Yunieski Gonzalez in the third round. He returned Aug. 19 on ESPN and knocked out Craig Baker in a one-sided fight. He was ordered to face Marcus Browne (20-0) in a title eliminator, but Browne backed out of the talks. Instead, he has been ordered to face Eleider "Storm" Alvarez (23-0) for a vacant interim title. Gvozdyk's next bout is slated to be on a Top Rank ESPN card.
Next: Feb. 16 vs. TBA

5. Artur Beterbiev (12-0)
Two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev was due meet Germany's Enrico Koelling in a title eliminator to determine one of Andre Ward's mandatory challengers but when Ward retired and vacated his three belts in September, the fight was sanctioned for one of the titles he relinquished. Beterbiev and Koelling met Nov. 11 on a Top Rank ESPN card and Beterbiev dominated Koelling, who was in survival mode from the start. But Beterbiev eventually got him and kept his knockout record perfect by stopping him in the 12th round to win a vacant world title.
Next: TBA

6. Badou Jack (21-1-3)
On Jan. 14, Jack retained his super middleweight title by slugging it out in a draw with James DeGale in a unification fight. Days later, Jack, as planned even before the bout, vacated his title to move up to light heavyweight, where he challenged secondary titlist Nathan Cleverly on Aug. 26 on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard and authored a very impressive fifth-round knockout victory. Less than a month after the fight, Jack vacated the belt and will next challenge world champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1) in early 2018.
Next: TBA vs. Stevenson

7. Eleider "Storm" Alvarez (23-0)
Alvarez, a 2008 Olympian from Colombia fighting out of Montreal, earned a mandatory shot against world champion (and fellow Montreal fighter) Adonis Stevenson by virtue of his close decision win against Isaac Chilemba in a November 2015 title eliminator, but the title fight has been repeatedly delayed, though Alvarez has stayed busy with four more wins, including against Montreal's two biggest -- but faded -- boxing stars, a fifth-round knockout of former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute in February and a decision against former champion Jean Pascal on June 3 on Stevenson's undercard. The title fight was supposed to be in January but he made yet another step-aside deal to allow Stevenson to fight former titlist Badou Jack instead. Alvarez instead if likely to face UUkrainian contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0) for a vacant interim title with the winners of each fight ordered to meet.
Next: TBA

8. Dmitry Bivol (12-0)
With Andre Ward retiring and vacating his "super" title and Badou Jack vacating the secondary title, Russia's Bivol was elevated to a full titleholder and made his first defense on Nov. 4 in Monte Carlo, where he made his HBO in a first-round blowout of absurdly underqualified Trent Broadhurst of Australia. A mandatory defense against Sullivan Barrera (21-1) is on deck and will take place on HBO on the undercard of light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev's next bout with the winner on a collision course with Kovalev.
Next: March 3 vs. Barrera

9. Joe Smith Jr. (23-2)
In 2016, Smith, a construction worker by trade, scored two major upsets. First he drilled Andrzej Fonfara in the first round, a victory that propelled him into a much bigger fight in December, when he was hand-picked as the opponent for the great Bernard Hopkins' retirement fight. Smith struck again with an upset as he viciously knocked Hopkins out of the ring in an eighth-round knockout victory to send B-Hop into retirement with the first stoppage loss of his 28-year career. But in his July return, Smith scored a first-round knockdown against Sullivan Barrera but lost the rest of the fight in a clear decision, though he showed heart to battle through a broken jaw for most of the bout.
Next: TBA

10. Marcus Browne (20-0)
A 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, New York, Browne is on the doorstep of a world title opportunity. He scored impressive knockout wins in both of his 2017 fights, a sixth-round stoppage of former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. in February and a second-round annihilation of previously undefeated Seanie Monaghan in July. He's been ordered to face German-based Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1) in a title eliminator to produce the mandatory challenger for Artur Beterbiev, but Mikhalkin withdrew from talks because he got a title shot against Sergey Kovalev. So Browne will fight somebody else on the Errol Spence Jr.-Lamont Peterson undercard.
Next: Jan. 20 vs. TBA