It's no secret that the world boxing scene has exploded and that many of the sport's biggest and best fighters are currently non-Americans. From Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko to Manny Pacquiao to the ever-present stars from Mexico, boxing is no longer a sport dominated at the highest levels by American talent.
Still, even in this age of boxing globalism, some foreign fighters just don't seem to get their proper level of respect and attention. Here are eight main stage foreign fighters overlooked by many fight fans:
Daniel Geale (29-1, 15 KOs)
Australia's middleweight kingpin has been on a killer three-year run and would still be a two-belt world titlist if not for a political boardroom decision by the WBA. Geale still has the IBF world title he took from Sebastian Sylvester in 2011 and recent victories over the likes of Anthony Mundine, Felix Sturm and Roman Karmazin. Geale is the clear no. 2 in the middleweight division, behind Sergio Martinez, but has yet to get the attention of some of the flashier, better-promoted 160-pound fighters.
Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KOs)
The UK's "Cobra" came up as a tough, but marginally skilled fighter whose long-term career prospects were relatively uncertain. However, Froch has spent the better part of five years fighting some of the best talent at 168 lbs. and has become a well-seasoned pro. Now, there's little doubt that the native of Nottingham could be a solid no. 2 in the 168 lb. division and is slowly working his way on to all-time great lists in the super middleweight class.
Yoan Pablo Hernandez (27-1, 13 KOs)
The Cuban-born German resident has earned the right to call himself an elite-level cruiserweight and is currently considered one of the division's very best. Recent wins over Troy Ross, Steve Cunningham, and Steve Herelius make the case for the tall, lanky southpaw and at 28 years of age, Hernandez is likely just beginning to enter his boxing prime.
Lucas Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs)
The heavy-handed battler from Argentina has been getting some recent attention as one of the junior welterweight division's best, but is still far from a household name to the casual fan. Dominant stoppage wins over recent opposition and highly-controversial losses against division elite (Devon Alexander, Zab Judah) make the case that Matthysse is one of the very best in the jam-packed 140 lb. class. Likely one fight removed from a world title shot against Danny Garcia, he'll get the chance to establish his dominance by year's end.
Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs)
These days, the heavyweight division is much-maligned and the favorite target of armchair boxing critics everywhere. In this atmosphere, a Bulgarian heavyweight contender can't help but be overlooked and underrated. But Pulev is a legitimate talent with a solid resume and an accomplished amateur career. The 6' 4" boxer just may be the most legitimate and immediate threat to the reign of the Klitschkos.
Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs)
A slick, cautious boxing stylist may not be the most popular type of Mexican fighter, but few can argue with Vazquez's level of success in recent years as a lightweight. With five defenses under his belt as IBF champ, the native of Guadalajara seems to be getting better as time progresses. On March 16 he faces another foreign-born fighter who could very well have made this list of overlooked boxers, Scotland's WBO lightweight champ, Ricky Burns.
Kazuto Ioka (11-0, 7 KOs)
With just eleven fights and four years as a pro, Japan's 23-year-old wunderkind has accomplished a career's worth of achievements. The former WBC and WBA strawweight champ just recently captured the "regular" WBA junior flyweight title and may be on a collision course with hard-hitting "super" junior flyweight titlist, Roman Gonzalez.
Roman Gonzalez (34-0, 28 KOs)
At 25 years of age, "El Chocolatito" is already a two-division world champ and may be one of the sport's best offensive fighters. Currently the WBA junior flyweight champ, the battler from Nicaragua may soon find himself in the ring with fellow 20-something overachiever, Kazuto Ioka.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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