Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11)
The real stalwart of the Minimumweight division is Japanese veteran Katsunari Takayama who has managed to do pretty much everything in the division during one of the longest and most decorated careers of any fighter in the divisions history.
The 31 year old "Lightning Kid" is the current WBO and IBF world champion and has previously held the WBC, WBA "interim" and Japanese titles. As well as those achievements he has also fought around the world with notable bouts in South Africa, Mexico and the Philippines.
As a fighter Takayama us everything a fan should love. He has boundless energy, insane heart, the desire to fight the best and the ability to be in exciting bouts with almost anyone. Those exciting contests included one of 2014's most amazing contests, his loss to Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
Although no one will suggest Takayama is one of the greatest ever fighters in the divisions his achievements are among the very best and he seems happy to try and improve them further as he hunts the WBA "regular" title.
The Long Term Unbeaten
Wanheng Menayothin (37-0, 12)
WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin has one of the sports longest unbeaten records and is actually one of the few active champions who is unbeaten and has been in more than 30 professional contests. Sadly though it's hard to know how good he really is.
Aged 29 Wanheng has been a professional since 2007 and has been in an amazing 25 "Title" bouts. Sadly just 2 of those 25 bouts have been world title contests. Whilst that sounds disappointing Wanheng has impressed and appears to have the ability to go a long way in the sport.
Stylistically Menayothin is a nightmare to fight as he combines Thai toughness with a tight defense and an intelligent, pressure based, offense that really makes him very difficult to fight. He's flawed in that he's somewhat slow but like Middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin he's incredibly intelligent in the ring.
At the moment Menayothin's plans are uncertain though we suspect he'll milk his title at home against a variety of pretenders, fringe contenders and an occasional mandatory
The Rising Star
Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2)
It may seem odd to see 4 fight novice Kosei Tanaka sitting beside the two experienced world champions but the chances are that Tanaka will, himself, become world title shortly and be sitting along with Wanheng and Takayama by right in the near future.
Aged just 19 Tanaka is widely viewed as a prodigy with the potential to set all sorts of records in a career destined for greatness. The confidence of his team has already been seen with Tanaka fighting 3 world ranked foes in his first 4 bouts and scoring a highly impressive victory over Ryui Hara in the most notable of those bouts.
Blessed with ridiculous speed, frightening accuracy and a wonderful boxing brain there is little wonder that Tanaka is tipped for the top. In the ring he often fights as a boxer-puncher but has shown an ability to do pretty much anything and some suspect we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.
From what we understand Tanaka's next bout will be a world title bout, possibly for a WBO belt. If that happens and Tanaka wins he will set a new Japanese national record for the fewest to a world title.
"The Wonderfully Named"
The best name in the division, by a long way, is Knockout CP Freshmart (9-0, 5) who is the current WBA interim champion and a 24 year old who is tipped to become something a bit special by those in the know in Thailand. We've yet to be convinced but her certainly the perfect name for a boxing star and his style is certainly not a bad one to watch. He's expected back in the ring in early March to defend his title against Indonesian veteran Muahmmad Rachman (65-11-5, 35)
"The Notable Non-Asian"
The most notable non-Asian fighter in the division is, without a doubt, WBA and IBO champion Hekkie Budler (27-1, 9). Budler, a highly skilled South African fighter, is said to be a target for both Takayama and Knockout and has already scored wins over Asian fighters Pigmy Kokietgym (KO8) and Xiong Zhao Zhong (UD12). Our next chance to see Budler is this coming weekend when he battles against Mexican Jesus Silvestre (20-5, 22) in a very good looking WBA Mandatory title fight.