Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |



Ring Ratings Update: Vazquez advances

Fighters Network

This past weekend was a busy one in comparison to recent weeks but the action barely effected THE RING ratings.

Three RING-ranked titleholders successfully defended their alphabet trinkets on Friday and Saturday but only one advanced in the magazine’s rankings. The two fighters who did not move in the rankings couldn’t do so because they are already atop their respective divisions. (However, even if they weren’t the top contenders of their weight classes, the caliber of their opponents this past weekend would not have merited advancement.)

Vitali Klitschko maintained his No. 1 heavyweight ranking after a brutal shutout decision over unranked Shannon Briggs in a title defense Saturday in Hamburg, Germany.

Lucian Bute kept his No. 1 super middleweight ranking with ninth-round KO of unranked Jesse Brinkley in a one-sided mandatory title defense Friday in Montreal.

Only Puerto Rico’s junior featherweight standout Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., who successfully defended a 122-pound title by stopping unranked former 115-pound titleholder Ivan Hernandez in Kissimmee, Fla., on Saturday, moved ahead in THE RING’s rankings.

Vazquez (20-0-1, 17 knockouts), the son of the former three-division titleholder of the same name, advanced from No. 9 to No. 8, trading places with Satoshi Honsono.

Not all of the name fighters in action over the weekend were RING contenders or titleholders. Former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver, who was recently dropped from the magazine’s rankings because of inactivity, returned to the ring as a 220-pound heavyweight and outpointed Nagy Aguilera over 10 rounds Friday in Miami, Okla.

Tarver (28-6, 19 KOs), who was THE RING’s longest reigning contender (more than 10 years) at the time he was dropped, looked sharp in outboxing the bigger and younger man but not good enough to earn a spot in heavyweight ratings.

“Even though former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver was successful in his heavyweight debut, winning a decision over Nagy Aguilera was not enough to crack THE RING’s Top 10,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “Should Tarver continue to fight well at his new weight, he would certainly be given serious consideration in the future.”