Wednesday, March 29, 2023  |



Ring Ratings Update: Japanese stars make moves

Fighters Network


There was a lot of interesting input from our Ring Ratings Panel this week even though there wasn’t much activity over the weekend and most of it took place in the lighter-weight divisions.

Some members of panel recommended that Javier Fortuna, a former RING-rated junior lightweight who recently dropped down to featherweight, be rated in the magazine’s 126-pound top 10 this week. In response to that, it was pointed out by other members that Fortuna was removed from the 130-pound ratings when it was clear that he would campaign at featherweight (following his unanimous decision over Patrick Hyland on Dec. 8) and that we should wait for him to beat someone better than Hyland.

It was also pointed out that the Fortuna-Hyland fight was not an exciting fight and to break a fighter in the rankings who hasn’t fought the previous few weekends seems too random. So, the decision has been made to weigh Fortuna’s merit again after his next fight.

Another point that was raised by some panel members was about rating fighters in multiple weight divisions. For clarification, we rate fighters in multiple weight divisions when they fight and succeed at a weight above their natural weight class. Floyd Mayweather Jr., who fights high-level bouts at welterweight and junior middleweight, and Juan Manuel Marquez, who has competed on the world-class level at junior welterweight and welterweight in recent bouts, both fall into that category.

In the junior lightweight division, Takashi Uchiyama beat Bryan Vasquez via eighth-round TKO on New Year’s Eve. Uchiyama (19-0-1, 16 knockouts), a WBA 130-pound beltholder who has stopped nine of his last 10 bouts (with a third-round technical draw with rugged Michael Farenas being the only non-stoppage), has proved that he’s best at this weight. The Japanese boxer-puncher, who is THE RING’s No. 1-rated 130 pounder, is heavy handed and strong. Vasquez, who was rated No. 10 prior to facing Uchiyama, did well early on before succumbing to Uchiyama’s pressure.

Uchiyama will remain No. 1 in our rankings and Vasquez will remain No. 10.

In the junior bantamweight division, Yota Sato impressively retained his WBC belt with wide points decision over previously unbeaten Ryo Akaho. Sato (26-2-1, 12 KOs), who was THE RING’s No. 3-rated 115 pounder prior to the fight, advances to No. 2 in the rankings on the strength of his decision over the No. 7-rated Akaho (19-1-2, 12 KOs), who now drops to No. 8.

On the same Tokyo card that featured Uchiyama and Sato, Japanese veteran Kohei Kono shocked Thailand’s formidable Tepparith Singwancha, who was rated No. 2 at junior bantamweight by THE RING, with a fourth-round stoppage. In light of the win, Kono (28-7, 11 KOs) will now be ranked No. 6, while Singwancha drops to No. 7. Kono, who picked up the vacant WBA 115-pound title with the TKO win, had lost three out of five coming in, so his stoppage over Singwancha is a major surprise warranting the revision in the rankings.

The new rankings in the junior bantamweight division is as follows:

1. Omar Narvaez

2. Yota Sato

3. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai

4. Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.

5. Carlos Cuadras

6. Kohei Kono

7. Tepparith Singwancha

8. Ryo Akaho

9. Rodel Mayol

10. Oleydong Sithsamerchai

On another New Year’s Eve card in Osaka, Japan, former WBC/WBA 105-pound titleholder Kazuto Ioka stopped once-beaten Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in six rounds in the main event. Ioka (11-0, 7 KOs) vacated the strawweight division to move up to junior flyweight as he could no longer make weight.

In the co-featured bout, unbeaten 108-pound contender Ryo Miyazaki (18-0-3, 10 KOs) won the vacant WBA 105-pound belt with a majority decision over tough Thai veteran Pornsawan Porpramook in his strawweight debut.

On strength of the Rodriguez stoppage, Ioka will be rated No. 5 in THE RING’s junior flyweight rankings, while Miyazaki (who was rated No. 7 at 108 pounds) will be moved to No. 8 in the magazine’s strawweight rankings. The new rankings are as follows:

Junior flyweight:

1. Roman Gonzalez

2. Donnie Nietes

3. Adrian Hernandez

4. Ulises Solis

5. Kazuto Ioka

6. Masayuki Kuroda

7. Kompayak Porpramook

8. Johnriel Casimero

9. Ryoichi Taguchi

10. Alberto Rossel


1. Moises Fuentes

2. Raul Garcia

3. Denver Cuello

4. Wanheng Menayothin

5. Mario Rodriguez

6. Nkosinathi Joyi

7. Akira Yaegashi

8. Ryo Miyazaki

9. Hekkie Budler

10. Carlos Buttrago

Photo / Toru Yamanka-AFP