Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Ring Ratings Update: Romero enters the junior featherweight rankings



Heavyweight contender Denis Boytson dropped in THE RING ratings for inactivity and for facing sub-par opposition in recent years. Photo / Christof Koepsel-Bongarts


The past week was a busy one resulting in some movement in THE RING ratings.

RING-rated heavyweight Dennis Boytsov won an eight-round decision over Samir Kurtagic (11-6, 8 knockouts). This was Boytsov’s first fight in 10 months, and only the sixth time the 27-year-old Russian has fought since the start of 2010 due to injuries and promotional problems. Because his opposition during the last three-plus years has consisted of faded former fringe contenders and journeymen, Boytsov will drop from No. 7 to No. 8, switching spots with former beltholder Ruslan Chagaev.

We will also re-evaluate No. 9-rated Chris Arreola, who hasn’t fought in 12 months, following his WBC title-elimination bout with Bermane Stiverne on March 9.

At super middleweight, No 8-rated Sakio Bika had a solid win over previously unbeaten Nikola Sjekloca, who was unrated by THE RING. There are no changes in the 168-pound rankings.

Unranked middleweights Matt Korobov and Delvin Rodriguez stayed busy against sub-par competition. Korobov stopped Arturo Rodriguez, while Rodriguez halted unbeaten (but untested) George Tahdooahnippah. No ranking yet for Korobov at 160 pounds, and no ranking yet for Rodriguez in the junior middleweight division, where he usually fights.

At welterweight, Mexico’s undefeated 140-pound prospect Roberto Ortiz won a six-round technical decision over Fidel Monterossa, however, it was not a significant-enough victory to enter the rankings.

At junior welterweight, Dierry Jean stopped Juan Jesus Rivera in two rounds. Although it was not a stoppage that normally merits a ranking, No. 9-rated Cesar Cuenca has been dropped from the rankings due to inactivity, causing Ruslan Provodnikov to move from No. 10 to No. 9, making room for Jean to debut at the No. 10 spot. Cuenca has not fought since last July and has no fights scheduled. Jean (24-0, 16 KOs) has fought twice during that time span and also has a win over tough Lanardo Tyner.

Our No. 1-ranked lightweight Adrien Broner was very impressive in his stoppage of No. 6-rated Gavin Rees in the fifth round of his WBC title defense. The lightweight rankings will remain the same. Rees won more fans and showed more of his class and toughness in the manner of his defeat than he has in many of his wins. Had Rees fought any other lightweight, he would have given them a stern test.

At junior lightweight Edner Cherry beat Vicente Escobedo by TKO in the sixth round. This was Cherry’s first outing since last April. If he stays active he’ll be knocking on the door of THE RINg’s 130-pound rankings.

Undefeated junior bantamweight Johnathan Romero traveled from Colombia to win a split decision over Alejandro Lopez in Lopez’s hometown of Tijuana, Mexico. The impressive, hard-fought victory earned the 26-year-old boxer the vacant IBF 122-pound title and a ranking in THE RING’s junior featherweight top 10.

Romero (23-0, 12 KOs), who also has victories over prospects Chris Avalos and Efrain Esquivias Jr., debuts in the No. 10 spot, bumping Victor Terrazas.

The addition of Romero gave the Editorial Board an opportunity to reevaluate the 122-pound rankings and some reshuffling of the order was done. Undefeated but largely untested Koki Kameda will be dropped from No. 6 to No. 9. Hozumi Hasegawa will be moved from No. 9 to No. 8. Carl Frampton, as was explained in last week’s Ring Ratings Update, will remain at No. 5 since he has defeated a former titleholder and a tough fringe contender in Kiko Martinez in recent bouts. Vic Darchinyan is ranked higher than Hasegawa because unlike the Japanese veteran he owns has a win over an undefeated junior featherweight, Luis Orlando Del Valle. Unbeaten British standout Scott Quigg, who is coming off an impressive stoppage of former title challenger Rendall Munroe, was pushed up from No. 8 to No. 6.

The junior featherweight rankings are as follows:

1. Guillermo Rigondeaux

2. Abner Mares

3. Jeffrey Mathebula

4. Alexander Bakhtin

5. Carl Frampton

6. Scott Quigg

7. Vic Darchinyan

8. Hozumi Hasegawa

9. Koki Kameda

10. Jhonathan Romero

There will be more shuffling within this deep division in the coming weeks as Mares is expected to move up to the featherweight division and recently dropped Terrazas is scheduled to face streaking Cristian Mijares on April 20. The winner of their showdown will likely deserve a top-10 ranking.

Also on the Romero-Lopez card, bantamweight prospects Hanzel Martinez (nephew of Antonio Margarito) fought Alejandro Gonzalez (son of Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.) faced each other with Gonzalez scoring an impressive second-round TKO. This was not enough to get the 19-year-old boxer ranked but it was a solid win that makes the son of the former WBC featherweight titleholder one to watch in the 118-pound division.