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The Ring Magazine Ratings Reviewed: Strawweight

WBC strawweight titlist Wanheng Menayothin. Photo courtesy of WBCBoxing.com
14
Apr

The Ring Magazine first introduced its divisional ratings in 1925 and 95 years later they’re still going strong. It is no exaggeration to claim that these independent rankings are the most respected and accurate in world boxing today.

The ratings panel is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are shared, debate takes place, and the final decision on who should be ranked where is decided democratically. It sounds easy but it can be an arduous and time-consuming process.

During the past few weeks, the sport of boxing, like the rest of us, has been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It therefore makes sense for The Ring to use this time to revisit each and every division, analyze the fighters who are ranked, and predict what they’re likely to do in the future.

Up next is strawweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.

No. 1 WANHENG MENAYOTHIN

RECORD: 54-0 (18 KOs)

THE PAST: Wanheng won the WBC title stopping Oswaldo Novoa (TKO 9) in November 2014. He has made 12 successful defenses, turning back the likes of Saul Juarez (UD 12), Tatsuya Fukuhara (UD 12 and Tech. Dec. 8) and Pedro Taduran (UD 12). The 34-year-old Thai is currently the longest reigning world titleholder in boxing.

THE FUTURE: Having signed with Golden Boy Promotions, he was tentatively scheduled to make his American debut against Filipino challenger Marco John Rementizo on April 25. That will follow at a later date.

No. 2 KNOCKOUT CP FRESHMART

RECORD: (21-0, 7 KOs)

THE PAST: Knockout is hot on the heels of his countryman and stablemate Wanheng. Knockout won the WBA title at the expense of Byron Rojas (UD 12) in June 2016. He has since made eight defenses, turning back the challenges of Rey Loreto (UD 12), Chaozhong Xiong (UD 12) and Rojas (UD 12), among others. He doesn’t live up to his sponsored name – he’s more of a volume-punching grinder who always finds a way to win – but he’ll be a tough nut to crack at home in Thailand.

THE FUTURE: Will likely have to face dangerous mandatory challenger Jose Argumedo next.

Wilfredo Mendez. Photo by Marcos Mejias Ortiz/ PRBBP

No. 3 WILFREDO MENDEZ

RECORD: (16-1, 6 KOs)

THE PAST: Mendez shocked Vic Saludar (UD 12) last August to win the WBO title. The 23-year-old southpaw has made two defenses against Axel Aragon Vega (Tech. Dec. 7) and Gabriel Mendoza (TKO 9). What Mendez lacks in power he makes up for in ring craft, and he’s improved since winning the title.

THE FUTURE: Potential fight with WBO No. 1 Robert Paradero. Rising star Ginjiro Shigeoka also has Mendez in his crosshairs.

No. 4 BYRON ROJAS

RECORD: (27-4-3, 11 KOs)

THE PAST: Rojas caused one of the biggest upsets of 2016, outpointing Hekkie Budler (UD 12) for the WBA title in South Africa. He lost that in his first defense to Freshmart (UD 12) and, despite working his way back to earn himself a rematch, Rojas was the wrong side of another close decision.

THE FUTURE: The former titleholder has rebounded with two wins but would be best served looking in a different direction for another title fight.

No. 5 VIC SALUDAR

RECORD: (20-4, 11 KOs)

THE PAST: Saludar lost against then-WBO titleholder Kosei Tanaka (L KO 6) in his first world title challenge. However, the aggressive Filipino won the WBO belt from Ryuya Yamanaka (UD 12) and retained against Masataka Taniguchi (UD 12) in Japan. Dropped his title to the slick Wilfredo Mendez (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: Regrouping after loss. He’ll look to stay active and work his way back toward another world title fight.

Jose Argumedo

No. 6 JOSE ARGUMEDO

RECORD: (23-4-1, 14 KOs)

THE PAST: In 2015, Argumedo won the IBF title from grizzled veteran Katsunari Takayama (TD 9) in Japan. He made three defenses at home in Mexico before dropping the title to Hiroto Kyoguchi (UD 12) in 2017. Has since won three fights including a WBA title eliminator against Alexis Diaz (TKO 5).

THE FUTURE: Waiting for his opportunity to face Knockout CP Freshmart.

No. 7 SIMPIWE KONKCO

RECORD: (19-6, 7 KOs)

THE PAST: The South African veteran has lost to Hekkie Budler (UD 12) and Wanheng Menayothin (UD 12) in world title bids. However, he does hold solid wins over countryman and former world champion Nkosinathi Joyi (UD 12) and former title challenger Toto Landero (UD 12). A solid competitor, who is a high-level gatekeeper, he will give any 105-pounder a stern examination.

THE FUTURE: Konkco is tough and will have to get back in line by winning a few fights at home. Hopes to force a third world title opportunity.

No. 8 PEDRO TADURAN

RECORD: (14-2-1, 11 KOs)

THE PAST: The big-punching Filipino learned on the job, dropping a decision to Wanheng Menayothin (UD 12) but showed his credentials when he stopped well regarded Samuel Salva (RTD 4)to pick up the vacant IBF crown. In his lone defense, opponent Daniel Valladares was cut and the fight was brought to a premature conclusion, resulting in a fourth-round technical draw.

THE FUTURE: Unsatisfactory conclusion will almost certainly see him and Valladares meet a second time.

Carlos Licona. Photo by Chris Farina – K2 Promotions

No. 9 CARLOS LICONA

RECORD: (15-1, 2 KOs)

THE PAST: The America-based Mexican ventured to Puerto Rico and beat world-ranked Janiel Rivera (UD 10). He also bested former amateur star Mark Anthony Barriga (UD 12) to claim the vacant IBF title but lost it to DeeJay Kriel (KO 12) in February 2019. Has won one fight since, against Nohel Arumbulet (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: Another former world titleholder looking to work his way back into title contention. Licona may also move north to 108 pounds, or even 112.

No. 10 DANIEL VALLADARES

RECORD: (22-1-1, 13 KOs)

THE PAST: Valladares showed his power, beating former world titleholder Merlito Sabillo (TKO 7) and Christian Araneta (RTD 4) in an IBF junior flyweight eliminator. He then made the unusual decision to drop down in weight, rather than fight for the world title shot he had earned at 108. Fought a bloody technical draw with Taduran in an IBF title fight in February.

THE FUTURE: Will seek to fight Taduran again.

ON THE CUSP: Nkosinathi Joyi, Tsubasa Koura, Samuel Salva and Ginjiro Shigeoka and Masataka Taniguchi.

Previous instalments:

THE RING RATINGS – Pound-for-Pound

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

 

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