The Ring Magazine Ratings Reviewed: Flyweight
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 flyweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.
No. 1 KOSEI TANAKA
RECORD: (14-0, 8 KOs)
THE PAST: Tanaka won the WBO strawweight title from Julian Yedras (UD 12) in his fifth fight and made one defense against Vic Saludar (KO 6). He then moved up to junior flyweight and won the vacant WBO title in impressive fashion, taking out former beltholder Moises Fuentes (TKO 5) and made two defenses, notably outboxing Angel Acosta (UD 12). The Japanese star also outgrew that division and edged Sho Kimura (MD 12) to win the WBO flyweight title. He’s made three defenses against Ryoichi Taguchi (UD 12), Jonathan Gonzalez (TKO 7) and Wulan Tuolehazie (KO 3).
THE FUTURE: Vacated his WBO title and will go in search of a world title in a fourth weight class he faces countryman Kazuto Ioka for the WBO junior bantamweight title.
No. 2 MORUTI MTHALANE
RECORD: (39-2, 26 KOs)
THE PAST: Mthalane, now 37, lost to then-IBF titleholder Nonito Donaire (TKO 6) in his first world title attempt in 2008. However, he rebounded to claim the vacant IBF title against Julio Cesar Miranda (UD 12) and made four defenses, impressively beating future world champions Zolani Tete (TKO 5) and Johnriel Casimero (TKO 5). Vacated the title in early 2014 due to the economic situation in his homeland but, remarkably, regained it four years later from Muhammad Waseem (UD 12). Has since returned to Asia to make three defenses against Masahiro Sakamoto (TKO 10), Masayuki Kuroda (UD 12) and Akira Yaegashi (TKO 9).
THE FUTURE: A return to Asian probably beckons, however, Mthalane has beaten both Japanese fighters ranked within the IBF top 15.
No. 3 JULIO CESAR MARTINEZ
RECORD: (16-1, 12 KOs)
THE PAST: Martinez was highly-touted in Mexican circles, however, his official coming out party was a fifth-round stoppage of Andrew Selby in March 2018. His first title attempt was declared a no-contest when he struck WBC beltholder Charlie Edwards when he was down, but it was merely a stay of absence. The hard-hitting 25-year-old stopped former world titleholder Cristofer Rosales (TKO 9) in December and has defended once against Jay Harris (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: The Harris win took place a couple of months prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, so there was nothing in the works. Expect the Eddy Reynoso trained fighter to stay busy when he returns.
No. 4 ARTEM DALAKIAN
RECORD: (20-0, 14 KOs)
THE PAST: Dalakian quietly went about his business in the Ukraine before coming to the U.S. and impressively beating Brian Viloria (UD 12) for the vacant WBA title in February 2018. Has since made four defenses, all in the Ukraine, against mid-level opposition.
THE FUTURE: A victory over Josber Perez (UD 12) was just before the lockdown, so don’t expect to see him until the fall. A dangerous and largely unknown commodity for many in the division. Look for him to continue fighting at home.
No. 5 CHARLIE EDWARDS
RECORD: (15-1, 6 KOs)
THE PAST: Edwards was given a surprise IBF title tilt against Johnriel Casimero (TKO 10) in September 2016. The affable Brit bounced back from that defeat, winning five fights before dethroning Cristofer Rosales (UD 12) for the WBC title. He bested Angel Moreno (UD 12) in his first title defense and had the no-contest with Martinez. Edwards vacated his title due to weight issues.
THE FUTURE: Had been scheduled to have his first fight at junior bantamweight. That’s where he’s heading when things return to normal.
No. 6 ANDREW SELBY
RECORD: (13-1, 7 KOs)
THE PAST: The former amateur standout won the British title in just his fifth fight and seemed primed for a world title run when he outboxed future WBC titleholder Cristofer Rosales (UD 12). However, Selby’s career has stalled several times. He went to Mexico and gave Martinez fits before succumbing to a fifth-round body shot knockout. Has since returned with two low-level wins.
THE FUTURE: More than talented enough to win a world title but, at 31, the clock is ticking and he needs to be active. Will probably seek to work his way into a mandatory position.
No. 7 MASAYUKI KURODA
RECORD: (30-8-3, 16 KOs)
THE PAST: This late bloomer, who combines boxing with a day job at a convenience store, has won the Japanese national title at both junior flyweight and flyweight in a very solid career. He has lost in two world title bids to Juan Carlos Raveco (UD 12) and Moruti Mthalane (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: The 33-year-old veteran will likely go the national or OPBF title route to put himself back in the shop window for a third title shot.
No. 8 JUNTO NAKATANI
RECORD: (20-0, 15 KOs)
THE PAST: Widely seen as the future of the division in Japan. The 22-year-old boxer-puncher is tall for the weight and a southpaw, making him a tricky proposition. He won the vacant national title against Naoki Mochizuki (TKO 9) and quickly moved up to world level, stopping former titleholder Milan Melindo (TKO 6).
THE FUTURE: Had been set to face Giemel Magramo for the vacant WBO title on April 4. That will be rescheduled in the coming months.
No. 9 CRISTOFER ROSALES
RECORD: (29-5, 20 KOs)
THE PAST: The Nicaraguan warhorse earned his stripes fighting at home and gaining international experience against future world titleholder Kal Yafai (L PTS 8). He dropped Selby (L UD 12) in their fight but ran out a wide loser. Bounced back in style to stun the highly regarded but weight drained Haigo Higa (TKO 9) to become the WBC titleholder. Rosales stopped Paddy Barnes (KO 4) in his only defense before dropping the title to Edwards (UD 12). Was stopped for the first time when he met Martinez (TKO 9) for the vacant WBC title.
THE FUTURE: It’s easy to forget “El Latigo” is just 25. The time off will likely help the young veteran, who is good enough to come again.
No. 10 GIEMEL MAGRAMO
RECORD: (24-1, 20 KOs)
THE PAST: Magramo has made his way up the world rankings successfully, his only defeat coming against Muhammad Waseem (L UD 12). The 25-year-old puncher has since won seven fights, notably against Petchchorhae Kokietgym (KO 3) and Wenfeng Ge (RTD 10).
THE FUTURE: Primed for a shot at the vacant WBO title against Nakatani.
ON THE CUSP: Angel Acosta, Luis Concepcion, Jay Harris, Jesse Rodriguez and Joselito Velazquez