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The Ring Magazine Ratings Reviewed: Cruiserweight

Mairis
09
Jun

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 super cruiserweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.

No. 1 MAIRIS BRIEDIS

RECORD: (26-1, 19 KOs)

THE PAST: Briedis became the first Latvian to win a world championship when he outboxed Marco Huck (UD 12) to claim the vacant WBC title. After successfully defending against Mike Perez (UD 12) in the quarter-final of the WBSS, he lost a close encounter against Aleksandr Usyk (MD 12) in a unification bout. Quickly got back to wining ways, signed up for Season 2 of the elimination tournament, and scored wins over Noel Gevor (UD 12) and Krzysztof Glowacki (TKO 3), the latter of which came in controversial fashion.

THE FUTURE: Had been due to face IBF titleholder Yuniel Dorticos in the final of the WBSS for The Ring Magazine championship and the Muhammad Ali trophy. That bout will be rescheduled for later in the year.

Yuniel Dorticos (right) tags Mateusz Masternak. Photo courtesy of the WBSS

No. 2 YUNIEL DORTICOS

RECORD: (24-1, 22 KOs)

THE PAST: The big-punching Cuban won his first 21 bouts, however, his career lacked direction until he took part in Season 1 of the WBSS. The 34-year-old impressively took out fellow power-puncher Dmitry Kudryashov (TKO 2) and was upgraded to full WBA titleholder before losing a shootout to then-IBF titleholder Murat Gassiev (TKO 12) in a unification bout. Bounced back in Season 2 of the WBSS with a win over Mateusz Masternak (UD 12) and won the vacant IBF title at the expense of Andrew Tabiti (KO 10).

THE FUTURE: Will face Briedis to decide who’s the best cruiserweight in the world.

No. 3 ILUNGA MAKABU

RECORD: (27-2, 24 KOs)

THE PAST: The Congo-born lefty worked his way up, scoring impressive wins over Eric Fields (KO 5), Glen Johnson (TKO 9) and Thabiso Mchunu (KO 11) to earn a shot at the vacant WBC title in May 2016. But although he dropped Tony Bellew in the opening round, Makabu let things slip and was stopped in three rounds. The 32-year-old responded by winning seven fights, including two in Russia over Kudryashov (TKO 5) and Alexsei Papin (MD 12). Those triumphs saw him rewarded with a second title opportunity, and this time Makabu edged past Michal Cieslak (UD 12) to capture the WBC title.

THE FUTURE: Likely to stay busy while waiting for something more meaningful.

No. 4 KRZYSZTOF GLOWACKI

RECORD: (31-2, 19 KOs)

THE PAST: Came to America as a complete unknown and shocked Marco Huck (KO 11) to win the WBO title. The Pole then beat Steve Cunningham (UD 12) before dropping the title to Usyk (UD 12). He got back to winning ways and was invited to participate in Season 2 of the WBSS. He beat Maksim Vlasov (UD 12) before losing the controversial encounter with Briedis.

THE FUTURE: Will mostly probably face Lawrence Okolie for the vacant WBO title.

Kevin Lerena. Photo courtesy of Golden Gloves Promotions

No. 5 KEVIN LERENA

RECORD: (25-1, 12 KOs)

THE PAST: The powerfully built 28-year-old South African had minimal amateur experience, but he learned on the job. Owns solid wins over Youri Kalenga (SD 12), Dmytro Kucher (UD 12), Artur Mann (TKO 4) and Firat Arslan (TKO 6). Is rightly tabbed as one of the young guns in the division.

THE FUTURE: Tentatively scheduled to meet Kai Robin Havnaa in Norway this September.

No. 6 ANDREW TABITI

RECORD: (17-1, 13 KOs)

THE PAST: The Las Vegas based Chicago-born fighter is under the Mayweather Promotions banner. He scored quality wins over unbeaten pair Keith Tapia (UD 10) and Quantis Graves (RTD 6), then outpointed former world champion Steve Cunningham (UD 10). He took part in Season 2 of the WBSS and beat fellow up-and-comer Ruslan Fayfer (UD 12) to earn a shot at the vacant IBF title. Dorticos, who was more experienced, stopped him in 10.

THE FUTURE: Needs to get a few confidence builders under his belt before plotting a course to another world title fight.

No. 7 LAWRENCE OKOLIE

RECORD: (14-0, 11 KOs)

THE PAST: The 2016 U.K. Olympic representative turned professional in early 2017. “The Sauce” quickly claimed the British, Commonwealth and European championships with wins over Luke Watkins (TKO 3), Matty Askin (UD 12) and, more recently, Yves Ngabu (TKO 7).

THE FUTURE: Waiting for clearance to face Glowacki for the vacant WBO title.

Arsen Goulamirian

No. 8 ARSEN GOULAMIRIAN

RECORD: (26-0, 18 KOs)

THE PAST: The France-based Armenian made his bones in Europe early on in his career before linking up with renowned trainer Abel Sanchez. A dark horse in the division, Goulamirian won the WBA title late last year, knocking out Kane Watts (KO 4), and returned quickly to defend against Constantin Bejenaru (RTD 9).

THE FUTURE: Once things have cleared up, look for Goulamirian to continue defending his title in his adopted homeland of France.

No. 9 THABISO MCHUNU

RECORD: (22-5, 13 KOs)

THE PAST: Mchunu has had an up-and-down career but write him off at your peril. He arrived with an upset win over Eddie Chambers (UD 10) but lost to Makabu (KO 11) and Usyk (KO 9) in a world title challenge. Looked like he may fade away after losing narrowly to Tommy Oosthuizen (MD 12) but impressively won a direct rematch by unanimous decision. Mchunu kept things rolling by shocking Denis Lebedev (UD 12) to again position himself for a world title bout.

THE FUTURE: The late bloomer is on a nice run and could be in the mix for a world title eliminator when he returns.

No. 10 MICHAL CIESLAK

RECORD: (19-1, 13 KOs)

THE PAST: Cieslak won 19 fights at home in Poland, and stoppage wins over Kalenga (RTD 7) and Olanrewaju Durodola (TKO 2) earned him a world title opportunity. The 31-year-old had to venture to the Congo to face Makabu, and although he gave a solid performance, Cieslak dropped a unanimous decision.

THE FUTURE: Showed he belongs at world level against Makabu. Likely to try to get back in the win column before seeking a rematch.

ON THE CUSP: Aleksei Egorov, Yves Ngabu, Aleksei Papin, Evgeny Tishchenko and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

Previous instalments:

THE RING RATINGS – Pound-for-Pound
THE RING RATINGS – Strawweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Featherweight
THE RING RATINGS – Featherweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Lightweight
THE RING RATINGS – Lightweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Welterweight
THE RING RATINGS – Welterweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Middleweight
THE RING RATINGS – Middleweight
THE RING RATINGS – Super Middleweight
THE RING RATINGS – Light Heavyweight

 

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

 

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