Women’s Ratings Update: Marshall moves up at P4P, Avila takes No. 1 at 118, more
Another week of stellar performances in the realm of women’s boxing has led to several changes in The Ring’s ratings.
In the most notable fight of the week, Savannah Marshall stopped Femke Hermans in three rounds, showing once again why she is considered one of women’s boxing’s most powerful punchers.
Her highlight-reel knockout served to set up a long-awaited rematch of sorts with two-division Ring champion Claressa Shields (Marshall defeated Shields in the amateur ranks, in what remains Shields’ only defeat in a boxing ring), but since Marshall is rated No. 1 at middleweight there is no place for her to go.
The panel, however, considered that there was more than enough evidence there to promote Marshall in the pound-for-pound ratings, where she sat on the fringes at No. 10 before the panel voted to move her past Cecilia Braekhus, with whom she now swaps places.
“Savannah Marshall’s boxing prowess has certainly earned her the No. 9 position on The Ring’s women’s pound-for-pound list,” said boxing historian Malissa Smith. “Marshall’s left hook was certainly a shot heard around the world and will bring momentum to the showdown with Claressa Shields.”
“Marshall (should move) past surefire (future) Hall of Famer Cecilia Braekhus to No. 9 in the pound-for-pound rankings. She is the most powerful puncher in women’s boxing since Anne Sophie Mathis,” said Mark Jones, while the only voice of dissent came from Beautiful Brawlers’ Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle, who said that “Savannah’s KO was beautiful, (but) I say wait and see what happens with the bigger fight with Claressa before we make any moves.”
A few weight divisions below, the junior featherweight division had an unexpected new member coming in at No. 5. Argentina’s Jorgelina Guanini entered the ratings after a stellar performance against previously unbeaten Stevy Levy, while Yamileth Mercado’s win over late-replacement Isis Vargas failed to earn the Mexican titlist any ground in the ratings, where she stands at No. 4 behind Segolene Lefevre.
Moving Guanini in meant that a legend had to be shown the door, and that’s exactly what happened.
“I think it is correct that she enters No. 5 and Mariana Juarez leaves,” said Rincon Rojo magazine editor Irene Deserti. “Guanini dominated from end to end, and closed that losing streak that she had. The winner of Mercado and Vargas is supposed to fight directly with Juarez, but I think there is nothing official yet.”
Guanini’s powerful performances earned her more praise from the panel.
“Coming off three losses in Europe, including a close one in her last outing against Ellie Scotney this past February, it was great to see the former champion Guanini, put on a beautiful performance of her boxing skills, ring generalship, and mastery of the sport,” said Smith, while Argentina’s Yessica Palmetta said that her compatriot “has been demonstrating her ability in the ring by facing rivals of the stature of Rachell Ball and touring great international stages,” and although “apparently Guanini has decided to move into the category, I agree that she belongs at No. 5.”
The jewel of the entire weekend, however, was just a notch below at the bantamweight divisions, where Yulihan Luna Avila’s win over Mayeli Flores in a bonafide slugfest was the fight everyone should watch before criticizing women’s boxing: a non-stop action bout that may be Fight of the Year material down the road.
Luna Avila’s 7-0 streak in the past few years, with her terrific win over the legendary Mariana Juarez thrown in, was considered good enough by the panel to promote her as the new No. 1 in the 118-pound division, edging Denmark’s Dina Thorslund (who fights the very durable Niorkis Carreño this coming Saturday and can make her case to reclaim No. 1 then) just enough to earn the top spot in one of women’s boxing’s most competitive divisions.
“Yulihan Luna Avila is a good champion who has already shown us her good boxing skills by defeating Juarez,” said Palmetta, while Smith added that “Avila has an elegant style that is loose and commanding in the ring. She was able to manage the relentless forward momentum of Flores throughout the fight.”
Although the move was approved almost unanimously, there were a few cautionary comments about Luna Avila.
“She had serious defense problems,” said Deserti, who is based in Mexico and has followed Luna Avila’s career closely. “Despite (Luna’s) greater arm reach, Flores got to her face so many times that in more than one round she ended up pressing the action,” while Jones said that even though he supported the move, he still thinks that “Thorslund is significantly superior to Yulihan Luna. Luna has a first-rate jab but still consistently gives up her height. Mayeli Flores is an underrated slugger holding a knockout win over the No. 3 bantamweight Zulina Muñoz and a draw with No. 4 rated junior bantamweight Diana Fernandez. Fortunately for Luna, Flores was inactive for two and a half years before last weekend.”