The Ring’s Ratings reviewed 2022: flyweight
The Ring first introduced its divisional ratings in 1925. Almost a century later, it’s no exaggeration to claim that these independent rankings are the most respected and accurate in world boxing.
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 every week. It sounds easy, but this can be an arduous and time-consuming process.
A couple of years ago, during the pandemic, we reviewed and broke down each division in full. In a two-pronged approach, we looked back at the respective achievements of the finest fighters in the world and analyzed what lay ahead.
Now, with enough time having elapsed, and with a busy final quarter to 2022 ahead of us, we’ve decided to compile another divisional breakdown.
Next up is flyweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.
No. 1 JUNTO NAKATANI
RECORD: 23-0 (18 KOs)
THE PAST: The heavy-handed boxer-puncher ran through his early opposition and holds wins over future junior flyweight titleholder Masamichi Yabuki (UD 4), current Japanese titleholder Seigo Yuri Akui (TKO 6) and passed the litmus test of former 108-pound titleholder Milan Melindo (TKO 6). Covid stymied the tall 24-year-old’s progress and he had to wait 13-months to win the vacant WBO title against Giemel Magramo (TKO 8). He has since made two defenses, including his American debut, when he stopped former titleholder Angel Acosta (TKO 4) and on the undercard of Gennadiy Golovkin-Ryota Murata, he was equally impressive bludgeoning Ryota Yamauchi (TKO 8).
THE FUTURE: Nothing scheduled but will defend his title in the fall. Has also mentioned about moving up to junior bantamweight in the near future.
No. 2 JULIO CESAR MARTINEZ
RECORD: 18-2 (14 KOs)
THE PAST: Martinez was highly-touted in Mexican circles, however, it was his fifth-round stoppage of Andrew Selby that saw him gain exposure outside his homeland. 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 27-year-old stopped former world titleholder Cristofer Rosales (TKO 9) and has made four successful title defense. “El Rey” stepped up to junior bantamweight and was given a boxing lesson by living legend Roman Gonzalez (UD 12) in March.
THE FUTURE: Looks like he may face IBF titlist Sunny Edwards in a unification somewhere in North America on October 22.
No. 3 SUNNY EDWARDS
RECORD: 18-0 (4 KOs)
THE PAST: Edwards was a good amateur, winning titles domestically before turning professional in 2016. The quick-footed speedster made his way through the professional ranks collecting various regional belts from the sanctioning bodies. He followed his older brother, Charlie, who won a flyweight world title, when he used his expert footwork and fast hands to shock IBF titlist Moruti Mthalane (UD 12). Edwards has since made two title defenses.
THE FUTURE: Has called out Martinez for quite a while, looks like he’s getting his wish with the pair lined up to face each other next.
No. 4 ARTEM DALAKIAN
RECORD: 21-0 (15 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. The 34-year-old has since made five defenses, all in the Ukraine, against mid-level opposition. His activity has been badly hit by Covid and more recently the war in his homeland.
THE FUTURE: Likely to face mandatory challenger David Jimenez next.
No. 5 ANGEL AYALA LARDIZABAL
RECORD: 14-0 (6 KOs)
THE PAST: The 22-year-old Mexican burst onto the world scene when he scored a hugely impressive win over former titleholder Cristofer Rosales (UD 12). The still largely unknown fighter has since become the first man to stop 32-fight veteran Miguel Angel Herrera (TKO 1).
THE FUTURE: Likely to stay busy while waiting for the winner of the Martinez-Edwards fight.
No. 6 MCWILLIAMS ARROYO
RECORD: 21-4 (16 KOs)
THE PAST: Arroyo represented Puerto Rico at the 2007 World Championships, 2008 Olympics before claiming the gold at the 2009 World Championships. Along with his twin brother, McJoe, he turned professional in 2010. Arroyo has been a nearly man of the division, dropping decisions to IBF titlist Amnat Ruenroeng (SD 12) and WBC beltholder Roman Gonzalez (UD 12). He did best former 115-pound titlist Carlos Cuadras (MD 10) but subsequently lost to Kazuto Ioka (UD 10). Has seen fights fall through with WBC kingpin Martinez. On the one occasion they shared a ring together the two traded knockdowns before an accidental head-clash rendered their meeting a no-contest.
THE FUTURE: Will have an eye on the Martinez-Edwards fight and hope to face the winner.
No. 7 DAVID JIMENEZ
RECORD: 12-0 (9 KOs)
THE PAST: Jimenez fought internationally for Costa Rica before turning professional in early 2019. The 30-year-old has been able to move relatively quickly. However, it his recent win over Ricardo Sandoval (MD 12) in a WBA title eliminator, in which he scored an 11th round knockdown that made the difference, that he drew acclaim for.
THE FUTURE: As the WBA mandatory, he’s next for Dalakian.
No. 8 RICARDO SANDOVAL
RECORD: 20-2 (15 KOs)
THE PAST: The 23-year-old Californian turned professional across the border in Mexico in 2016. He bounced back from an early defeat and scored wins over once-beaten Oscar Vasquez (UD 8) and stopped experienced Raymond Tabugon (KO 7). He traveled to the UK and beat former world title challenger Jay Harris (KO 8) in an IBF eliminator. Took a gamble that didn’t pay off when he faced unheralded David Jimenez (MD 12).
THE FUTURE: Needs to get back on the win column and then push for a title fight.
No. 9 JACKSON CHAUKE
RECORD: 21-1-2 (15 KOs)
THE PAST: Chauke, who represented South Africa at the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics, turned professional in 2008. He lost his only fight when he attempted to win the national title against Lwandile Sityatha (UD 12). He’s seen his career stagnate at times through periods of inactivity. However, the 37-year-old has since won the national title as well as various sanctioning body regional titles.
THE FUTURE: Will continue to mark time in South Africa whilst waiting for something more significant to come up.
No. 10 FELIX ALVARADO
RECORD: 38-2 (33 KOs)
THE PAST: Alvarado lost world title attempts to Kazuto Ioka (UD 12) and Juan Carlos Raveco (UD 12) early in his career. “El Gemelo” rebounded with 15 wins to secure a shot at the vacant IBF 108-pound belt. He stopped Randy Petalcorin (TKO 7) in October 2018 and made two successful title defenses. The aggressive 33-year-old vacated his title to move up in weight, in search of further glory.
THE FUTURE: Due to fight against TBA on September 24. From there his team will keep him active until something bigger comes their way.
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