Women’s Ratings Update: Valle enters P4P, Braekhus out, Shin and Ruiz move in at No. 5
A terrific week of women’s boxing kick-started what will surely be a historic month in the sport. And what better way to get the ball rolling than with a spectacular change in our pound-for-pound ratings.
In the most anticipated fight of the week, strawweight champion Yokasta Valle soundly defeated Vietnam’s Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in a WBO/IBF unification bout with a masterful performance.
The Nicaraguan-born Costa Rican champ was superb in every aspect of her game. Her accuracy, relentlessness, athleticism and footwork were just dazzling, and The Ring’s women’s ratings panel took notice of it.
Even though there were no takers in the suggestion to move Valle past Seniesa Estrada in the strawweight ratings (where Estrada stands as the No. 1 in the world) there was a suggestion by panelist Mark Jones to have Valle join Estrada (our current No. 8 pound-for-pound) in the mythical pound-for-pound ratings.
“Three years ago, after a life-and-death split-decision victory over the pedestrian Joana Pastrana, I didn’t think much of Yokasta Valle,” said Jones, who has witnessed Valle’s growth for years. “She’s been a superstar in Costa Rica for some time, and due to recent improvements, she’s on the verge of becoming one globally.”
A vote was requested, and it was unanimous: Valle’s extraordinary display of boxing skills were deemed enough to place her at No. 10, displacing none other than the legendary Cecilia Braekhus from the ratings that saw her at No. 1 for the longest of times.
“Officially the end of an era,” said Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle, in a sentiment echoed by many of the panelists, with writer Yesica Palmetta calling in from Argentina to say that “Cecilia is already part of the legends of women’s world boxing, but we have to give way to the new generations.”
“Cecilia is much respected, but new fighters are coming up,” said Japan’s Yuriko Miyata, with historian Malissa Smith noting that Braekhus has also forfeited her place in any of the ratings (divisional or otherwise) by virtue of her long inactivity since her back-to-back losses to Jessica McCaskill in early 2021.
“It is a great honor to enter such an important and respected list of fighters,” said Valle, in a statement through her publicist. “When I unified the titles in Costa Rica I demonstrated that I could be considered as one of the best fighters in the world, and this achievement confirms it. This is the result of many years of hard work. This is just the beginning. We’re coming back for more. ¡Pura vida!”
Elsewhere in women’s boxing, a few other fighters were recognized for her efforts during the past week.
In the junior lightweight division, South Korea’s Bo Mi Re Shin was promoted to No. 5 in detriment of former contender Jennifer Han. Shin defeated Japan’s Aka Ringo in a tough fight in which Shin displayed grit and toughness against a foe that wouldn’t quit.
“Shin is strong, aggressive, and has some power; although she’s basic and isn’t hard to find, she’s eleven years younger than Han, who has lost two fights in a row,” said Jones, while Miyata indicated that “Shin is a fighter to watch, a really energetic slugger.”
A few divisions below that, Adelaida Ruiz exacted a measure of revenge against Sonia Osorio in their rematch during the undercard of Valle-Nguyen. Ruiz looked very impressive in her win over Osorio, who kept leading with her head in spite of what happened in their first bout (clash of heads resulting in technical draw). On top of that, Guadalupe Martinez has been inactive for well over a year, which created the perfect scenario for Ruiz to come into the ratings.
“La Cobra Ruiz with the beautiful reach of hers, she is without a doubt in at No. 5,” said Gutierrez-Beagle, while Smith said that “I thought Adelaida Ruiz put on a show in her fight against Osorio. Ruiz was consistent, balanced, hard-hitting, and in her forward movement was clearly hunting her prey. Given that Martinez has been inactive, Ruiz is a natural to take the No. 5 spot.”
Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He also wrote for HBO.com, ESPN.com and many other magazines, websites, newspapers and other outlets since 1993. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He has won two first-place awards in the BWAA’s annual writing contest, and he is the moderator of The Ring’s Women’s Ratings Panel. He served as copy editor for the second era of The Ring en Español (2018-2020) and is currently a writer and editor for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter @MorillaBoxing