Women’s Ratings Update: Bridges to No. 3 at bantam, Hermans rated at 154
A historic year for women’s boxing is coming to a close, and the action continues to produce important changes in our trailblazing Women’s Ratings.
Starting with the junior middleweight division, a couple of fights produced some interesting results. First up, our current No. 4 Mary Spencer suffered quite the upset, losing by ample decision to Belgium’s Femke Hermans, currently rated at No. 4 as a middleweight.
As a result, Hermans was promoted to No. 5 at junior middleweight, becoming one of only a handful of fighters rated in two divisions by The Ring.
“Hermans looked good, capturing good timing to hit a lackluster Spencer that night,” said Japanese writer Yuriko Miyata, with historian Malissa Smith saying that “Hermans was a very strong and respectable opponent who has fought in some major battles, so Spencer can view this as a learning, if humbling, experience and will no doubt make the necessary adjustments following this loss.”
A sentiment echoed by Argentine author Yesica Palmetta, who said that “Spencer came with a promising path, but she needed this test. I am confident that Spencer can capitalize on this experience to resume her career with greater maturity.”
In another meaningful bout in that same division, former undisputed welterweight champ and perennial pound-for-pound entrant Cecilia Braekhus returned to action with a win over Argentina’s Marisa Portillo. Braekhus’ long inactivity may have ended, but the quality of her opponent (a former bantam/lightweight at best, with her own inactivity spell to account for) didn’t impress the panel, and Braekhus will have to wait a bit longer and fight a more accomplished foe if she is to enter the star-studded 154-pound Top 5 anytime soon.
“Braekhus, after shaking off the rust, looked good after the third round with the jab and right hand,” said columnist Mark Jones. “Due to her age-related loss of speed and lateral movement, up-tempo fighters will give her problems.” Miyata agreed by saying that “it is good to see a big name like Breakhus’ getting into the 154-pound scene, but I still need time to see her right there in the top 5.”
In the bantamweight division, a fight that took place two weeks ago also generated a seismic change in the ratings, with the always exuberant Ebanie Brigdes entering the ratings at No. 3 after her sensational stoppage of her fellow Australian tough cookie Shannon O’Connell.
“Ebanie Bridges’s performance was stunning,” said Rincon Rojo magazine editor Irene Deserti. “O’Connell was completely surpassed in all aspects.”
Smith added that “Bridges put on a show with a brilliant, unrelenting boxing performance that improved with every round. She was able to shut down O’Connell most effectively, and beginning with Bridges’ knockdown of her opponent in the third round, never really let O’Connel back into the fight,” with Jones expanding on this concept by saying that “O’Connell can’t fight backing up, and Ebanie Bridges forced her into that fight. She’s improved tremendously under trainer Mark Tibbs.”
Just a few pounds below in the junior bantamweight division, the retirement of our No. 4 Tamao Ozawa created a vacancy, and the Panel decided that Adelaida Ruiz should come in at No. 5, with Micaela Lujan advancing to No. 4.
“I like Ruiz and I like what the future holds for this wonderful champion,” said Beautiful Brawlers’ Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle about “La Cobra”, who thus reenters the Ring ratings once again.
Diego M. Morilla has written for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for HBO.com, ESPN.com and many other magazines, websites, newspapers and 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.