Wednesday, September 27, 2023  |



Women’s Ratings Update: Elhem Mekhaled enters the Top 5 at lightweight

Elhem Mekhaled speaks at the final press conference for the February 4, 2023 Matchroom boxing card at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Fighters Network

In a week of great action in the women’s boxing realm, only one fighter managed to improve her standing in The Ring’s trailblazing divisional ratings.

France’s Elhem Mekhaled scored a shutout decision win over Russia’s Yuliia Kutsenko to make her case for a placement in the competitive lightweight ratings, and the panel agreed to remove Uruguay’s Maira Moneo to allow Mekhaled to enter in the No. 5 slot.

“Mekhaled is an elite boxer at this point,” argued author and TV commentator/producer Yesica Palmetta. “Her defeats were against top-level opponents. Moneo is still maturing, and she only has one important victory against former champion Erica Farias in a controversial, dirty fight.”

Still, don’t count the feisty Moneo out just yet.

“Moneo is scheduled to fight in June against Gabriela Bouvier,” said author and Rincon Rojo magazine editor Irene Deserti. “I think it will be an easy win for her, which might get her back on the ratings. We’ll see.”

In other action, Terri Harper refused to let a good training camp go to waste, and accepted a fight against Ivana Habazin one week after the cancellation of her bout against Cecilia Braekhus. Harper is our current No. 1 at 154 and remains a force in the division.
Harper may remain at this weight class only if her dream fight against Ring champ Natasha Jonas materializes. Otherwise, she may drop back down a few pounds in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
“I believe that Harper will move down to welterweight and challenge Sandy Ryan or Jessica McCaskill if a unification bout with Natasha Jonas fails to transpire at super-welterweight,” said columnist Mark Jones, in an analysis echoed across the panel.
Also in the past week, Lani Daniels and Alrie Meleisea fought for a “heavyweight title,” but the general initial assessment made during the creation of our ratings is that the field is extremely thin in that division, and that there are not enough active fighters above 168 pounds fighting with enough regularity to create a viable and active Top 5 in any of those divisions. This goes in consonance with most sanctioning bodies, since they do not rate fighters above 168 either in most cases.
As the situation progresses, the situation in the heavier divisions of women’s boxing will be periodically reviewed.


Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for, 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