The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Strawweight
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 talked about in world boxing.
The Ring Ratings Panel is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are shared, debates take 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.
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.
Last year, we looked back on how each division was doing and have decided after a busy first half of 2023 to compile another divisional breakdown, starting with the lightest weight class and working up to heavyweight.
However, we kicked off this new ratings review with the popular pound-for-pound rankings. Click here to read about the current mythical ratings.
Next up is strawweight, where it appears there maybe something of a changing of the guard. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.
No. 1 – KNOCKOUT CP FRESHMART
RECORD: 24-0 (9 KOs)
THE PAST: Freshmart is the longest active reigning world titleholder, having annexed the WBA title from Byron Rojas (UD 12) in June 2016. The 32-year-old has made 11 defenses, turning back the challenges of Rey Loreto (UD 12), Chaozhong Xiong (UD 12), Rojas (UD 12), Robert Paradero (TKO 5) and, in his most recent fight, former long-reigning WBC titleholder Wanheng Menayothin (UD 12). He had been due to defend his title against Erick Rosa on March 1, but the fight was nixed fight week due to immigration issues in Thailand (which barred Rosa from entering the country).
THE FUTURE: The Rosa fight is tabbed to take place this fall on neutral soil.
No. 2 – PETCHMANEE CP FRESHMART
RECORD: 40-1 (24 KOs)
THE PAST: Freshmart won several regional belts before claiming the WBC title by unseating long-reigning countryman Wanheng Menayothin in November 2020. The 32-year-old Thai has successfully defended his title four times, notably besting Menayothin (UD 12) in a rematch and Norihito Tanaka (UD 12/ TKO 8).
THE FUTURE: Will head to Japan to face Interim titlist Yudai Shigeoka on October 7.
No. 3 – OSCAR COLLAZO
RECORD: 7-0 (5 KOs)
THE PAST: Collazo won five national titles, gold at the 2019 Pan-Am games, and had aspirations of representing his country at the 2020 Olympics. However, his weight class was not recognized and he decided to make the switch to professional boxing in February 2020. The 26-year-old southpaw moved quickly in the paid ranks and beat former WBO titlist Vic Saludar (UD 12) in his fifth pro bout. Earlier this year, he won a WBO title eliminator by stopping Yudel Reyes (KO 5) and then claimed the world title by stopping Melvin Jerusalem (RTD 7).
THE FUTURE: Collazo will look to follow in the rich tradition of Puerto Rican strawweights, including Alex Sanchez, Ivan Calderon and more recently Wilfredo Mendez. He will make his maiden defense in a homecoming main event against Garen Diagan on August 26.
No. 4 – GINJIRO SHIGEOKA
RECORD: 9-0 (7 KOs)
THE PAST: Shigeoka was a standout amateur before turning pro in September 2018. He notably stopped former world title challenger Rey Loreto (KO 5) in his fifth bout. Had it not been for the pandemic – he didn’t fight for 18-months – the diminutive 23-year-old southpaw may have already won a world title. He was doing a number on Daniel Valladares before the fight was curtailed due to a head-clash that ruled the fight a no-contest. He impressively defeated Rene Mark Cuarto (TKO 9) in his most recent bout.
THE FUTURE: The talented Japanese fighter is primed to break through and live up to his vast potential when he meets Valladares again on October 7.
No. 5 – YUDAI SHIGEOKA
RECORD: 7-0 (5 KOs)
THE PAST: Yudai won five national titles and had dreams of representing Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, when his weight class was expunged, similarly to Collazo, he elected to turn professional in October 2019. Although not quite as highly regarded as his younger brother (Ginjiro), he is still an excellent fighter with a bright future. He notably edged the more experienced Tsubasa Koura (MD 12) in 2021 and stopped former world champion Wilfredo Mendez (KO 7) in his most recent bout.
THE FUTURE: Yudai will share the spotlight with younger brother when he looks to upgrade his interim status against WBC titlist Petchmanee on October 7.
No. 6 – DANIEL VALLADARES
RECORD: 26-3-1 (15 KOs)
THE PAST: The Mexican won his first 11 fights before he was out-hustled by journeyman Genaro Rios (MD 8). He rebounded to score a pair of impressive wins over former WBO strawweight titlist Merlito Sabillo (TKO 7) and snapped Christian Araneta’s unbeaten record (RTD 4). His fight with then-IBF beltholder Pedro Taduran was shaping up nicely when the he was cut, and the contest ended in a technical draw. The 29-year-old lost his way, losing back-to-back fights before righting the ship and edging past Rene Mark Cuarto (SD 12) to claim the IBF title, struggled with Ginjiro Shigeoka before a cut saw the fight end in a third round no-contest.
THE FUTURE: Will face Shigeoka in a rematch on October 7.
No. 7 – MELVIN JERUSALEM
RECORD: 20-3 (12 KOs)
THE PAST: Jerusalem won his first 11 fights at home in the Philippines before losing a razor thin decision to then-WBC titlist Wanheng Menayothin (UD 12). He suffered a hangover and lost to compatriot Joey Canoy (UD 10) in his next bout before winning eight consecutive fights and landing a WBO title shot against Masataka Taniguchi earlier this year. The 29-year-old made the most of his opportunity scoring an impressive second-round stoppage. He yielded the title in his first defenses against Collazo (RTD 7).
THE FUTURE: Assessing his options before returning.
No. 8 – RENE MARK CUARTO
RECORD: 21-4-2 (14 KOs)
THE PAST: After turning pro at 17, he suffered an early setback, which he later avenged, then lost to compatriot Samuel Salva (UD 12) in an IBF title eliminator. He eventually won the belt by edging past Pedro Taduran (UD 12) but lost it to Valladares (SD 12) in controversial fashion. After a comeback win lost an exciting fight with Ginjiro Shigeoka (KO 9).
THE FUTURE: The taxing nature of the fight with Shigeoka will mean he likely needs and extended break before coming back.
No. 9 – WILFREDO MENDEZ
RECORD: 18-3 (6 KOs)
THE PAST: Mendez shocked Vic Saludar (UD 12) to win the WBO title. The 26-year-old southpaw made two defenses against Axel Aragon Vega (Tech. Dec. 7) and Gabriel Mendoza (TKO 9) before losing to Masataka Taniguchi (TKO 11). “Bimbito” scored two wins before coming unstuck against Yudai Shigeoka (KO 7).
THE FUTURE: He had been due to face ArAr Andales in a crossroads fight in Japan, however, his opponent couldn’t get a visa and the fight was canceled.
No. 10 – JAKE AMPARO
RECORD: 14-4-1 (3 KOs)
THE PAST: Amparo lost for the first time in his third outing against compatriot Garen Diagan (RTD 3). After a couple of wins lost to Arvin Magramo (RTD 3) and Regie Suganob (UD). To his credit he reeled off five wins including a road win in South Africa against Mthokozisi Ngxaka (UD 8). However suffered a contentious setback against Huu Toan Le (SD 12) in Thailand. The 25-year-old has bounced back with three win, notably scoring an impressive recent win in Japan over touted Goki Kobayashi (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: Amparo will see his world ranking significantly improve after the Kobayashi victory, which earned him a WBO regional title, and could look to position himself for a shot at Collazo.
On the Cusp: Erick Rosa (has been inactive for over a year, he will be considered after his fight on August 25) Joey Canoy, Garen Diagan, Ayanda Ndulani, Pedro Taduran and Alex Winwood.
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