Women’s Ratings Update: Baumgardner situation, Chapman breaks in, new members and more
August has been a month with a very interesting level of activity in the women’s boxing front. But even so, there were only a handful of changes in our Women’s Ratings.
But before we get into that, we must welcome three new members to our trailblazing panel.
Jeandra LeBeauf, Cynthia Conte and Christopher Benedict joined our debate group this month and will be providing their invaluable insight on women’s boxing from now on. We all look forward to their opinions and to sharing our collective wealth of knowledge among the stellar group of international writers and boxing observers that we have already assembled.
Earlier in the month, Japan’s Yuko Kuroki scored a career-best win with a victory over Mexico’s long-reigning titlist Montserrat Alarcon in the atomweight division.
“Yuko Kuroki is an underrated fighter,” said columnist Mark Jones. “She was a long-time minimum-weight champion and now holds two belts at atomweight. She’s a better fighter than our No. 1 Fabiana Bytyqi, but Bytyqi (20-0-2, 5 KOs) has that spit-shinned record.”
Our new member Christopher Benedict agreed.
“Yuko Kuroki unifying the WBO and WBA titles with her win over Montserrat Alarcon on Saturday is a compelling enough argument for her to jump all the way up to the top spot at atomweight over Fabiana Bytyqi as others have suggested.”
Most other members agreed, and thus Kuroki was elevated to No. 1 in boxing’s lowest weight division.
Later in the month, Britain’s Raven Chapman scored a lopsided win over unbeaten Lila Furtado, and the panel considered that this was enough to promote Britain’s Chapman to a lofty position in the featherweight ratings.
“(Canada’s Jelena) Mrdjenovich has been brilliant for the sport, but it’s time to give new fighters a place,” said historian Malissa Smith, in justifying her vote to move Chapman to the No. 4 position as proposed by Jones, with Beautiful Brawler’s Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle agreeing by indicating “fair call on Mrdjenovich. I’m good with Chapman at No. 5” in consonance with most of the panel.
There was also a general agreement throughout the panel that junior lightweight Ring champion Alycia Baumgardner should remain in her position until the matter of her positive test on a banned substance produced after her rematch against Christina Linardatou is finally confirmed and sanctions are put in place by both sanctioning bodies and relevant boxing commissions.
In consonance with other similar situations, The Ring wants to compile all the facts and give both the fighter and boxing’s institutions the right amount of time to clarify the situation before doing something as consequential as withdrawing recognition from a champion who won her title in the ring. More on this subject will be posted as news become available.
Diego M. Morilla writes 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.