Monday, September 25, 2023  |


The Ring ratings reviewed: Lightweight

Haney takes it to Gamboa. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
Fighters Network

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, debate takes 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.

Next up is lightweight, which is brimming with talent from top to bottom and is arguably the strongest weight class in boxing currently. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.



RECORD: 30-0 (15 KOs)

THE PAST: Haney turned professional at 17 in Mexico. This super talent has scored wins over Mason Menard (RTD 9), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD 10) and Antonio Moran (KO 7). After being upgraded to full WBC titleholder, following his dominant win over Zaur Abdullaev (RTD 4), he defended his title, notably beating former three-division titlist Jorge Linares (UD 12) and former 130-pound titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. (UD 12). The 24-year-old scored a dominant win over IBF, WBA and WBO titleholder and then-The Ring champion George Kambosos Jr. (UD 12) to become undisputed champion and repeated the win in a rematch. Most recently, he edged past Vasiliy Lomachenko (UD 12) in contentious fashion.

THE FUTURE: Appears to be nearing a deal to move up in weight and face WBC 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis in a homecoming in San Francisco on December 9.




RECORD: 17-3 (11 KOs)

THE PAST: The supremely gifted Ukrainian southpaw was one of the most decorated amateurs ever, claiming Olympic gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. An early setback to Orlando Salido (SD 12), in his second professional outing, was followed by a rapid ascent. Loma claimed the vacant WBO featherweight title at the expense of Gary Russell Jr. (MD 12) and he has won further titles at 130 and 135. Owns solid victories over Roman Martinez (KO 5), Nicholas Walters (RTD 7), Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD 6) and Jorge Linares (TKO 10). He lost to Teofimo Lopez (UD 12) but has bounced back with comprehensive wins over Masayoshi Nakatani (TKO 9) and Richard Commey (UD 12). In the eyes of most he did enough to beat Haney (UD 12) but the three people whose opinion mattered most saw the American as the winner.

THE FUTURE: Taking time off before returning next year.



RECORD: 29-0 (27 KOs)

THE PAST: Impressively ripped the IBF 130-pound title from Jose Pedraza (TKO 7). Since then, his star has risen and he is one of the most popular attractions in America, regularly selling out areas across the country and performing on Showtime Pay-Per-View. He owns a highlight reel knockout over Leo Santa Cruz (KO 6) and showed his vaunted power carries up in weight when he came on strong to stop the much larger Mario Barrios (TKO 11) at 140 pounds. Stopped WBA 130-pound titlist Hector Luis Garcia (TKO 9) to set up the Ryan Garcia fight in the spring and easily put away Garcia in seven-rounds.

THE FUTURE: Looks like he’ll face Isaac Cruz in a rematch in the fall.



RECORD: 25-2-1 (17 KOs)

THE PAST: Cruz stopped one-time contender Diego Magdaleno (KO 1), took the unbeaten record of Jose Matias Romero (UD 12) and beat the more experienced former 130-pound titleholder Francisco Vargas (UD 10). Those wins helped earn him a late substitute’s call to step in and face Gervonta Davis. The 25-year-old Mexican was extremely competitive but lost a 12-round unanimous decision. In defeat, he showed he belongs in the upper echelons of the division. “Pitbull” bounced back to winning ways by stopping faded former unified featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (TKO 5), Eduardo Ramirez (KO 2) and, most recently, Giovanni Cabrera (SD 12).

THE FUTURE: Tabbed to face Davis again.



RECORD: 23-1 (19 KOs)

THE PAST: Garcia is every bit the new-age fighter; he’s a social media phenom, with millions of followers (10.3 million on Instagram). There were question marks as to whether Garcia’s achievements would live up to his outside-the-ring persona. He has since allayed some of the doubters by showcasing his vaunted power against Romero Duno (KO 1), Francisco Fonseca (KO 1) and two-time title challenger Luke Campbell (TKO 7). The 25-year-old didn’t fight for 15 months due to mental health concerns but knocked off the ring rust when he dominated Emmanuel Tagoe (UD 12) and looked very impressive knocking out wily campaigner Javier Fortuna (KO 6). Was found wanting when he met Davis and was stopped in seven-rounds.

THE FUTURE: Could take his large frame to 140-pounds. Golden Boy have said they have a November date for Garcia, if he wants it. Garcia said on X on Sunday that he’d be fighting at the end of this year.




RECORD: 20-0 (10 KOs)

THE PAST: The 2016 Olympic silver medalist adapted to the professional game and his star quickly ascended. Stevenson shut down the previously unbeaten Joet Gonzalez (UD 12) to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title. He immediately moved up to 130 pounds and was awarded The Ring Performance of the Year for dominating and stopping WBO titlist Jamel Herring (TKO 10). Added The Ring and WBC titles by outclassing the previously unbeaten Oscar Valdez (UD 12). Missed weight against Robson Conceicao (UD 12) and lost his titles on the scales. The 26-year-old southpaw elected to head to 135-pounds where, most recently, he was punch perfect against Shuichiro Yoshino (TKO 6).

THE FUTURE: Had been scheduled to face Frank Martin for the vacant WBC Interim title (Haney is the WBC champion in Recess.) However, a late change of heart saw the fight fall through. Stevenson is looking for a new opponent for the target date of November 16. The highest rated contender is Edwin De Los Santos.

Shakur Stevenson (L) and Shuichiro Yoshino (R) exchange punches during their lightweight fight at Prudential Center on April 08, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)


RECORD: 17-0 (12 KOs)

THE PAST: He won his first 11 fights and started working with then unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. and his trainer Derrick James. The leg-up has benefited Martin, who has gone from strength to strength, taking the unbeaten record of Jerry Perez (KO 7), stopping one-time contender Romero Duno (TKO 4) and Jackson Marinez (TKO 10). He was hugely impressive dominating Michel Rivera (UD 12) in a match up of unbeaten prospects. The 28-year-old southpaw had a harder time than expected and had to come on late to edge out Artem Harutyunyan (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: Had been lined up to face Stevenson before a deciding to go in a different direction. The reasons have yet to surface, perhaps PBC offered him a fight with Davis?



RECORD: 28-0 (24 KOs)

THE PAST: The hard-hitting Mexican southpaw punching machine won his first 20 fights in Mexico before signing with Golden Boy Promotions. Since then, the 27-year-old has continued to impress, notably bludgeoning previously unbeaten Hector Tanajara (RTD 6) into defeat, he gained quality rounds with seasoned veteran Rene Alvarado (UD 10), further legitimized himself scoring a dominant win over former 130-pound titlist Joseph Diaz (UD 12) and, most recently, stayed busy demolishing Jaime Arboleda (KO 2)

THE FUTURE: Will fight fringe contender Mercito Gesta on Saturday.



RECORD: 21-2 (10 KOs)

THE PAST: The Australian worked his way up the local scene collecting a slew of regional titles along the way. Fought a couple of times in America but didn’t catch the eye. His big break came when he traveled to the UK to edge past Lee Selby (SD 12) in an IBF title eliminator. That earned him a shot at The Ring, IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. As a huge underdog, he remained calm and composed to upset the gifted American by 12-round split decision. Was comprehensively outboxed and lost his titles to Haney (UD 12) and then was widely beaten in a rematch (UD 12). After time off he resurfaced and narrowly beat Maxi Hughes (MD 12).

THE FUTURE: Is well placed to fight for the IBF title and could face Gustavo Lemos if that title becomes vacant.

Teofimo Lopez (right) and George Kambosos Jr. exchange punches. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing

Teofimo Lopez (right) and George Kambosos Jr. exchange punches. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing


RECORD: 26-5-2 (5 KOs)

THE PAST: Hughes turned professional in 2010. For much of the next decade he spent around domestic level but lost when he stepped up, notable in British junior lightweight title challenges to Martin J. Ward (UD 12) and Sam Bowen (TKO 8). However, the proud Brit impressively outhustled Jono Carroll (UD 10), took Viktor Kotochigov’s unbeaten record (UD 12) and then got over the hump to claim the British lightweight title against Paul Hyland Jr. (TKO 8). The fairytale continued when he added three more wins to his resume including against former featherweight titleholder Kid Galahad (MD 12). He looked unlucky last time out against Kambosos (MD 12).

THE FUTURE: Deserves another opportunity after coming up short against Kambosos, whether he’ll get it remains to be seen.



RECORD: 18-0 (15 KOs)

THE PAST: Muratalla turned professional in September 2016. After winning his first three fights in Mexico, the California native moved through the ranks. He holds wins over Jeremy Hill (KO 3), Jair Valtierra (UD 8), Humberto Galindo (KO 9). He stepped up against Jeremiah Nakathila and showed he was ready for the opportunity stopping the Namibian in two-rounds. Had been due to try to build on that momentum against unbeaten Diego Torres on August 12. However, a training injury forced him off that card.

THE FUTURE: Perhaps the Torres fight will be rescheduled for an upcoming Top Rank show.


On the Cusp: Albert Batrygaziev, Denys Berinchyk, Keyshawn Davis, Edwin De Los Santos and Jamaine Ortiz



The Ring Ratings Reviewed: Pound for Pound – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed: Strawweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior flyweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Flyweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior bantamweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Bantamweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior featherweight – The Ring (

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Featherweight – The Ring (

The Ring ratings reviewed 2023: Junior lightweight – The Ring (


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].