Saturday, December 09, 2023  |



Ring Ratings Update: A September to remember

Canelo Alvarez presses the action against Jermell Charlo during their super middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Fighters Network

The month of September featured Ring champions, titleholders, surging contenders and hot prospects in significant bouts that resulted in a number of changes to the divisional rankings.

The pound-for-pound top 10 was unaffected, although impressive performances from Ring champions Canelo Alvarez and Kenshiro Teraji prompted the Ring Ratings Panel to consider their placement among the elites. However, they decided that Alvarez’s near shutout over Jermell Charlo did not merit an advance from his No. 4 spot and Teraji’s ninth-round stoppage of Hekkie Budler was not enough to allow the Japanese veteran to crack the mythical top 10.

Other standouts during the month include cruiserweight champ Jai Opetaia, heavyweight banger Zhilei Zhang, junior bantamweight titleholder Junto Nakatani, super middleweight contender Christian Mbilli, lightweight buzzsaw William Zepeda, middleweight veteran Chris Eubank Jr. and previously unrated junior welterweight Richardson Hitchins, who crashed the rankings with a 10-round decision over Jose Zepeda.

Read on to see where they – and many others – rank within their weight classes.

RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of Sept. 30)

POUND-FOR-POUNDOleksandr Usyk, who defended the unified Ring Magazine heavyweight championship against Daniel Dubois, remains at No. 3. Canelo Alvarez remains at No. 4.

HEAVYWEIGHT – Usyk remains champ. Anthony Joshua remains at No. 3 following a seventh-round KO of late-substitute Robert Helenius. Zhilei Zhang remains at No. 4 after a repeat stoppage of Joe Joyce (KO 3), who drops to No. 8. Filip Hrgovic remains at No. 9 after a 12th-round stoppage of Demsey McKean. Dillian Whyte, who had been scheduled to face Joshua, exits due to his latest PED positive test, which made room for Jared Anderson to enter at No. 10. Andy Ruiz and Luis Ortiz exited due to inactivity, which made room for Frank Sanchez and Martin Bakole to enter at Nos. 9 and 10 (pushing Anderson to No. 7 along with Joyce’s fall). Sanchez remains at No. 9 following a four-round stoppage of Scott Alexander. However, Otto Wallin replaced Bakole at No. 10 on the strength of his split nod over Murat Gassiev. 

Zhilei Zhang’s left hands softened Joe Joyce up but the right hook ended matters. Photo / @Queensberry

CRUISERWEIGHTJai Opetaia remains champion.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTAnthony Yarde remains at No. 5 following a second-round stoppage of Jorge Silva. Oleksandr Gvozdyk remains at No. 8 after a second-round KO of Isaac Rodrigues.

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – Alvarez remains champion. Christian Mbilli advances to No. 2 following a four-round KO of Demond Nicholson.

MIDDLEWEIGHTChris Eubank Jr. advances to No. 6 following his 10th-round stoppage of Liam Smith, who drops to No. 10. Elijah Garcia advances to No. 8 following his eighth-round stoppage of Jose Resendiz. 

“Eubank Jr. gained revenge with a comprehensive 10th-round stoppage over Liam Smith,” noted Anson Wainwright. “Move Eubank Jr. to No. 6 (it was impressive and dominant but I don’t want to go too high because of what happened in the first fight) and Smith to drop to No. 10. Not sure if he’ll fight at 160 again.”

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTErickson Lubin remains at No. 5 following a controversial decision over Jesus Ramos, who advances to No. 6 despite the official loss.

Given the disputed nature of Lubin’s decision victory, Wainwright proposed keeping the contenders where they were ranked before their fight (Lubin at No. 5 and Ramos at No. 7). “Or keep Lubin at No. 5 and move Ramos to No. 6?”

Adam Abramowitz and Diego Morilla favored advancing Ramos to No. 6. Abraham Gonzalez was fine with leaving them where they were.

Erickson Lubin shocked Jesus Ramos (Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime).

Tom Gray had a more passionate opinion.

“We should pass a rule where the ‘official’ loser of a fight can go above the winner when the judges have embarrassed themselves. That decision was a disgrace and Ramos was the better fighter hands down. Us putting Lubin above Ramos makes us part of the problem.

“I haven’t come across one single person who thinks Lubin deserved that decision. Put yourself in Ramos’ shoes and imagine that happening to you.”

Replied Abramowitz: “I had Ramos winning close. I did see a few on my timeline who had Lubin, but that was clearly not a majority opinion. I have no issue with the 115-113 card for Lubin. I didn’t like the other two cards. They were bad cards but I would not call it a robbery in that I think I could see a scenario where Lubin could have eked it out.”

Added Daisuke Sugiura: “I was in the arena and relatively close to the ring and I also thought 7-5 Lubin was possible. I have to confess that I lost my interest in the fight after a few rounds (none of them deserved to win, to be honest) but watching casually I thought Lubin swept the final 4-5 rounds, and I might be able to find 1 or 2 rounds to give Lublin in the first 7 rounds too. Yes two of three cards were bad but not ‘robbery’ in my book. 

The bottom line is that I wasn’t impressed by Ramos – or Lublin. It happens sometimes with a competitive matchup on paper. I would keep them where they are.” 

Added Tris Dixon: “I was there and I didn’t have it a robbery. Yes, I felt Ramos edged it, but I didn’t score for him walking Lubin to the ropes and then doing nothing. 

“Ramos should be more mad at himself than the officials.”

WELTERWEIGHTMario Barrios enters at No. 9 after scoring a lopsided decision over former titleholder Yordenis Ugas.

Mario Barrios has his hand raised after upsetting Yordenis Ugas on the Canelo-Charlo undercard. Photo by German Villasenor

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTRichardson Hitchins enters at No. 5 after outpointing Jose Zepeda, who exits the rankings. Gary Antuanne Russell remains at No. 8 following a first-round stoppage of Kent Cruz.

LIGHTWEIGHTWilliam Zepeda advances to No. 6 following his brutal sixth-round stoppage of veteran Mercito Gesta.

“Zepeda is a nightmare for guys, non-stop pressure,” said Wainwright. “Move him up one place. Jamaine Ortiz won a 10-round unanimous decision over Antonio Moran. Ortiz is in the 11-15 range, if – and this is a big if – he can get to 135.”

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTEmanuel Navarrete enters at No. 1 following his thrilling decision over Oscar Valdez, who drops to No. 4. Otar Eranosyan (14-0, 7 KOs) enters at No. 8. Albert Bell remains at No. 10 after a fifth-round stoppage of Presco Carcosia.

FEATHERWEIGHTLuis Alberto Lopez remains No. 1 following a hard-fought decision over tough Joet Gonzalez. Ruben Villa remains at No. 10 after an eight-round decision over rugged Brandon Valdes.

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTElijah Pierce (18-2, 15 KOs) enters at No. 9 following a third-round KO of former contender Mike Plania.

BANTAMWEIGHTEmmanuel Rodriguez regained the IBF title and advanced to No. 2 following a shutout decision over Melvin Lopez. Vincent Astrolabio advances to No. 5 after an 11th-round stoppage of Nawaphon Kaikanha. Ryosuke Nishida advances to No. 8 after a decision over Christian Medina Jimenez.

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTJunto Nakatani remains at No. 3 (and WBO titleholder) after a decision over former title challenger Argi Cortes. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai remains at No. 7 following a third-round TKO of Anan Pongkhet. David Cuellar remains at No. 9 after a third-round stoppage of Marlon Rios Sarinana.

“I personally wouldn’t mind if we’d ranked Nakatani over (No. 2-rated) Roman Gonzalez,” said Sugiura. “Chocolatito’s last official win was 18 months ago, and Nakatani totally dominated the guy who gave Juan Fransisco Estrada hell. But, because of Choco’s track record, I won’t insist strongly.”   

Junto Nakatani landed his best shots against tough Argi Cortes, who suffered three knockdowns but lasted the 12-round distance. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

FLYWEIGHTCristofer Rosales remains at No. 9 following a second-round TKO of Abraham Medina.

JUNIOR FLYWEIGHTKenshiro Teraji remains champ following his ninth-round stoppage of former champ Hekkie Budler, who drops to No. 3. Shokichi Iwata remained at No. 8 after his sixth-round stoppage of Jayson Brillo, but was replaced by Miel Fajardo, who scored a first-round stoppage of John Paul Gabunilas.

STRAWWEIGHTWanheng Menayothin exits due to inactivity. Oscar Collazo remains WBA titleholder and at No. 3 following his sixth-round stoppage of Garen Diagan. Jake Amparo (14-4-1, 3 KOs) enters at No. 10 following a competitive decision over unbeaten prospect Goki Kobayashi.