Ring Ratings Update: Leigh Wood takes No. 1 spot at featherweight
Leigh Wood said he would move to the junior lightweight division immediately after defeating domestic rival Josh Warrington with a come-from-behind seventh-round stoppage in defense of his WBA featherweight title on October 7 in Sheffield, England. If it’s true that the 35-year-old veteran from Nottingham is done with the 126-pound division, his final featherweight performance was impressive enough to vault him from No. 3 in The Ring’s rankings to the top spot.
Anson Wainwright was impressed with the stoppage but suggested that Wood move only one notch forward.
“Leigh Wood was having a torrid time with Josh Warrington until he fought that punch in the seventh round,” said Wainwright. “Heck of a turnaround. Wood [can go] up one place and Warrington [can] maintain his place. I do think both may head to 130 soon.”
Tom Gray suggested that Wood move to No. 1 given Luis Alberto Lopez’s recent performance vs. Joet Gonzalez, Rey Vargas’ inactivity at featherweight, and Wood’s body of work.
“Wood to No. 1 for me,” said Gray. “[No. 2-rated] Vargas hasn’t had a fight at the weight since July of last year and [No. 1-rated] Lopez, who didn’t look particularly great against Gonzalez, can’t match Wood’s resume. As much as Warrington was ahead, Wood kept his composure, pounced on a mistake, and produced an elite-level finish. If he doesn’t get his flowers after that, then he never will.”
Replied Wainwright: “For me the way Wood was losing and looked on his way out until he found that shot [prevents him from going to No. 1], though at the end of the day the win is what matters most. Like Tom says Lopez didn’t look great last time out but he did win and had looked amazing against Conlan. As I mentioned, Wood and maybe Warrington may well head to 130 next anyway.”
Replied Gray: “I disagree, mate. Team Wood’s tactical awareness in 12-round championship fights is off the charts. He drained Conlan, who was also ahead, in a FOTY (and that was before Lopez beat him). He avenged a shuddering defeat to [Mauricio] Lara and boxed the ass off him. And in comparative terms, Lopez didn’t look anywhere near as good against Warrington in a majority decision win. Regardless of the shift to 130, Wood deserves his place at No. 1 IMO. I actually think it’s a no-brainer, but that’s what the panel’s for.”
Adam Abramowitz and Abraham Gonzalez agreed with Wainwright’s suggestion of a No. 2 ranking for Wood, but were outvoted by Gray, Tris Dixon, Diego Morilla and your favorite Editor-In-Chief.
“Wood to No. 1 for me, too,” said Dixon. “Nice arguments, Tom and Anson. I get both sides. Warrington was doing great, until he wasn’t. Lazy comparison, but so was Michael Moorer against Big George. Doesn’t matter if you’re ahead or not boxing well, as long as you can take a convincing ‘W.’
“Also, surprised Wood didn’t box much through the middle rounds as a lefty. It worked when he first started doing it and worked again at the end.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of Oct. 7):
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – Gilberto Ramirez exits following his cruiserweight debut against Joe Smith Jr. Albert Ramirez (17-0, 15 KOs), of Venezuela, enters at No. 10.
“Ramirez boxed well and won a solid 10-round unanimous decision over Joe Smith Jr.,” noted Wainwright. “The win jumps Ramirez right into things in the stagnant cruiserweight division. No ranking (at cruiserweight) for now but that could change soon.”
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – Vladimir Shishkin remains at No. 8 after a second-round stoppage of Ramon Ayala.
“Bektemir Melikuziev stopped Alantez Fox in four and looks to have moved past the knockout loss,” noted Wainwright. “Appears to be knocking on the door, in the 11-15 range.”
FEATHERWEIGHT – Leigh Wood advances to No. 1. Josh Warrington remains at No. 8.
STRAWWEIGHT – Yudai Shigeoka advances to No. 2 following his WBC title-winning unanimous decision over
Petchmanee CP Freshmart, who drops to No. 5. Ginjiro Shigeoka advances to No. 3 after his IBF title winning fifth-round stoppage of Daniel Valladares, who exits the rankings. Wilfredo Mendez remained at No. 9 following a four-round technical draw with ArAr Andales but advanced to No. 8 due to Valladares’ exit. Erick Rosa (6-0, 2 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, enters at No. 10.
“I think Ginjiro is the better of the two brothers, but Yudai beat the better and more accomplished opponent,” said Gray.
“I agree, always thought Ginjiro was the better of the brothers but as Tom says Yudai beat a better champion,” agreed Wainwright, “so it’s hard not to go Yudai then Ginjiro for now.”