Over the past day or two the WBO announced their updated world rankings. We've spent a little while going over them and now feel like we'll point out the notable inclusions from around the Asian boxing nations.
We'll start in the Minimumweight division where Asian's dominate the rankings. The highest ranked Asian fighter, behind champion Merlito Sabillo, is Thailand's Wanheng Menayothin (#2). The unbeaten Thai is marginally ahead of Ryuji Hara (#3) as they lead a pack of Asian's in the top 10. This sees Shin Ono (#5), Pigmy Kokietym (#6), Ali Raymi (#7), Fahlan Sakkreerin, Jr (#8), Yodngoen Tor Chalermchai (#9). Outside of the top 10 there are 3 more Asian's with Denver Cuello (#13), Ken Agena (#14) and Ivan Soriano (#15) all making their way in to the top 15.
At Light Flyweight, where again an Asian is champion courtesy of Donnie Nietes, there are just 2 top 10 ranked Asian's with Rommel Asenjo (#6) and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (#10) the only 2. Above the 10th position however is a small crowd of Asian's with Yuki Chinen (#11), Naoya Inoue (#12), Randy Petalcorin (#13) and Jonathan Taconing (#14).
The Flyweight division, headed by Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada, is again packed with Asian fighters. The highest Asian is Froilan Saludar (#3) of the Philippines, behind Saludar is Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express (#4), Milan Melindo (#5), Takuya Kogawa (#6), Rocky Fuentes (#7). This sees The Philippines, Japan and Thailand all represented, unfortunately though it's not taking in to account Kogawa's recent loss to an unranked fighter. Outside of the top 10 are Joebert Alvarez (#11), Toshiyuki Igarashi (#12), Koki Eto (#13) and Nawaphon Por Chokchai (#15).
It's at Super Flyweight were we get a major talking point as 3-weight world champion Koki Kameda (#2) is instilled with an amazingly generous ranking. Behind Koki are Filipino pair Arthur Villanueva (#3) and Mark Anthony Geraldo (#4) whilst Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (#7) is the highest ranked Thai. Other's ranked are Oleydong Sithsamerchai (#10), Denkaosan Kaovichit (#12), Teiru Kinoshita (#13), Tepparith Kokietgym (#14) and Noknoi Sitthiprasert (#15). Worryingly here is the fact that the WBO have a vacant world title having upgraded Omar Andres Narvaez to "super champion" which could well leave the door wide open to Koki walking in to a new world title fight if this is the route he decides to go.
At Bantamweight, where Tomoki Kameda is the champion, the #1 ranked fighter is actually former champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (#1). Not too far behind Pungluang is the talented Ryosuke Iwasa (#4) who may view a clash with Tomoki as something he'd possibly get, a little further down the rankings is Marvin Mabait (#6), then Kohei Oba (#8) before Marlon Tapales (#10) rounds off the top 10. Outside of the top 10 are Tiger Tor Buamas (#11), Drian Francisco (#12), Ryo Akaho (#13), AJ Banal (#14) and Konosuke Tomiyama (#15) as Asia take a sweep of positions 10-15.
The Super Bantamweight division is another one packed with Asian fighters as Nonito Donaire (#2) sits ahead of Genesis Servania (#3), Hozumi Hasegawa (#3), Sod Looknongyangtoy (#5) and Yasutaka Ishimoto (#7) who all fit into the top 10. Outside of the top 10 we can fight Akifumi Shimoda (#11) who is surprisingly the only Asian fighter between #10 and #15. It's hard to see any of these fighters troubling Guillermo Rigondeaux, though we would love to see Hasegawa give it a go.
It appears that Asian fighters begin to drop out of the rankings a bit at Featherweight where the only ranked fighters are Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (#2), Jun Doliguez (#7), Hisashi Amagasa (#9) and Russian Andrey Bogdanov (#15). Saying that however it seems that champion Orlando Salido is all but confirmed to be fighting Vasyl Lomachenko (#5) next time out anyway, so a title fight is off the table for at least 6 months.
At Super Featherweight only 3 Asian's are ranked with Takahiro Ao (#4) behind ahead of upcoming WBA challenger Daiki Kaneko (#8) and Filipino Juan Martin Elorde (#10). We're not if any of these guys would really fancy their chances with the excellent champion Mikey Garcia who is one to avoid at the moment.
Although the Lightweight division has seen champion Ricky Burns forced to fight Terrence Crawford (#1) it's fair to say a number of Asian fighters will be interested in the winner of that bout. This includes Russian Denis Shafikov (#3) who seems set to fight Miguel Vazquez in February 2014 as well as . Yoshitaka Kato (#10) and IK Yang (#14) who will both be hoping that 1 more win will edge them towards a WBO title fight.
At Light Welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov will be thinking he would safely deal with Filipino pair Jason Pagara (#4) and Jay Solmiano (#12) the only 2 Asian's ranked in the division.
Things are much better at Welterweight where champion Timothy Bradley is under threat from Manny Pacquiao (#1) and supposedly Ji-Hoon Kim (6), the only South Korean given any ranking by the WBO.
In the Light Middleweight division it's fair to suggest that Demetrius Andrade won't be worried about Charlie Ota (#4) the only ranked Asian fighter at 154 lbs. Things aren't any better at Middleweight with just Matt Korobov (#7) ranked.
After a lack of fighters at 154 and 160 it's nice to see a few names in the Super Middleweight rankings with Dimitri Sartison (#10) and Maxim Vlasov (#11). Of course neither of these men will be favoured against Robert Stieglitz but we'd not be shocked if either managed to give him a hard nights work.
At Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev will feel like he's a big favourite against either Igor Mikhalkin (#6) or Dmitry Sukhotsky (#9) though in all honesty it's hard to see any one, other than Adonis Stevenson, really giving Kovalev anything to worry about as it is.
In the Cruiserweight division we see just 2 Russian's ranked as both Grigory Drozd (#6) and Alexander Alekseev (#15) manage to make their way in to the rankings. We'd like to see Drozd challenging world champion Marco Huck at some point but with Huck's immediate future booked it's unlikely to be too soon.
Unfortunately the only Heavyweight ranked is the disappointing Denis Boytsov (#12). Boytsov did, just a few weeks ago, look set for a world title fight though a loss to Alex Leapai (#1) has seen those dreams shattered and it's unlikely Boytsov will get such a big chance any time soon.
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