On April 12th the WBC sent out their newest rankings which have, of course, seen some notable changes across the weights following the last months worth of action.
The first change of note for ourselves concerns Ryuji Hara (#8) who has climbed up 3 places following his hard fought OPBF title bout with Donny Mabao. Hara's move up the rankings has seen very little knock on effect with a basic sliding of the fighters he's over-took. Down, outside the top 15, of the rankings their is a place for youngster Kosei Tanaka (#26) who is deserving of his ranking in the top 30.
Strangely Hara is one of just 4 Asian fighters in the top 15 alongside Wanheng Menayothin (#1), Xiong Zhao Zhong (#4) and Pigmy Kokietgym (#5).
The biggest changes of the month was of course at 108lbs where super-star Naoya Inoue became the world champion following his very impressive victory over Adrian Hernandez. This has seen Inoue (previously #4) taken out of the challenger rankings and seen Hernandez inserted at #3, unfortunately that's hit OPBF champion Jonathan Taconing (#4) who has fallen a single place despite his thrilling OPBF title fight with Virgilio Silvano.
Another big change at Light Flyweight saw Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (#25) fall a remarkable 20 places following his loss to Takuma Inoue (#14) who has burst on to the scene following their bout. Prior to their bout Takuma wasn't ranked in the top 40. This change has allowed for Rey Loreto (#7) to move up a place and also helped Lionel Legada (#8) move up 2 places. We've also seen Japanese champion Yu Kimura (#13) move up 2 places.
All these changes have left Asian fighters holding a number of key rankings. As well as champion Inoue we have Taconing (#4), Loreto (#7), Legada (#8), Kimura (#13) and Takuma Inoue (#14).
At Flyweight, where champion Akira Yaegashi impressively stopped Odilon Zaleta recently,we've seen a few changes in the top 15, all due to Zaleta's loss. These have been basic changes and see Japanese champion Suguru Muranaka (#9), Rey Megrino (#10) and Renan Trongco (#12) all move up one place.
These leaves Asian's holding not only the world title but also some very top rankings with Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai (#3), Noknoi Sitthiprasert (#4), Froilan Saludar (#7), Muranaka (#9), Megrino (#10) and Trongco (#12).
In a division headed by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai we under-stand why many aren't angling towards the Thai. Despite that we have seen some changes in the rankings with Toshiyuki Igarashi (#8) dropping a place as Paul Butler climbs over him, strangely we've also seen Sonny Boy Jaro (#14) suddenly appear in the divisional rankings despite being without a notable win in more than 2 years!
As with the previous two divisions it leaves an Asian holding the world title with Srisaket, and Asian's also holding some notable rankings with Oleydong Sithsamerchai (#2), Malolm Tunacao (#5), Ryo Akaho (#6), Igarashi (#7), Rex Tso (11), Jaro (#14) and Arthur Villanueva (#15) all in the top 15.
We're surprised, again, by the lack of Sho Ishida in the top 40 given he does hold a stoppage over #38 Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, AKA Petchbarngborn Sor Tanapinyo.
In a 4th successive division we have a Asian as the champion with Shinsuke Yamanaka, who will defend his title on April 23rd against Stephane Jamoye (#3).
The most notable change here has seen former Super Flyweight title holder Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (#1) switch places with OPBF champion Ryosuke Iwasa (#2) a relatively harsh move considering Iwasa did successfully, albeit unconvincingly, defend his OPBF title against Richard Pumicpic (#30) whilst Suriyan has been busy beating nondescript opponents on a regular basis.
Another oddity in the WBC ranking's here is that they still have Kohei Oba (#11) ahead of Randy Caballero (#12) despite Caballero's recent victory over the Japanese fighter.
These changes, and in some cases lack of changes, see the rankings for Asian fighters feature Suriyan (#1), Iwasa (#2), Zhanat Zhakiyanov (#6), Rolly Matsushita (#7), Petch Sor Chitpattana (#8), Oba (#11) and Hiroki Shiino (#14)
Finally the run of Asian champions comes to an end at 122lbs though the rankings do make for some pleasant reading with 4 Asian's in the top 15.
The changes in the division have seen Shingo Wake (#5) climb 2 places, Yasutaka Ishimoto (#8) climb 1 place, Qiu Xiao Jun (#13) climb 2 places and Yukinori Oguni (#15) climb back into the top 15.
The biggest mover at Super Bantamweight has come outside the top #15 as Japanese champion Hidenori Otake (#18) has come from nowhere to be ranked in to the top 20. Last month he wasn't even in the top 40!
The first change at Featherweight is a confusing one as Gary Russell Jr (#3) has been inserted into the WBC rankings despite having a WBO world title fight lined up which should have made him ineligible for the rankings, as he was last month. The insertion of Russell has dropped Marvin Sonsona (#5) a single place though strangely it's not effected OPBF champion Hisashi Amagasa (#11) who has seen himself climb over Joel Brunker.
This leaves us with the #5 and #11 ranked fighters as our only top 15 ranked Featherweights.
Amazingly it appears the WBC isn't fond of Asian fighters at 130lbs, despite their champion being Takashi Miura. The only Asian ranked in the top 15 is Ryan Sermona (#12) who has climbed a place up the rankings this month.
Sermona's ranking will be on the line later today as he battles Shingo Eto in Japan.
At Lightweight where we find Teiken's Jorge Linares (#2) we see Rustam Nugaev (#4) moving up 2 places and climbing over Takahiro Ao (#6) in the process. Ao's one place drop sees him sitting just above compatriot Nihito Arakawa (#7). The only other Asian ranked fighter is OPBF champion Masayoshi Nakatani (#14) who has found himself dropping a single place.
The only top 15 ranked Asian at 140lbs is South Korean Min Wook Kim (#8) who has, rather fortunately, found himself climbing up the rankings by a single place. The next best Oriental is Keita Obara (#35) who fights later today for OPBF title with Jay Solmiano.
The only ranked Asian at Welterweight is current OPBF champion Yoshihiro Kamegai (#14) who recently defended his title with an easy stoppage over a mismatched Korean challenger. Interestingly there are a lot of Russians knocking on the door of a top 15 rankings with David Avanesyan (#16), Konstantin Ponomarev (#17) and Aslanbek Kozaev (#21)
Only Japanese based American Charlie Ota (#8) makes it into the top 15 at 154lbs. The next best fighter for us is Sherzod Husanov (#21) and then we have Akinori Watanabe (#37) and Petchsuriya Singwancha (#40) way down the rankings.
The best ranked Middleweight is Andrey Meryasev (#10) who remains as he was a month ago. Further down the rankings there are no changes for either Ryota Murata (#23) or Akio Shibata (#24) though Matt Korobov (#17) has climbed up 1 place.
In the 168lb division we've seen Maxim Vlasov (#6) drop a single place. Vlasvov is the only top 15 fighter of note.
The Light Heavyweight division has seen Dmitry Sukhotsky (#8) climbing one place up the rankings whilst Denis Grachev (#12) has fallen hard from #6. It's Grachev's fall from grace that has helped Sukhotsky here.
At Cruiser weight the top ranked Russian is Grigory Drozd (#4) who sits 9 places above compatriot Murat Gassiev (#13). The WBC did remove Alexander Alexeev (previously #15) following his retirement.
At Heavyweight the only fighter we need to note is Lebanese born Manuel Charr (#7) who has dropped a place following Tony Thompson's victory over Odlanier Solis (#14). Outside of the top 20 is Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (#22) who has some how climbed 2 places ahead of his fight, later this month, with Nobuhiro Ishida.
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