Earlier today the WBO issued their updated rankings, their first of the year. As with every month and every organisation, we've seen some notable changes though for us some of the changes here have been very much welcome as well as some things nicely staying the same as they were a month prior.
One thing that hasn't changes has been the WBO Minimumweight champion. Although he was pushed hard late last year Merlito Sabillo did retain his title. Although much talk has been about Sabillo's next opponent, will it be a rematch with #1 contender Carlos Buitrago or a unification bout with IBF champion Katsunari Takayama? There will be a host Asian contenders thinking they are deserving of a fight. These include Wanheng Menayothin (#2), Ryuji Hara (#3), Shin Ono (#5), Pigmy Kokietgym (#6), Ali Raymi (#7), Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (#8), Paipharob Kokietgym (#9), Denver Cuello (#13), Ken Agena (#14) and Ivan Soriano (#15). Yes we kid you not, 10 of the 15 ranked fighters by the WBO are Asian! The one big change is that Yodngoen Tor Chalermchai (previously #9) has dropped out of the rankings due to his loss to Shota Kawaguchi.
At Light Flyweight, where champion Donnie Nietes looks set to fight Moises Fuentes, we've seen a few more notable movers and shakers. Rommel Asenjo (#5) moves up one place and Naoya Inoue (#9) moves up 3. The movement of Inoue has seen both whilst Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (#11) and Yuki Chinen (#13) drop one place whilst Filipino pair Randy Petalcorin (#14) and Jonathan Taconing (#14) remain where they were a month ago.
The Flyweight division, headed by champion Juan Francisco Estrada, has seen a notable change. Due to Roman Gonzalez (#2) being introduced to the division her has forced everyone else to move down. This has seen Froilan Saludar (#4), Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express (#5), Milan Melindo (#6), Takuya Kogawa (#7), Rocky Fuentes (#8), Joebert Alvarez (#12), Toshiyuki Igarashi (#13) and Koki Eto (#14) all fall a single place. Unfortunately this has also seen Nawaphon Por Chokchai (previously #15) drop out of the rankings. Strangely Kogawa's loss to Suguru Muranaka doesn't appear to be reflected in these rankings with Muranaka not given a ranking whilst Kogawa keeps his lofty one. We have questioned the WBO over this though aren't expecting a reply.
At Super Flyweight, where the champion is Omar Andres Narvaez, we see Asian's filling up a number of places in the rankings. The Asian's are headed by Koki Kameda (#2) whilst Arthur Villanueva (#3), Mark Anthony Geraldo (#4) and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (#7) all remain where they were last month. The big moved is Noknoi Sitthiprasert (#9) who moved from #15 last month. Noknoi's move has been followed by Oleydong Sithsamerchai (#10), Denkaosan Kaovichit (#11), Teiru Kinoshita (#12) and Tepparith Kokietgym (#13) all moving up one place. The moves have opened up a place for unbeaten Japanese youngster Sho Ishida (#14) who moves in the rankings.
In the Bantamweight weight class, where we have champion Tomoki Kameda who sees a variety of Asian challengers on his tail. The top 10 includes Pungluang Sor Singyu (#1), Ryosuke Iwasa (#4), Marvin Mabait (#6), Kohei Oba (#8) and Marlon Tapales (#10) who will all be looking at a possible fight with Tomoki as a very much winnable one. At #11 we see the big change as Alie Laurel displaces the previously unbeaten Tiger Tor Buamas, who he beat earlier this month. Interestingly Laurel isn't the only change in the later places with Drian Francisco (#15) falling 3 places. Interestingly there is no change for Ryo Akaho (#13) or AJ Banal (#14) whilst Konosuke Tomiyama (previously #15) has dropped out completely.
Super Bantamweight sees very little in terms of changes with Nonito Donaire (#2), Genesis Servania (#3), Hozumi Hasegawa (#4), Sod Looknongyangtoy (#5), Yasutaka Ishimoto (#7) and Akifumi Shimoda (#11) all the same place as they were last month. The one change we do see is new entry Hidenori Otake (#12) the current Japanese national champion.
At Featherweight we see no notable changes with Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (#2), Jun Doliguez (#7), Hisashi Amagasa (#9) and Russian Andrey Bogdanov (#15) all exactly where they were a month ago.
In the Super Featherweight division we see wholesale changes. We've seen both Takahiro Ao (formerly #4) and Daiki Kaneko (formerly #8) both dropping out of the rankings. The removable of Ao and Kaneko has helped Filipino Juan Martin Elorde (#8) move up 2 places whilst Arash Usmanee (#14) is, we believe, a new entry.
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 coming weeks. As well as Shafikov we also have Takahiro Ao (#10) who has moved up from Super Featherweight and Indonesian Roy Mukhlis (#13) who are both new entries. These rankings have interestingly seen Yoshitaka Kato (previously #10) and IK Yang (previously #14) both drop out, unfortunately Masayoshi Nakatani, who beat Kato, hasn't seen his win rewarded with a world ranking.
In the Light Welterweight division champion Ruslan Provodnikov will be thinking he would safely deal with Filipino pair Jason Pagara (#3) and Jimrex Jaca (#12), who replaced Jay Solmiano. With neither of these likely to test Provodnikov it's unliekly the Russian will even give them the time of day.
At Welterweight, champion Timothy Bradley will still feel Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao (#1) breathing down his neck with the "Pacman" reamining where he was last month. Although Pacquiao hasn't moved we have seen Ji-Hoon Kim (#9), dropping 3 places.
In the Light Middleweight division we see no changes with Charlie Ota (#4) remaining where he was whilst at Middleweight Matt Korobov (#7), remaining where he was, is joined by Japan's Daisuke Nakagawa (#13) who is a new entry.
Super Middleweight sees no changes with Dimitri Sartison (#10) and Maxim Vlasov (#11) both staying exactly where they were. The same also applies at the Light Heavyweight division, with Igor Mikhalkin (#6) and Dmitry Sukhotsky (#9) both staying where they were, and the Cruiserweight division with Grigory Drozd (#6) and Alexander Alekseev (#15) also staying put.
The run of unchanged things ends at Heavyweight where Denis Boytsov (#13) has fallen one place.
The big talking point from where we are sat is regarding a number of fighters who beat ranked fighters with out being rewarded themselves. Notable examples are Shota Kawaguchi, Suguru Muranaka and Masayoshi Nakatani who all surely deserved a world ranking for beating highly ranked foes.
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