After what feels like forever the WBC have finally updated their rankings for the first time in 2014. The rankings, for January 2014, have come at the end of the month and whilst we understand the WBC have had their issues recently we do feel that this has been a long time over-due.
Despite it taking a long time to get the new WBC rankings, some things haven't changed. This includes the fact China's Xiong Zhao Zhong is still the WBC champion. Just behind Zhong is #1 contender Wanheng Menayothin (#1), not too far behind Wanheng is fellow Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (#5). In regards to Japan the highest ranked Japanese fighter is Ryuji Hara (#10).
Interestingly Ali Raymi (previously #9) has dropped all the way down to #22, this is is why Hara has climbed a ranking place.
For Zhong it's worth noting that his upcoming defense against Osvaldo Novoa (#2) is against a top contender whilst Carlos Buitrago (#15) is a new entrant having faile to defeat WBO champion Merlito Sabillo.
At Light Flyweight, where Mexican Adrian Hernandez holds the title, we say pretty notable changes, even if the champion has remained the same man. The first change for us is the removal from the rankings of Yodmongkol Wor. Saengthep (previously #2), though it's an obvious move with Yodmongkol now holding the WBA interim title at Flyweight. The removal of Yodmongkol has seen Jonathan Taconing (#3) move up one place as a direct result.
Behind Taconing is Naoya Inoue (#4) who has jumped form #9, and Shin Ono (#5) who has climbed one place from #6. Also in the top 10 is Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (#6), who has entered the Light Flyweight rankings following his victory over Ryo Miyazaki, and Nethra Sasiprapa (#8) who has climbed 2 places. The only other Asian in the top #15 is Lionel Legada (#13) whose ranking really is inexplicable given that he hasn't fought at 108lbs since 2012 and hasn't won a fight at Light Flyweight since 2011.
In the Flyweight division Akira Yaegashi is still the champion. Directly behind him is Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (#1) who has jumped to the top of the rankings following his permanent move to 112lbs.
Below Gonzalez are a number of Asian fighters. These include Rocky Fuentes (#3), who of course lost recently in an IBF world title fight, Noknoi Sitthiprasert (#4), Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai (#6), Froilan Saludar (#8), Suguru Muranaka (#10), Rey Megrino (#11), Renan Trongco (#13), Takuya Kogawa (#14) and Shota Kawaguchi (#15). In terms of changes this sees Fuentes, Noknoi, Nawaphon, Saludar and Megrino all dropping a place, courtesy of Gonzalez, Muranaka entering the rankings courtesy of his victory over Kogawa who dropped from #9.
Interestingly last month's #12 Yodgoen Tor Chalermchai has dropped all the way down to #31, this was due to his loss to Kawaguchi who enteres the top #15.
At Super Flyweight we still see Srisaket Sor Rungvisai with the world title. We expect Srisaket to be fighting Mexican Carlos Cuadras (#1) in the coming months. The highest Asian challenger is Oleydong Sithsamerchai (#2), who is well ahead of the next best Asian challenger Malcolm Tunacao (#7). Behind Tunacao is Ryo Akahko (#8), Toshiyuki Igarashi (#9), Rex Tso (#12) and Arthur Villanueva (#15). In regards to changes in the top #15 there aren't any.
Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka might be talking about moving up in weight but for now he'll be keeping an eye on those below him in the rankings. The top contender for Yamanaka is former rival Ryosuke Iwasa (#1) whilst former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (#2) is close behind. Lower down we find Zhanat Zhakiyanov (#6), Rolly Matsushita (#7), Petch Sor Chitpattana (#9), Kohei Oba (#11) and Hiroki Shiino (#14). The big changes here are that Petch moves up 1 place from #10 whilst Shiino drops from #9 to #14 courtesy of his loss to Iwasa.
In the Super Bantamweight division we see Hozumi Hasegawa (#7) remain where he was whilst Shingo Wake (#9) drops a place due to Vic Darchinyan entering at #8. Interestingly Yasutaka Ishimototo (#13) has dropped 2 places, one is due to Darchinyan whilst the other is due to Cesar Seda moving in to the #12 ranking.
The Featherweight rankings have see Akifumi Shimoda taken out of the rankings (due to his now cancelled WBA title challenge) leaving just Hisashi Amagasa (#11) in the rankings.
Things are equally as disappointing at Super Featherweight. Although WBC champion Takashi Miura is Japanese his only Asian challenger is Ryan Sermona (#12) and it'd make sense for Miura to take this opportunity to unify with WBA champion Takashi Uchiyama in a bout that every fan, and both fighters, seems to want to see.
Lightweight is a surprisingly interesting division. Not only is Nihito Arakawa (#2) in the top 10 but so too is his upcoming opponent Jorge Linares (#5). Close behind Linares is Takahiro Ao (#6) and Rustam Nugaev (#7) whilst just outside the top 10 is Jomthong Chuwatana (#11) who climbs once place. A new entry is Masayoshi Nakatani (#14) who moves in to the rankings following his victory over Yoshitaka Kato earlier this month. On the subject of Kato, he was #10 last month though his loss has seen him dropping to #20
Unfortunately things start to go down hill as we move further up the divisions. At Light Welterweight we only have Min-Wook Kim (#9) and Anton Novikov (#11) whilst Welterweight sees only Manny Pacquiao (#1) and Aslanbek Kozaev (#13) managing to get in to the top 15.
At Light Middleweight we only have Charlie Ota (#9), who remains where he was last month, and at Middleweight we only have Andrey Meryasev (#9), who drops down a place due to Jermain Taylor. Just outside the top #15 at Middleweight is Matt Korobov (#16) whilst Ryota Murata (#21) is also on the verge of climbing in to the top rankings.
Russia's Maxim Vlasov (#5) is the only fighter of a notable ranking at Super Middleweight. At Light Heavyweight we again only have Russian's as Denis Grachev (#7) and Dmitry Sukhotsky (#8) fit in to the top 10. At Cruiserweight we have a third successive division with only Russian's being ranked courtesy of Rakhim Chakhkiev (#1), Grigory Drozd (#2) and Murat Gassiev (#14).
In the Heavyweight division the only ranked Asian is Lebanese-Syrian Manuel Charr (#6) who will be feeling that this is his year to get another world title fight.
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