Over the past day or two the WBA released their newest rankings and for us it was really exciting as we expected to see a shift in their ranking across a number of weights including major moves at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. Rather unsurprisingly we got those changes and are rather happy to see young fighters given credit for scoring great wins at the very start of their career even if they don't have the same fanfare some other fighters.
The first change at 105lbs was a slightly surprisingly one as Thailand's Samartlek Kokietgym (#9) moved up a place and over-took Mexico's Pedro Guevara (#11). The more notable change however is that Japanese novice Kosei Tanaka (#14) is rewarded for his excellent victory over Filipino Ronelle Ferreras (previously #12) who has dropped out of the top 15.
Tanaka's ranking sees him joining the recently crowned OPBF champion Ryuji Hara (#4) as the only Japanese fighters in the top 15 though it's really the Thai's that fill up the rankings with Wanheng Menayothin (#3), Kwanthai Sithmorseng (#7), Pigmy Kokietgym (#8) and the previously mentioned Samartlek (#9) all holding top 10 rankings! In regards to Filipino's Rey Loreto (#6) is standing alone in the top 15.
At Light Flyweight the obvious change is that Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (previously #5) has dropped out completely following his loss this past weekend. His victor, Takuma Inoue (#10), has been rewarded for his victory and it seems plausible that Takuma could very easily compete for the vacant world title in a fight or two. Another notable change here is that Shin Ono (previously #10) has been dropped out of the rankings which we're assuming is because he's challenging Katsunari Takayama in an IBF Minimumweight title next month. Oddly we've got to wonder what Takayama's former foe Nkosinathi Joyi (#11) has done to move up 3 places, especially considering that he's not fought since being iced by Rey Loreto, but rankings are always a mystery to themselves and that's the only reason Jonathan Taconing (#14) hasn't been rewarded for his victory over Virgilio Silvano (unranked).
In terms of overall rankings we have Randy Petalcorin (#2), Zou Shiming (#3), Wisanu Kokietgym (#7), Inoue (#10), Paipharob Kokietgym (#12) and Taconing (#14).
The first change at Flyweight is that Kazuto Ioka (previously #3) has been dropped from the rankings have signed to fight IBF champion Amant Rueroeng. This has seen numerous fighters moving up a place though Suguru Muranaka (#7) has moved up 2 places and leap frogged Hernan Marquez in the process. Oddly Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (#12) has jumped up 3 places though we do "like" the addition to the rankings of Richie Mepranum (#15) ahead of his challenge of world champion Juan Francisco Estrada.
The changes to the rankings have seen us being left with Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (#1), Noknoi Sithipraset (#5), Muranaka (#7), Joebert Alvarez (#9), Kwanpichit (#12), Koki Eto (#14) and Mepranum (#15)
Not many divisions have seen WBA champions crowned in recent weeks but one of the ones which has was the Super Flyweight division which has seen Kohei Kono (previously #2) crowned as the champion following his victory over Denkaosan Kaovichit (#6) who fell from the top position as a result of the loss. Interesting the Kono/Kaovichit bout left us with no #1 contender though the highest ranked challenger is Koki Kameda (#2), narrowly ahead of his compatriot Teiru Kinoshita (#4). Kaovichit's drop down the rankings have seen him narrowly staying in front of Norasingh Kokietgym (#7), the only other ranked Thai. Oddly the WBA haven't removed Nobuo Nashiro (#10) from their rankings despite the former champion retiring this past week, before the rankings were announced.
Koki's ranking does make the de factor top challenger for Kono and we believe he's fully aware of that so is likely to try and get that fight though with no license in Japan their are still stumbling blocks and we believe that if Kazuto Ioka beats Amnat he will try and sneak in their before Koki gets his chance.
The rankings left at Super Flyweight have Koki (#2), Kinoshita (#4), Kaovichit (#6), Norasingh (#7), Sho Ishida (#8), Arthur Villanueva (#9), Nashiro (#10) and Taiki Eto (#13) in a division where Asian's pretty much dominate the rankings.
In the 118lb division we now find Daiki Kameda (#5) who is a new entry and forces several fighters down. Recent title challenger Javier Chacon (previously #11) is removed making space for the UK's Lee Haskins (#13) whilst Petch Kokietgym (#14) remains where he was a month ago. Rather oddly Daiki holds a better place than Liborio Solis (#7) who famously beat him last year.
The changes here have left us with the Tabtimdeang Na Rachawat (#3), Daiki (#5), Tepparith Kokietgym (#9), Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (#10) and Petch (#14).
The very interesting Super Bantamweight division has, unsurprisingly, seen Hozumi Hasegawa (previously #3) removed ahead of his IBF title fight with Kiko Martinez. What is quite surprising though is that Shingo Wake (#4) has jumped in front of former title holder Jhonatan Romero. The only other ranked Asian is Sod Kokietgym (#8) who has moved up one place place due to Hasegawa's removal.
Amazingly nothing has changed in the 126lb division. Thankfully that means we keep some genuinely top ranked challengers with the ranked Asian's being Nonito Donaire (#2), recently crowned Japanese champion Satoshi Hosono (#3), Marvin Sonsona (#4) and Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (#10). Of course with Chonlatarn having a WBO eliminator in negotiations recently we'd assume he'll have his ranking taken in a month or two.
Donaire is expected to fight Simpiwe Vetyeka on May 31st for the WBA "Super" Title.
The Super Featherweight division has seen only a very minor change with Jose Pedraza (#9) and Rene Gonzalez (#11) swapping places. Unfortunately champion Takashi Uchiyama doesn't really have an attractive match up on the rankings and he has already beaten the most interesting challengers there.
In regards to the ranked Asian's the only challengers are Padjai Yongyuthgym (#7), recent challenger Daiki Kaneko (#10) and Thai veteran Terdsak Kokietgym (#12).
Things do start going down hill from Lightweight though thankfully the 135lb division does feature both Asian fighters and Asian managed fighters including Jorge Linares (#2) Rustam Nugaev (#3), Eduard Troyanovsky (#4), Takahiro Ao (#5), Bahodir Mamadjonov (#9), Roman Andreev (#14) and new entrant Petr Petrov (#15) who is in the Boxcino tournament final. Unfortunately Petrov's position has come at the loss of Masao Nakamura (previously #15)
On April 25th Troyanovsky will be challenging current champion Richar Abril for the title.
Other than world champion Khabib Allakhverdiev their is only one ranked Asian at 140lbs and that's Filipino Czar Amonsot (#9) who has moved up a single place as Souleymane M'baye (previously #9) has finally been removed from the WBA rankings. Just a few years over due folks!
Allakhverdiev is set to defend his world title on April 12th against unbeaten American Jessie Vargas.
At Welterweight the biggest changes are due to Pauli Malignaggi (previously #2) being removd ahead of his IBF title challenge. Malignaggi's removal has allowed Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (#6) to move up a place. Unfortunately due to the fact Julio Diaz (#7) has entered the rankings no other Asian's get to benefit from Malignaggi's removal. Oddly Diaz is given a lofty ranking despite having not won a bout since September 2012!
As well as Teerachai Asia also has Charlie Ota (#12), Japanese champion Suyon Takayama (#14) and Kazakh youngster Roman Zhailauov (#15) who all remain where they were.
In the 154lb division we've seen no changes that affect an Asian fighter. This means Kanat Islam (#11) and Akinori Watanabe (#15) remain as they were.
The Middleweight division has seen no changes at all. That means it still has the insanely popular Gennady Golovkin as it's world champion and the top ranked fighters of concern to us are Dmitry Chudinov (#1) and Matt Korobov (#12). Interestingly Alex Theran (#7) does fight Arif Magomedov in 2 weeks time in what is a brilliant and significant match up between young and unbeaten fighters.
The only change involving an Asian at 168lbs has see Maxim Vlasov (#12) move up a single place.
As well as Vlasov we will also be keeping an eye on Fedor Chudinov (#5) and Dmitri Sartison (#8).
Champion Beibut Shumenov is the key Asian here with the only other man of note being Dmitry Sukhotsky (#7) who moved up a place following Enzo Maccarinelli's failed bid at Juegen Braehmer.
Shumenov will be defending his title, and trying to unify it with the IBF title, on April 19th when he fights Bernard Hopkins.
In the Cruiserweight division, where the WBA champion is Denis Lebedev, we only have Grigory Drozd (#3) who has stayed where he was a month ago.
In just over 2 weeks time Lebedev will be defending his title against "Champion in Recess" Guillermo Jones, a rematch of last years thrilling but controversial encounter.
Despite some Great Heavyweight fights recently there isn't a single change in the WBA rankings and the only ranked Asian's remain Alexander Povetkin (#3), Ruslan Chagaev (#6) and Alexander Ustinov (#8).
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