Earlier today the WBA released their updated rankings (dated January 10th 2014). The rankings have, as they always do, left us with some very interesting talking points.
We'll start by looking at the Minimumweight division which is one division we knew was going to see an obvious change. With Ryo Miyazaki vacating the title in the final week of December it was clear he would no longer be the champion, though what we had expected was for Hekkie Budler to be upgraded from "interim" champion to "regular" champion. Surprisingly this hasn't happened as of yet, though it is still expected.
Of other changes in the division we've seen Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr move from #6 to #3 thanks to his upset victory over former champion Ryo Miyazaki. This move has seen Fahlan leapfrog compatriot Wanheng Menayothin (#4) as well as Japan's Ryuji Hara (#5). Below those two we find Kwanthai Sithmorseng (#8) and Pigmy Kokietgym (#9) who both slide down 1 place to make way for Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (who drew with WBO champion Merlito Sabillo in November). At #11 is another Thai, Samartlek Chaiyonggym, who also slides 1 place due to Buitrago. To close out the top 15 is Filipino Ronelle Ferreras who remains at #15 whilst his compatriot, Joebert Alvarez, drops from the ratings altogether.
At Light Flyweight, where Kazuto Ioka remains the regular champion, we have big movement, again due to Ryo Miyazaki. Despite being stopped on New Years Eve Miyazaki is given an immediate ranking of #6. Although it's a lofty ranking for the former champion he is put behind both Randy Petalcorin (#2) and Naoya Inoue (#3) who are the only 2 Asian's ranked above Miyazaki.
Behind Miyazaki we find Wisanu Kokietgym (#8) who drops from #6 himself, Shin Ono (#12) and Filipino pair Rey Loreto (#14) and Rommel Asenjo (#15). Unfortunately for Hayato Yamaguchi the movers and shakers have dropped him from #15 to outside of the rankings.
In the action packed Flyweight division, where Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (#1) holds the interim world title, there are several Asian's in promising positions, though oddly not a single fighter has seen their ranking change. The highest ranked, outside of Yodmongkol, is Filipino veteran Rocky Fuentes (#3) who sits nicely above Thailand's Noknoi Sithipraset (#5), the others, who remain where they were last month, are Suguru Muranaka (#8), Kompayak Porpramook (#9), Koki Eto (#12), Kwanpicht Onesongchaigym (#14) and Takuya Kogawa (#15).
The Super Flyweight division has only seen a few minor changes though has the potential for major changes in coming months. Still at #1 is interim champion Denkaosen Kaovichit who meets Kohei Kono (#2) in a fight for the vacant title in a few months time. Behind those two we find no immediate changes with Koki Kameda (#4), Teiru Kinoshita (#5) and Norrasingh Kokietgym (#7). Behind Norrasingh however we do find some movers, notable Sho Ishida (#8) who jumps from #10 and leapfrogs Arthur Villanueva (#9) and Nobuo Nashiro (#10), who both fall one place as a result. Just outside the top 10 is Matthew Villanueva (#11). We expect changes to come over the next few months with the Kaovichit/Kono bout as well as a contest involving the #12 ranked Manuel Vides who is set to drop to Flyweight to fight Juan Carlos Reveco in a world title fight.
At Bantamweight we again have very little in terms of changes. These lack of changes see Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat (#3), Tepparith Kokietgym (#7), Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (#8) and Zhanat Zhakiyanov (#9) all remain where they were a month ago. Oddly however the WBA's move to include Argentina's Javier Chacon at #11 sees Petch Kokietgym (#13) and Jerwin Ancajas (#14) drop one place each and as a result Jung-Oh Son drops out of the rankings altogether.
We see no changes at all in the Super Bantamweight division where Hozumi Hasegawa (#3), Shingo Wake (#6) and Sod Kokietgym (#9) are the only Asian's ranked and stay exactly where they were month ago.
In the Featherweight division there is again very little in terms of change. Akifumi Shimoda (#2), is the highest ranked Asian ahead of Nonito Doniare (#4) and Satoshi Hosono (#5). The big change however is in the #6 place which was previously held by Chris John, who has since retired. Despite John's retirement Chonlatarm Piriyapinyo (#13) has remained exactly where he was a month ago.
A division where we do see plenty of movement is the Super Featherweight division. Takashi Uchiyama is still the champion, though below him we've seen Daiki Kaneko (#8) drop down from #4 despite his impressive performance against Uchiyama, this sees Kaneko dropping below Padjai Yongyuthgym (#7) who moves up a place. The only other Asian in the top 15 is Terdsak Kokietgym (#10) who has moved up a single place from a month ago. The moves, for two Thai's have been courtesy of Juan Carlos Burgos, who has signed up to fight for the WBO title in just a few weeks time.
There is very little movement in the Lightweight division. As with last month Jorge Linares (#2), Rustam Nugaev (#3), Eduard Troyanovsky (#4) and Takahiro Ao (#5) are all ranked in the top 5. Below them we see a few changes. One of those is the move from #8 to #6 of Argenis Lopez, this has dropped Bahodir Mamadjonov (#8) one place and with Rod Salka, previously #15, losing there is now space for Japanese puncher Masao Nakamura (#15).
At 140lbs there are no moves that effect Asian fighters. Khabib Allakhverdiev is still the "regular" champion whilst Czar Amonsot (#12) is still the only ranked Asian challenger. There have been a few movers between but nothing worth reporting.
In the Welterweight division is big mover is Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (#6), who moved up from #10. Teerachai is one of just 3 Asian's ranked in the division and is clearly ahead of Charlie Ota (#11) and Suyon Takayama (#14) neither of whom have moved in the rankings.
Unfortunately things start to look a bit scarce going further upwards. In the Light Middleweight division we have just 2 ranked fighters, neither of whom are in the top 10. The fighters we do have are Kanat Islam (#12) and Akinori Watanabe (#15) neither of whom have moved with the updated rankings.
The Middleweight division is a confusing right now with the WBA. We know that Gennady Golovkin is the champion though oddly his "official challenger" is Dmitry Chudinov (#2) who won, what many thought, was the interim title in December in what could only be described as a bewildering move by the WBA. Despite not being the interim champion Chudinov has moved up from #6. Outside of those 2 there is little interest for us.
Super Middleweight is equally as scarce in talented with Dmitri Sartison (#4) and Maxim Vlasov (#14). Sartison hasn't moved though Vlasov has managed to climb one place.
In the Light Heavyweight division, where Beibut Shumenov holds the super title, we only have Dmitry Sukhotsky (#11) and Ilshat Khusnulgatin (#14) as ranked contenders. Khusnulgatin, who was #15 last month, moved up courtesy of Shumenov's victory over Tamas Kovacs.
Up at Cruiserweight, where Denis Lebedev is the champion, we have a two other Russian ranked fighters. Grigory Drozd (#3), is the lead Russian challenger and has moved up one place, behind him is the big hitting Dmitry Kudryashov (#13) who is a new entry in the rankings.
Finally, at Heavyweight, we see a bit of movement. Former champion Alexander Povetkin (#2) has moved up a place, Ruslan Chagaev (#6) has moved up 2 places, whilst Alexander Ustinov (#7) has moved up 3 places. These moves are, in part, due to Chris Arreola who will be fighting for the WBC title next time out, whilst several other fighters, including Deontay Wilder and Fres Oquendo have been shuffled around a bit.
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