Women’s boxing pound-for-pound rankings: A familiar face returns to the top after another impressive win


Lightweight undisputed champion Katie Taylor regained the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Natasha Jonas on May 1.

Taylor, a previous No. 1, was leapfrogged by Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and now two-division undisputed champion, back in March, after Shields dominated Marie-Eve Dicaire in a 10-round unanimous decision victory to unify all four major junior middleweight belts. Shields also became the undisputed middleweight champion with a decision victory over Christina Hammer in 2019. She’s the first fighter, female or male, to be undisputed champion in two different divisions in the modern era.

Boxing TV presenter and founder of Behind The Gloves, Michelle Joy Phelps, moved Taylor to the No. 1 spot after her victory over Jonas, saying that to this point, Taylor has defeated stronger competition than Shields.

“My decision to move Taylor back to the No. 1 spot is simple: opposition. She continuously dominates at lightweight and proved yet again against Jonas what a talent she is,” Phelps said. “Taylor delivers exciting fights against opponents who continue to challenge her, making her better with each passing fight. After the Jonas fight, Taylor told me she’d love a rematch with Jessica McCaskill and/or a fight with Amanda Serrano as she’s open to fighting again at 140 or making a catchweight if it means making the right fights happen.

ESPN’s Kel Dansby said it was a tough decision, but decided to keep Shields at No. 1 based on the way Shields competes.

“Shields remains in the top spot over Taylor by the thinnest of margins in my list, but it’s hard to ignore the eye test,” said Dansby. “Taylor is an amazing champion, but this is now three straight fights that could’ve gone for her or her opponent. She’s extremely entertaining but she isn’t dominating her competition. Shields is not only a dual-division undisputed champion, but she is blowing away her opponents in these fights. She barely has competitive rounds, let alone fights.”

So, who else is in the ESPN.com women’s pound-for-pound rankings? Here’s the list.

Note: Results are through May 10.

1. KATIE TAYLOR     Previous ranking: No.

RECORD: 18-0, 6 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Natasha Jonas, May 1

2. CLARESSA SHIELDS     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 11-0, 2 KOs
DIVISION: junior middleweight and middleweight undisputed champion
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Marie Eve Dicaire, March 5

3. AMANDA SERRANO     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 40-1-1, 30 KOs
DIVISION: Featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO9) Daniela Bermudez, March 25

4. JESSICA MCCASKILL     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 10-2, 3 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight undisputed champion
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Cecilia Braekhus, March 13

5. DELFINE PERSOON     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 44-3, 18 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD10) Katie Taylor, Aug. 22

6. MIKAELA MAYER     Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 14-0, 5 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Ewa Brodnicka, Oct. 31
NEXT FIGHT: June 19 vs. Erica Farias

7. CHRISTINA HAMMER     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 26-1, 12 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight
LAST FIGHT: W (KO7) Sanna Turunen, Dec. 20

8. CECILIA BRAEKHUS     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 36-2, 9 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD10) Jessica McCaskill, March 13

9. TERRI HARPER     Previous ranking: 10

RECORD: 11-0-1, 6 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Katharina Thanderz, Nov. 14
NEXT FIGHT: May 15 vs. Hyun Mi Choi

10. HYUN CHOI     Previous ranking: No. N/R

RECORD: 18-0-1, 4 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Calista Silgado, Dec. 18

The formula

The rankings are based on a descending points system, with a first-place vote receiving 10 points, a second-place vote receiving nine points and so on.

Others receiving votes: Layla McCarter (5), Savannah Marshall (5), Seniesa Estrada (4), Yesica Bopp (3), Yulihan Luna (2), Yanileth Mercado (2), Daniela Bermudez (1), Chantelle Cameron (1).

How our experts voted

Timothy Bradley Jr.: 1. Shields, 2. Taylor, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskil, 5. Hammer, 6. Mayer, 7. Harper, 8. Estrada, 9. Braekhus, 10. Persoon

Nick Parkinson: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskill, 5. Braekhus, 6. Persoon, 7. Hammer, 8. Mayer, 9. Bopp, 10. Cameron

Michelle Joy Phelps: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. McCaskill, 4. Serrano, 5. Mayer, 6. Braekhus, 7. Harper, 8. Persoon, 9. Marshall, 10. Choi

Salvador Rodriguez: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. McCaskill, 4. Serrano, 5. Persoon, 6. Harper, 7. Mayer, 8. Braekhus, 9. Luna, 10. Estrada

Bernardo Pilatti: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskill, 5. Hammer, 6. McCarter, 7. Persoon, 8. Mayer, 9. Mercado, 10. Bermudez

Charlie Moynihan: 1. Shields, 2. Taylor, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskill, 5. Hammer, 6. Choi, 7. Persoon, 8. Mayer, 9. Braekhus, 10. Bopp

Kel Dansby: 1. Shields, 2. Taylor, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskill, 5. Persoon, 6. Hammer, 7. Mayer, 8. Marshall, 9. Harper, 10. Braekhus

ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Taylor (4), Shields (3)

Second place: Shields (4), Taylor (3)

Third place: Serrano (5), McCaskill (2)

Fourth place: McCaskill (5), Serrano (2)

Fifth place: Hammer (3), Persoon (2), Braekhus (1), Mayer (1)

Sixth place: Persoon (1), Mayer (1), Hammer (1), Braekhus (1), Harper (1), Choi(1), Bermudez (1)

Seventh place: Persoon (2), Mayer (2), Harper (2), Hammer (1)

Eighth place: Mayer (3), Persoon (1), Braekhus (1), Marshall (1), Estrada (1)

Ninth place: Braekhus (2), Harper (1), Marshall (1), Mercado (1), Luna (1), Bopp (1)

10th place: Persoon (1), Braekhus (1), Choi (1), Bermudez (1), Estrada (1), Cameron (1), Bopp (1)

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