Rankings (Dec. 30): Is Wilder still a top 10 heavyweight? Plus Joshua, Bivol, Bam, more

Fighting

Howdy! It’s an oddly timed rankings update, because it’s an odd week where nothing is happening and everyone’s got a lot going on anyway, but we’re closing out 2023 after an eventful couple of weeks! Well. An eventful couple of days on Dec. 23 and 26. Here’s what we’ve got!

The next update will be back to Mondays on Jan. 15.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:


Notes: After the DAY OF RECKONING, God’s (whichever) perfect boxing event, we’ve got some changes.

Deontay WIlder drops like a rock from No. 3 to No. 9, and I might be being generous keeping him in the top 10 at all, he was absolutely putrid and lifeless against Joseph Parker, who goes from No. 8 to No. 5.

Zhilei Zhang and Anthony Joshua tick up a spot each, and Frank Sanchez jumps up to No. 7. Beating Junior Fa isn’t anything massive, but Sanchez is right in the mix past the top four or five. You’d love to see him fight better competition, but at least he didn’t fight Mark De Mori.

Wallin is out after his nothing performance getting his nose busted by AJ, and I also dropped Martin Bakole to be replaced by Jared Anderson. I think Bakole can fight, but I think Anderson has perfectly comparable wins to Bakole or, say, Frank Sanchez, and I believe he has the higher skill level than Big Martin. Would love to see Anderson fight Bakole straight-up, actually, though I doubt that happens.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Oleksandry Usyk vs (2) Tyson Fury, Feb. 17


Notes: Jai Opetaia easily handled Ellis Zorro in Riyadh and keeps his top spot. Hopefully Mairis Briedis will get back into action soon, and maybe we can even see that rematch, despite the IBF’s ruling.

WBA titleholder Arsen Goulamirian will officially go inactive by our 15-month rule on Feb. 19. That dude’s had one fight since 2019 and the WBA just go, “Ahh, that’s fine,” if you’re wondering how concerned they are with this division.

Upcoming Fights: TBA


Notes: Dmitry Bivol beat Lyndon Arthur in about the most predictable way possible. Bivol keeps his spot, Arthur drops a few. Ol’ Lyndon didn’t lose any worse or better than I anticipated. He is still about as good as I thought he was.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Callum Smith, Jan. 13 … (5) Joshua Buatsi vs (6) Dan Azeez, Feb. 3


Notes: Ali Akhmedov is out due to inactivity. Diego Pacheco comes in. Still work to be done with Diego, but his wins are right on par with other guys I considered — Bektemir Melikuziev, Vladimir Shishkin, etc. — and his career is actually progressing while both of them have been sitting in neutral a bit.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Christian Mbilli vs Rohan Murdock, Jan. 13


Notes: The end of an era. Gennadiy Golovkin has officially gone inactive for the rankings. Gennadiy Golovkin is gone. Gennadiy Golovkin is not a top 10 middleweight for the first time in at least about 13 or 14 years.

And this is what he’s left us with.

Liam Williams is ranked again. I know it’s not exciting. Not much is at 160 these days. If Jermall Charlo schedules an actual middleweight fight, he’ll come back.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Austin Williams vs Connor Coyle, Feb. 3 … (6) Hamzah Sheeraz vs (10) Liam Williams, Feb. 10


Upcoming Fights: TBA


Upcoming Fights: TBA


Upcoming Fights: (10) Arnold Barboza Jr vs Xolisani Ndongeni, Jan. 6 … (2) Teofimo Lopez vs Jamaine Ortiz, Feb. 8


Upcoming Fights: (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (10) George Kambosos Jr, TBA


Upcoming Fights: (2) O’Shaquie Foster vs Abraham Nova, Feb. 16


Upcoming Fights: (10) Otabek Kholmatov vs Raymond Ford, Mar. 2


Notes: Here’s the quick breakdown of the top five adjustment:

  1. Inoue is obviously and clearly No. 1, the undisputed king.
  2. Nery semi-defaults into the No. 2 spot because he hasn’t, you know, lost recently, and he’s been fighting alright and all that.
  3. Tapales sits at No. 3 because he did OK against Inoue, I mean he wasn’t close to winning or anything but nobody ever is, really. And that’s a spot over Akhmadaliev, because he beat Akhmadaliev.
  4. Akhmadaliev goes up a spot, and Stephen Fulton Jr drops to No. 5. Tapales did better than Fulton did against Inoue. Styles make fights and all, but it is what it is and other all; in short, it mattered to me in this situation where you’ve got Inoue and A Group of Guys After Inoue. I’d pick Fulton to beat Tapales, but we’ll see what time brings here.

Upcoming Fights: TBA


Notes: Junto comin’.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Jason Moloney vs Saul Sanchez, Jan. 13 … (1) Alexandro Santiago vs Junto Nakatani, Feb. 24


Notes: ALRIGHT! Major league house-cleaning time.

Junto Nakatani is out, he’s vacated is belt and is moving up to 118 to fight for another world title there. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai hasn’t taken a real fight since getting waxed by Bam Rodriguez two-and-a-half years ago and I don’t think he’s made the weight since then, either. Francisco Rodriguez Jr fought as a flyweight (1 lb over for the contract) last time out. David Cuellar hasn’t made the weight since 2022, either, and that was three fights ago, and he’s been sat at club level anyway.

Congratulations to Carlos Cuadras! You’re back, big man! Congratulations to Argi Cortes! Your brave defeats to elite fighters are recognized! Congratulations to Suzumi Takayama and your domestic title! Congratulations to John “Scrappy” Ramirez, being built into yet another mega-star by the experts at Golden Boy!

And we’re getting close to Estrada and Chocolatito being officially inactive! Boys, it’s Lil’ Middleweight! An era has passed and there wasn’t much of anyone to take the crown!

Upcoming Fights: (2) Kazuto Ioka vs Josber Perez, Dec. 31 … (5) Kosei Tanaka vs Christian Bacasegua, Feb. 24


Notes: Bam Rodriguez left zero doubts, he’s the flyweight king. He may now go back up to 115 and try to be the man who rides in and saves that division, too, at least giving it one star who isn’t on the way out.

Julio Cesar Martinez didn’t fight on Dec. 16. He was supposed to, but of course he did not.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Artem Dalakian vs (9) Seigo Yuri Akui, Jan. 23


Upcoming Fights: (1) Kenshiro Teraji vs (3) Carlos Canizales, Jan. 23 … (2) Jonathan Gonzalez vs TBA, Mar. 2


Upcoming Fights: TBA


Upcoming Fights: (7) Mikaela Mayer vs Natasha Jonas, Jan. 20 … (4) Amanda Serrano vs Nina Meinke, Mar. 2

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