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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (October 11, 2021): Tyson Fury confirms status as era’s top heavyweight, plus Wilder, more

Tyson Fury is still atop the heavyweight division after another big win.

Tyson Fury remains the top heavyweight in boxing today
Tyson Fury remains the top heavyweight in boxing today
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Rankings go up on Mondays.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

  • Cruiserweight: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Artur Mann, Oct. 16
  • Middleweight: (6) Chris Eubank Jr vs Wanik Awdijan, Oct. 16
  • Welterweight: (8) Mikey Garcia vs Sandor Martin, Oct. 16
  • Featherweight: (2) Emanuel Navarrete vs Joet Gonzalez, Oct. 15
  • Junior Flyweight: (4) Elwin Soto vs (6) Jonathan Gonzalez, Oct. 16

Notes: Well, Tyson Fury sure did cement himself as the top dog at heavyweight, even though Oleksandr Usyk is sitting there with his own sort of argument still. But of the guys who were sort of the post-Klitschko “Big Three” — Fury, Wilder, Joshua — Tyson Fury has proven to be The Man. His epic trilogy win over Deontay Wilder was one for the ages, and further evidence for Fury’s claim that he simply cannot be knocked out by a punch from a man. If Deontay Wilder isn’t doing it, who’s gonna?

I’m not changing the top four, though I can understand why someone might now switch Wilder below Joshua, or have already had it that way. Wilder’s three record “blemishes” have all been against Tyson Fury, who to me is the clear best heavyweight of the era. AJ’s losses to Andy Ruiz Jr and Oleksandr Usyk are not bad losses, but with Wilder fighting the way he did Saturday, I think he deserves to stay at No. 3 for now. Things change and all that, so we’ll see how they get on from here.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Dillian Whyte vs (10) Otto Wallin, Oct. 30 ... (8) Joseph Parker vs Derek Chisora, Dec. 18

Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Artur Mann, Oct. 16

Notes: Callum Johnson is out of the top 10 after his fight this past weekend. He didn’t lose, but he really maybe should have against Server Emurlaev, a 36-year-old Russian who has just returned to the sport this year after not fighting since 2012. Emurlaev also lost to Kamshybek Kunkabayev in February, he was dominated over six rounds and stopped, and he really was just meant to be an opponent for Johnson, who won a 10-round majority decision. It could have been a draw, and that would have been lucky for Callum but not the greatest robbery, I suppose. I watched it back after hearing of the controversy, and had it 96-94 for Emurlaev. Ian John-Lewis’ 99-92 card for Johnson is an utter disgrace nobody will care about in a few days, but worth noting that it was blatantly terrible. I’ve long liked Callum Johnson as a fighter,

Joshua Buatsi gets the No. 10 spot for now. When you look at 175 past the top nine guys here, you get into a lot of fighters who have proven their level, and it’s not the top level, and some still trying to make their case one way or the other. To me it came down to Buatsi or Lyndon Arthur at the moment, and frankly Arthur will probably join in a few weeks when Sergey Kovalev goes Officially Super Inactive.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Maxim Vlasov vs TBA, Nov. 27 ... (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (5) Marcus Browne, Dec. 17 ... (4) Joe Smith Jr vs Umar Salamov, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (2) Caleb Plant, Nov. 6 ... (9) Zach Parker vs TBA, Nov. 6 ... (3) David Benavidez vs Jose Uzcategui, Nov. 13

Upcoming Fights: (6) Chris Eubank Jr vs Wanik Awdijan, Oct. 16 ... (8) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Hassan N’Dam, Nov. 5 ... (7) Jaime Munguia vs Gabriel Rosado, Nov. 13 ... (3) Demetrius Andrade vs Jason Quigley, Nov. 19 ... (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs (5) Ryota Murata, Dec. 28

Notes: Not so long ago, really, we looked at this division and said, “Wow, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Julian Williams, Erislandy Lara, Brian Castano,” and then Jeison Rosario joined that top mix, and now Lara’s moved to 160, Hurd got upset, and Julian Williams just got upset after a long layoff. The division has thinned out to the point we have a clear top two in Charlo and Castano, and then sort of a mess after, though Lubin has proven himself a real contender, I think, and you have some good rising talent. But Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora being around the top five or so feels very weird, admittedly; neither of them have really done that much, it’s just a division that has shaken out strangely the last couple of years.

With Williams out, Liam Smith comes back in. I know Smith “lost to” Magomed Kurbanov earlier this year, but, I mean, no he didn’t. I watched that fight. Kurbanov did not deserve the win and only got it because he was fighting at home. To me that one wasn’t even really debatable, and Liam following that up with a dismantling of Anthony Fowler on Saturday spoke volumes about him not losing any focus or hunger.

So consider this: If Smith had rightly gotten his hand raised against Kurbanov in May, where would you slot him? I’d say No. 5, so I’m saying No. 5 now. I know that seems odd, even pretty stupid, but boxing is an odd, pretty stupid sport.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Tim Tszyu vs Takeshi Inoue, Nov. 17 ... (8) Michel Soro vs (9) Israil Madrimov, TBA

Notes: Manny Pacquiao’s official retirement came since our last rankings update, so that created an open spot. I’m going with Jamal James, who is in the WBA title mix still as they sort (or pretend to sort) their business in the various weight classes with their various title situations. Also, it’s really not clear if that Oct. 30 Showtime card is happening or not; there hasn’t been an official announcement, and it’s Oct. 11 right now. I’d assume there will be something soon because there just aren’t many dates left for the year and that one’s as good as any for that card.

David Avanesyan crushed another regional-level opponent since the last update, too, and also signed with Frank Warren.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Mikey Garcia vs Sandor Martin, Oct. 16 ... (7) Jaron Ennis vs Thomas Dulorme, Oct. 30 ... (10) Jamal James vs Radzhab Butaev, Oct. 30 ... (2) Terence Crawford vs (4) Shawn Porter, Nov. 20 ... (3) Yordenis Ugas vs Eimantas Stanionis, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jose Zepeda vs Josue Vargas, Oct. 30 ... (4) Gervonta Davis vs Rolando Romero [lightweight], Dec. 5 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Dec. 18

Upcoming Fights: (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (5) Richard Commey, Dec. 11 ... (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (8) George Kambosos Jr, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Jamel Herring vs (5) Shakur Stevenson, Oct. 23 ... (6) Chris Colbert vs (8) Roger Gutierrez, TBA ... (7) Azinga Fuzile vs Kenichi Ogawa, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Emanuel Navarrete vs Joet Gonzalez, Oct. 15 ... (4) Kid Galahad vs Kiko Martinez, Nov. 13 ... (9) Isaac Dogboe vs Christopher Diaz, Nov. 20

Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (3) Brandon Figueroa, Nov. 27 ... (10) Ra’eese Aleem vs Eduardo Baez, Nov. 27 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, Nov. 19

Upcoming Fights: (9) Takuma Inoue vs Shingo Wake [junior featherweight], Nov. 11 ... (2) Nonito Donaire vs Reymart Gaballo, TBA ... (3) John Riel Casimero vs Paul Butler, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA ... (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Julio Ces Martinez vs (7) McWilliams Arroyo, Nov. 19 ... (2) Sunny Edwards vs Jayson Mama, TBA ... (5) Artem Dalakian vs Luis Concepcion, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Elwin Soto vs (6) Jonathan Gonzalez, Oct. 16

Notes: Knockout CP Freshmart was back on Oct. 5, successfully defending his WBA title against Pongsaklek Sithdabnij. The third round stoppage was Knockout’s first stoppage win since 2017, ending a six-fight decision streak. It looks like the 105s are starting to get back in action slowly but surely, which is good; it’s been a division hit abnormally hard by the COVID pandemic. Like cruiserweight or much of women’s boxing, the 105s don’t make a ton of money, so in many areas it’s been very tough to get fights going. But with Knockout back, Petchmanee back in a few weeks — we’re trending the right way, at least.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs Danai Ngiabphukhiaw, Nov. 2 ... (9) Vic Saludar vs Erick Rosa Pacheco, Dec. 9

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Caleb Plant, Nov. 6 ... (7) Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter, Nov. 20 ... (8) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Dec. 18 ... (5) Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr, TBA ... (10) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Delfine Persoon vs TBA, Nov. 1 ... (6) Mikaela Mayer vs (10) Maiva Hamadouche, Nov. 5 ... (9) Terri Harper vs Alycia Baumgardner, Nov. 13

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