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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (April 5, 2021): Herring and Akhmadaliev make statements, Tszyu in at 154, Nietes returns

Two titleholders made picked up strong wins, while Tim Tszyu and Donnie Nietes hit the rankings from different angles this week.

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and Francois Nel/Getty Images and Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rankings go up on Mondays at Noon ET.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Light Heavyweight: (4) Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov, Apr. 10
  • Welterweight: (9) Sergey Lipinets vs Jaron Ennis, Apr. 10
  • Junior Bantamweight: (5) Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonathan Rodriguez, Apr. 10

Upcoming Fights: (4) Andy Ruiz Jr vs Chris Arreola, May 1 ... (8) Joseph Parker vs Derek Chisora, May 1 ... (1) Tyson Fury vs (2) Anthony Joshua, TBA ... (9) Michael Hunter vs Filip Hrgovic, TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov, Apr. 10 ... (2) Dmitry Bivol vs Craig Richards, May 1

Upcoming Fights: (8) Carlos Gongora vs Christopher Pearson, Apr. 17 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (4) Billy Joe Saunders, May 8

Upcoming Fights: (3) Demetrius Andrade vs (9) Liam Williams, Apr. 17 ... (8) Jaime Munguia vs Maciej Sulecki, Apr. 24 ... (7) Chris Eubank Jr vs Marcus Morrison, May 1

Notes: I said some weeks back when Sebastian Fundora took the No. 10 slot that I’d reevaluate after Tim Tszyu’s fight with Dennis Hogan on March 31, because splitting Fundora and Tszyu at that time was basically a coin flip to me. And I’ve done that. But it’s not Fundora I’m dropping, it’s Michel Soro, who was No. 8 last week.

Tszyu demolished Hogan; I don’t think quite as much of Hogan as some do, I think he was a tough style match for Jaime Munguia that one time and that’s kind of the peak of his career. But there was a belief he could also be a tough style match for Tszyu. He was not.

“But that’s not how it works!” one or three of you might wail. It can be. Look, I just did it. Oh no! Soro kinda got into the top 10 when this division wasn’t as strong as it is now and has just sort of sat there treading water. He last fought in Nov. 2019, that part is whatever right now because of COVID and all that, but he’s 33 and his last really significant fight was a loss to Brian Castano in 2017. It’s 2021. He’s won five straight, but the opposition has been no better than Tszyu’s or Fundora’s, really, no better than Erickson Lubin’s; actually, I think Lubin’s win over Terrell Gausha is better than anything Soro’s done since losing to Castano, and by a fair bit. Soro seems pretty content to stay at home in France, which is fine for him. You could absolutely still have him in the top 10. I just don’t anymore.

It could be a brief absence. Erislandy Lara is planning to move to 160 for his May 1 against Cornflake Lamanna, which will open a spot. Could be Soro, and then he might lose that to the Magomed Kurbanov-Liam Smith winner a week later. Tony Harrison has to fight April 17, too, and he’s been out a while and has always carried the air of being vulnerable even in his best performances, too. We’ll see. There are others to consider, too, including rising hopes Charles Conwell and Israil Madrimov, and guys like Brandon Adams, even, who are at least showing some ambition.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Tony Harrison vs Bryant Perrella, Apr. 17 ... (3) Erislandy Lara vs Thomas Lamanna [middleweight] ... (4) Jeison Rosario vs (8) Erickson Lubin, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (9) Sergey Lipinets vs Jaron Ennis, Apr. 10

Upcoming Fights: (3) Regis Prograis vs Ivan Redkach, Apr. 17 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs (2) Jose Ramirez, May 22 ... (4) Jose Zepeda vs Pedro Campa, May 22

Upcoming Fights: (4) Devin Haney vs (7) Jorge Linares, May 29 ... (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (10) George Kambosos Jr, TBA ... (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Masayoshi Nakatani, TBA ... (3) Ryan Garcia vs (8) Javier Fortuna, TBA

Notes: Jamel Herring holds strong at No. 3 after his dominant win over Carl Frampton, who then announced his retirement. Herring did everything he should have done, executed the right game plan just about perfectly. As we discussed Sunday, he’s got a lot of options. The biggest are a unification with Oscar Valdez, a move back up to 135 for Teofimo Lopez or perhaps a vacant title fight (if Teofimo moves to 140 post-Kambosos), and the one he seems least interested in: Shakur Stevenson, who will likely soon be his ordered mandatory at 130. In short, it’s very good to be Jamel Herring right now. He’s going to have options, and good ones.

With Frampton out — and he would have been out even if he didn’t retire, this is simply not his division — Chris Colbert comes in. He’s performed really well against steps up so far and looks like he’ll get to a title fight in time. It also looks like Tevin Farmer will be moving up to 135 sooner than later, probably in his next fight since he isn’t going to get another title fight at 130, and Berchelt and Diaz might also move up, though Diaz hasn’t indicated any plans to even though he didn’t make weight last time out.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Shakur Stevenson vs Jeremiah Nakathila, June 12 ... (8) Shavkat Rakhimov vs Kenichi Ogawa, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Emanuel Navarrete vs Christopher Diaz, Apr. 24 ... (2) Kid Galahad vs Jazza Dickens, May 8 ... (1) Gary Russell Jr vs Rey Vargas, TBA

Upcoming Fights: Murodjon Akhmadaliev looked great in his win Saturday over Ryosuke Iwasa, like the true No. 1 guy at this weight. Stephen Fulton Jr is another fighter I like a lot, and if we could actually get those guys together for a fight, that would be great. They each boast a tremendous jab that they actually use and a lot of skill beyond that, too. That doesn’t seem a likely fight to happen, but if both of them pushed for it, maybe it can. It’s not like either of them are blockbuster box office superstars, and they both seem like guys who “want the smoke,” if you will forgive me. Personally I will not forgive me, but I hope you do.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Nordine Oubaali vs (3) Nonito Donaire, May 29 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs Michael Dasmarinas, June 19

Notes: Donnie Nietes is back in the sport, fighting for the first time since 2018 and all in all looking pretty good on Saturday with a win over Pablo Carrillo. I’m cautiously putting him in at No. 10; last he fought before the return, he won a world title fight. It was very competitive and the outcome debatable, but it was also against Kazuto Ioka, who is a great fighter. And Nietes is 38, not 46.

Will Nietes get back in with those big dogs? I think that’s his goal. Maybe not next or right away — or, hey, maybe! — but by the end of 2021 I think he’ll be looking at what his options are. He’s an interesting veteran wild card to throw into a very talented division.

The fighter falling out of the top 10 is Francisco Rodriguez Jr, who is similar to Michel Soro at 154 in that he had a spot and has been treading water with it while a lot of people in this division are swimming past him. Rodriguez hasn’t fought anyone you’d consider really close to being a contender in years, and really never in this division. He’s a good fighter, he’s highly ranked with sanctioning bodies so we could see him in a title fight sometime, but what is he actually doing? He fights guys everyone knows he’ll beat and he beats them. And his performance last time out in late February doesn’t inspire much confidence, either.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonathan Rodriguez, Apr. 10

Upcoming Fights: (2) Moruti Mthalane vs Sunny Edwards, Apr. 30

Upcoming Fights: (1) Kenshiro Teraji vs (7) Tetsuya Hisada, Apr. 24

Upcoming Fights: (9) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Toshiki Kawamitsu, May 23 ... (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, May 29

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, May 8 ... (2) Naoya Inoue vs Michael Dasmarinas, June 19 ... (9) Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua, TBA .... (5) Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr, TBA ... (7) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Masayoshi Nakatani, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Katie Taylor vs Natasha Jonas, May 1 ... (7) Mikaela Mayer vs TBA, June 19

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