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Boxing Rankings (January 3, 2022): A new year for the sweet science

It’s a new year for boxing, with some shuffling and house-cleaning in the rankings to kick off 2022.

A new year begins in boxing with the first rankings update of 2022
A new year begins in boxing with the first rankings update of 2022
Getty Images

Rankings go up on Mondays. There will be no update next Monday, the next one comes on Jan. 17. (Note: We’re changing this to Jan. 24, because of the adjustment in Joe Smith Jr’s Jan. 15 fight not really being worth an update alone.)

Ranked fights the next three weeks:

  • Light Heavyweight: (3) Joe Smith Jr vs Steve Geffrard, Jan. 15
  • Junior Welterweight: (9) Subriel Matias vs Petros Ananyan, Jan. 22
  • Featherweight: (2) Gary Russell Jr vs Mark Magsayo, Jan. 22

Note: Some inactive fighters have been removed, as was the plan for this update. A few remain — those who have fights scheduled, like Gary Russell Jr; those who are strongly believed to have a fight about to be made official, like Daniel Jacobs; and those who had fights just recently called off due to COVID issues, like Arsen Goulamirian, Gennadiy Golovkin, and Ryota Murata. Those fighters have 90 days to get something scheduled, with the asterisk that another large-scale COVID disruption of the sport could change that plan. From here, the standard will be to remove fighters for inactivity after 18 months; I know most places do a year in normal times, but boxing is a strange sport and these times are still stranger than normal.


Upcoming Fights: TBA


Notes: Noel Mikaelian falls out due to inactivity, and some slight shuffling otherwise. Arsen Goulamirian, as noted, has 90 days to schedule a fight.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs (10) Thabiso Mchunu, Jan. 29


Notes: Maxim Vlasov won a stay-busy fight over Felix Valera on Dec. 24 in Russia, dropping Valera three times en route to the 10-round decision. Valera also lost a point in the ninth round for a foul, giving us the unusual final scores of 99-87 and 100-86 twice.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Joe Smith Jr vs Steve Geffrard, Jan. 15


Upcoming Fights: (7) John Ryder vs (8) Daniel Jacobs, Feb. 12


Upcoming Fights: (5) Chris Eubank Jr vs (1) Liam Williams, Feb. 5


Upcoming Fights: (1) Jermell Charlo vs (2) Brian Castano, TBA


Notes: Danny Garcia is out due to inactivity and having nothing planned that has been reported or rumored, and at any rate, Garcia has said he plans to move up to 154 when he does fight again. In at No. 10, at least for the moment, is Eimantas Stanionis, who likely will be fighting Radzhab Butaev next. But we do have to note the imminent return of Keith Thurman, who faces Mario Barrios on Feb. 5 in another blockbuster pay-per-view from PBC and FOX, who continue to return the boxing game to the fans as promised. (Hey, turns out I was right that Broadcast Television didn’t mean in 2015-present what it did in 1978, who knew? Who coulda figured? Golly!) Thurman-Barrios likely results in the winner, if not both, getting spots in the 147 rankings. Depends on how the fight goes and all that, we’ll see when we see.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson, Mar. 19 ... (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (3) Yordenis Ugas, TBA ... (7) Radzhab Butaev vs (10) Eimantas Stanionis, TBA


Notes: On the topic of Thurman-Barrios, with Mario Barrios moving up to 147 in a month and the rankings going through new year cleaning a bit, I see no reason to keep Barrios warming a seat at 140 any longer. Also out is Viktor Postol, who hasn’t fought since Aug. 2020, and in are Subriel Matias and Jack Catterall.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Subriel Matias vs Petros Ananyan, Jan. 22 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs (10) Jack Catterall, Feb. 26 ... (3) Jose Ramirez vs (5) Jose Pedraza, Mar. 4


Note: To answer a possible question of why remove Mario Barrios at 140 and not Teofimo Lopez at 135, it’s because Lopez has said he’ll probably go up to 140, but that’s a wait-and-see to me. Teofimo should go up to 140, I think that’s clear, but I don’t think it’s a stone cold lock or anything. We’ll give that situation some time.

Upcoming Fights: TBA


Upcoming Fights: (10) Xavier Martinez vs Robson Conceicao, Jan. 29 ... (7) Chris Colbert vs (8) Roger Gutierrez, TBA


Upcoming Fights: (2) Gary Russell Jr vs Mark Magsayo, Jan. 22 ... (6) Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, Mar. 12


Upcoming Fights: (6) Luis Nery vs Carlos Castro, Feb. 5 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA


Upcoming Fights: TBA


Notes: Kazuto Ioka didn’t dominate against Ryoji Fukunaga on Dec. 31, but got the win and holds his spot. The back end shakes up a good bit; Kal Yafai and Jeyvier Cintron are out due to inactivity, with Yafai likely to move up to bantamweight whenever he returns, anyway. Donnie Nietes is out because he just doesn’t look like the fighter he used to be.

But those back three, maybe even four spots are there for the taking right now, too. Kosei Tanaka’s had great success at lower weights, still somewhat unproven at 115 but with a solid win over Sho Ishida, who is a good fighter himself. Andrew Moloney is a good fighter despite a lack of success against Joshua Franco. But yeah, after the top six, these spots are ripe to be taken by some good momentum, or for these four to solidify themselves.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, Feb. 5 ... (5) Jerwin Ancajas vs Fernando Daniel Martinez, Feb. 5 ... (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez, Mar. 5


Notes: Sho Kimura and Cristofer Rosales are out for inactivity. Another two spots there to be taken, going to Giemel Magramo and Seigo Yuri Akui for now.

Upcoming Fights: TBA


Upcoming Fights: (3) Masamichi Yabuki vs (5) Kenshiro Teraji, TBA


Notes: Erick Rosa is in after a split decision win over Vic Saludar on Jan. 21. It was a WBA-sanctioned fight in the Dominican Republic with a Dominican fighter and a Dominican judge turning in an extremely questionable score card. Think of that what you want.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs (3) Wanheng Menayothin, Jan. 25 ... (8) Rene Mark Cuarto vs (9) Pedro Taduran, Jan. 29 ... (10) Vic Saludar vs TBA, Mar. 5


Upcoming Fights: (6) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26 ... (9) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, Mar. 5 ... (5) Errol Spence Jr vs Yordenis Ugas, TBA


Upcoming Fights: (2) Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin, Feb. 5 ... (1) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, TBA ... (10) Chantelle Cameron vs Kali Reis, TBA