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Boxing Rankings (Jan. 23, 2023): Liam Smith, Joseph Parker, Chris Eubank Jr, more

Liam Smith scored arguably the biggest win of his career over Chris Eubank Jr, plus more this week.

Liam Smith scored arguably the biggest win of his career over Chris Eubank Jr
Liam Smith scored arguably the biggest win of his career over Chris Eubank Jr
Photo by Alex Livesey/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. No update next week, the next one comes on Jan. 23.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Light Heavyweight: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (8) Anthony Yarde, Jan. 28
  • Flyweight: (3) Artem Dalakian vs (5) David Jimenez, Jan. 28
  • Junior Flyweight: (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Ronald Chacon, Jan. 28

Notes: Joseph Parker is out of the top 10 this week; he got the win over Jack Massey on Saturday, but it was not an impressive showing, and as much as trainer Andy Lee will want to pin that on Massey being negative — which he was at times, sure — Parker also just should have been able to do more against a blown-up cruiserweight non-contender taking a one-off, or at least that’s the thought I have and I expect some share. Not everyone, I’m sure.

And you could absolutely still have Parker in at the back end of the top 10. What have any of the second half of this top 10 done that’s been impressive since 2019? Either Ruiz’s win over an ancient Luis Ortiz or Bakole upsetting a hyped but unproven Tony Yoka is the best thing of that lot. Parker did look better in defeat to Joe Joyce than he did in victory over Massey, and I thought about this move plenty, and mapped out further than the top 10 to really give candidates consideration. I came out with Parker just outside at the moment. The difference between the seventh spot and maybe the 15th spot is small right now. There is a clear top end of this division and then a jumble.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin, Apr. 1

Notes: Richard Riakporhe crashes the top 10, which has been on the books for a bit now, and basically the idea was that if he impressed against Krzysztof Glowacki, he got a spot. He did, and he has the spot, taking the No. 6 place that Glowacki held prior, with the Polish veteran falling out of the top 10 entirely. Glowacki has just lost that vital step, and this is a very competitive division, even if it flies under the radar for several obvious reasons.

Riakporhe has continued to impress me fight-to-fight. At one time, I thought he’d probably be a guy who flamed out pretty bad, but he’s just kept improving little bits of his game. That’s no longer a surprise at all, and with his raw power and the fact that he’s learned how to properly employ that power, he is at worst dangerous to anyone in this division. And it might be Lawrence Okolie next. Okolie is slated to be out in about six weeks, and if he retains his belt, Ben Shalom sounds like he wants to make that fight.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Lawrence Okolie vs David Light, Feb. 11

Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (8) Anthony Yarde, Jan. 28 ... (10) Jean Pascal vs Michael Eifert, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (9) Carlos Gongora vs (10) Christian Mbilli, Mar. 24 ... (2) David Benavidez vs (3) Caleb Plant, Mar. 25

Notes: Well then! Listen, do I think Liam Smith is the sixth-best middleweight in the world today? Maybe not. But ... ?? This division has been a dirt-dull bore for too long, and Smith’s upset win over Chris Eubank Jr is the biggest thing to happen at middleweight in some time.

Eubank’s loss drops him to No. 10. He was winning, he got caught, he got finished. Smith didn’t give him even half a chance to recover because Smith may not be a big puncher, but he sure landed a couple there and had the finishing instinct.

Falling out is Meirim Nursultanov, who is unbeaten but largely untested. Have said it before, but this is an aging division ripe to be taken over by new blood. 34-year-old Liam Smith probably isn’t really it, but he made his mark.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Esquiva Falcao, TBA

Notes: Liam Smith hasn’t made any indication of whether he’ll fight at 154 or 160 next, it sounds like the decision will come down to the best offer he gets, and/or whether Eubank exercises the immediate rematch clause or not. So he’s ranked at 154 and 160. We have had this happen now and again — Canelo Alvarez at 168 and 175 for a while some time back, Tank Davis at 130/135/140 for a minute — and we deal with it as things develop. Liam Smith is now DOUBLE RANKED! Liam Smith!

Upcoming Fights: (4) Tim Tszyu vs (8) Tony Harrison, Mar. 12

Upcoming Fights: (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (5) Keith Thurman [junior middleweight], TBA ... (6) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs (7) Eimantas Stanionis, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Jose Ramirez vs Richard Commey, Mar. 25 ... (7) Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis, Apr. 15 ... (5) Subriel Matias vs Jeremias Ponce, TBA ... (2) Josh Taylor vs (3) Jack Catterall, TBA ... (10) Alberto Puello vs Gary Antuanne Russell, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia [junior welterweight, technically], Apr. 15 ... (1) Devin Haney vs (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko, May 20

Upcoming Fights: (7) O’Shaquie Foster vs Rey Vargas, Feb. 11 ... (2) Joe Cordina vs (3) Shavkat Rakhimov, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Emanuel Navarrete vs Liam Wilson [junior lightweight], Feb. 3 ... (3) Rey Vargas vs O’Shaquie Foster [junior lightweight], Feb. 11 ... (2) Mauricio Lara vs (4) Leigh Wood, Feb. 18 ... (5) Mark Magsayo vs Brandon Figueroa, Mar. 4 ... (10) Isaac Dogboe vs Robeisy Ramirez, Apr. 1

Upcoming Fights: (1) Stephen Fulton Jr vs Naoya Inoue, TBA ... (2) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (9) Marlon Tapales, TBA

Notes: Naoya Inoue has vacated his four bantamweight titles and is movin’ on up to 122. So he’s out, like Bam Rodriguez at 115 or Shakur Stevenson at 130, because they do not intend to fight at these weights again, and are otherwise taking up a spot for no real reason. Let others be called top 10! On the other hand, Emanuel Navarrete and Rey Vargas have not vacated their belts at 126 as they plan their moves to 130 soon, and also Vargas at least is definitely keeping it open that he might go right back down in weight.

Anyway, who gets this new No. 10 spot? Well it’s time for some new blood. That’s right: 42-year-old Guillermo Rigondeaux. For now, anyway. Inoue vacating all the belts is kind of a proper reset for this division, though most of the top guys are veteran fighters themselves. A division with a 40-year-old at default No. 1 and a 42-year-old at No. 10. Fascinating times.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Guillermo Rigondeaux vs TBA, Feb. 24

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Artem Dalakian vs (5) David Jimenez, Jan. 28

Upcoming Fights: (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Ronald Chacon, Jan. 28

Upcoming Fights: (8) Oscar Collazo vs Yudel Reyes, Jan. 28

Upcoming Fights: (3) Amanda Serrano vs Erika Cruz, Feb. 4 ... (4) Alycia Baumgardner vs Elhem Mekhaled, Feb. 4 ... (5) Seniesa Estrada vs Tina Rupprecht, Mar. 25 ... (6) Mikaela Mayer vs Christina Linardatou, TBA

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