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Boxing Rankings (April 10, 2023): Shakur hits lightweight, Mendoza crashes 154, Bam Rodriguez, Tapales, more

Shakur Stevenson has hit the lightweight division running, plus some big upsets and more notable changes in many divisions.

Shakur Stevenson has hit the lightweight division running
Shakur Stevenson has hit the lightweight division running
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc 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. No update next week, so the next update will come on April 24.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

  • Heavyweight: (5) Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang, Apr. 15
  • Heavyweight: (8) Martin Bakole vs Ihor Shevadzutskyi, Apr. 22
  • Super Middleweight: (3) David Morrell Jr vs Sena Agbeko, Apr. 22
  • Junior Welterweight: 8) Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis, Apr. 22
  • Lightweight: (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia [junior welterweight, technically], Apr. 22
  • Junior Lightweight: (2) Joe Cordina vs (3) Shavkat Rakhimov, Apr. 22
  • Junior Lightweight: (9) Zelfa Barrett vs Alex Dilmaghani, Apr. 22
  • Minimumweight: (4) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Rene Mark Cuarto, Apr. 16
  • Minimumweight: (8) Wilfredo Mendez vs (10) Yudai Shigeoka, Apr. 16
  • Women’s P4P: (6) Mikaela Mayer vs Christina Linardatou, Apr. 15

Notes: Frank Sanchez won a fight over Daniel Martz on Saturday.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang, Apr. 15 ... (8) Martin Bakole vs Ihor Shevadzutskyi, Apr. 22

Upcoming Fights: (2) Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam-Smith, May 27

Upcoming Fights: (3) Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien, May 6

Upcoming Fights: (3) David Morrell Jr vs Sena Agbeko, Apr. 22 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (6) John Ryder, May 6

Upcoming Fights: (2) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Steven Butler, May 13 ... (4) Carlos Adames vs Julian Williams, June 24

Notes: Well! WELL! Welcome to the party, Brian Mendoza! Mendoza’s shocking knockout win over Sebastian Fundora throws the 154 lb division for a bit of a loop, but listen, whether you think it was fluky or what, and Fundora was winning until exactly the moment he wasn’t, it happened, it’s real, and Mendoza earned the spot he has. I’ve said enough how much I like Liam Smith, I would pick Liam Smith to beat Mendoza, I would pick a lot of guys under Mendoza to beat Mendoza, maybe all of them, but Mendoza won the big fight in the big chance he got.

Fundora’s reaction to being knocked out will be a discussion in and of itself. There was long a vision of Mundora getting felled like a big tree and not being able to get up because of his awkward build. And it finally happened and it pretty much matched the vision. Could he have gotten up and continued? Yeah, probably, but he seemed to accept that he was caught, and that was that. Post-fight, speaking with Jim Gray, he was happy in tone, accepting of the fact that he got knocked out.

We’ll see how that plays out going forward. It indicates a lack of “that dog.” But not everyone is the same, maybe this is just how he is and it’s him handling the result just fine. Is he headed for true, elite tier greatness? No, because to be that, you truly need “that dog,” an unbelievable drive, and if I were to make an armchair observation on one thing about Fundora’s reaction, it’s that he ain’t that guy.

On another topic: I guess I would question his tactics, but I really don’t know if he’d actually be very good as a jab merchant, and also, I would rather watch the vulnerable, risk-taking, long-armed pocket brawler.

Israil Madrimov also fought on Saturday, winning a stay-busy over Raphael Igbokwe. It was fought at middleweight because it was an time-killer for Madrimov. He dished out good punishment, Igbokwe was tough and went the distance.

Falling out with Mendoza coming in is Charles Conwell, and I switched Jesus Ramos and Magomed Kurbanov at the back end. One of them could have gone out, but honestly, Conwell’s career is just not serious right now. Ramos’ record is just as good and Kurbanov is at least fighting Michel Soro in May. But that spot is Conwell’s to take, and we all want to see him get a good fight this year.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Magomed Kurbanov vs Michel Soro, May 6 ... (7) Erickson Lubin vs Luis Arias, June 24

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (8) Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis, Apr. 22 ... (6) Gary Antuanne Russell vs Kent Cruz, May 13 ... (3) Jack Catterall vs TBA, May 27 ... (2) Josh Taylor vs (9) Teofimo Lopez, June 10

Notes: Shakur Stevenson’s lightweight debut was dominant and destructive. Sometimes people say, “Well, what’s he done in this division,” and first of all, I’d argue beating Yoshino in that fashion is about as good as anything Cruz, Martin, Abdullaev, Zepeda, or Ortiz have done, and also, if you haven’t picked up on this by now, it’s about vibes for me, man. Every case is different. Sometimes it winds up resume, sometimes it winds up eye test, sometimes it’s a mix. Usually it’s a mix, and if one thing is really strong, that takes the lead.

Anyway, it’s the eye test taking the lead for Stevenson. Isaac Cruz could have fought him and turned it down, same with Kambosos (I understand Kambosos’ reason and think he’ll fight Stevenson if the offer is right later this year, maybe early 2024). Yoshino’s not elite, but he’s no scrub, and he gave a great effort. Stevenson stood in the pocket and took him apart. He is a serious threat to every fighter in this division, and this is a pretty damn good division.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia [junior welterweight, technically], Apr. 22 ... (9) William Zepeda vs Jaime Arboleda, Apr. 29 ... (1) Devin Haney vs (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko, May 20 ... (6) George Kambosos Jr vs Maxi Hughes, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Joe Cordina vs (3) Shavkat Rakhimov, Apr. 22 ... (9) Zelfa Barrett vs Alex Dilmaghani, Apr. 22 ... (1) Oscar Valdez vs Adam Lopez, May 20

Upcoming Fights: (10) Ruben Villa vs TBA, May 13 ... (1) Mauricio Lara vs (4) Leigh Wood, May 27 ... (6) Luis Alberto Lopez vs Michael Conlan, May 27

Notes: Well! Marlon Tapales upset Murodjon Akhmadaliev to win the WBA and IBF titles on Saturday, and we have another significant shake-up. Another fight that could have gone the other way, but it didn’t, so Tapales is up to No. 2, and Akhmadaliev drops to No. 4, though you could still have him No. 3. You could still have him second depending on your, like, feelings.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Liam Davies vs Jason Cunningham, Apr. 29 ... (1) Stephen Fulton Jr vs Naoya Inoue, July 25

Notes: A little shake-up in the last three spots. Takuma Inoue won the vacant WBA title against Liborio Solis, and while he wasn’t great, he was good, and he’s back in the division after a spell at 122.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is up to No. 8. Honestly, that narrow, controversial loss to Vincent Astrolabio has aged really well. Rigo is Rigo and he’s 112 years old, but there’s still nobody in this division I think he can’t beat.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Vincent Astrolabio vs (4) Jason Moloney, May 13 ... (1) Nonito Donaire vs (9) Alexandro Santiago, TBA ... (2) Emmanuel Rodriguez vs Melvin Lopez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (6) Wisaksil Wangek vs Komgrich Nantapech, Apr. 29 ... (7) Junto Nakatani vs (9) Andrew Moloney, May 20 ... (8) Kosei Tanaka vs Pablo Carrillo, May 21 ... (2) Fernando Martinez vs Jade Bornea, June 24

Notes: A couple of new arrivals. The biggest one is Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, coming in at No. 2 after his vacant WBO title win. Some will see him as No. 1, but I would submit that Sunny Edwards has truly earned that spot, it’s his and he deserves it until someone takes it from him. And hopefully Sunny vs Bam is what we get, but if Rodriguez’s jaw was actually broken on Saturday, that’s a while to wait, and I’d expect Edwards to make a title defense in the meantime.

Also in is Angelino Cordova at No. 10, as he beat Angel Acosta, ranked No. 7 last week and out this week. Dave Apolinario also falls out. I thought Acosta did enough to beat Cordova, but Cordova winning wasn’t a robbery or anything, and it’s two straight pretty good wins for Cordova, who is doing what he can to make career moves.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Angel Acosta vs Angelino Cordova, Apr. 6 ... (2) Julio Cesar Martinez vs Ronal Batista, May 6

Notes: Kenshiro Teraji had to earn it over late notice opponent Anthony Olascuaga, but he also mostly controlled that fight, wasn’t losing rounds, and when he felt he needed to step it up, he did so and stopped his opponent. He remains the top dog.

Keep Olascuaga in your mind, though. That kid can fight, and that loss to Teraji — which saw him jump up several steps in competition — is something that could simply make him better.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Rene Mark Cuarto, Apr. 16 ... (8) Wilfredo Mendez vs (10) Yudai Shigeoka, Apr. 16

Upcoming Fights: (6) Mikaela Mayer vs Christina Linardatou, Apr. 15 ... (2) Katie Taylor vs (8) Chantelle Cameron, May 20 ... (1) Claressa Shields vs Hanna Gabriels, June 3

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