Ring ratings revised in 2022: Lightweight

Devin Haney celebrates after defeating George Kambosos Jr. for the undisputed lightweight championship. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

The Ring first introduced its divisional rankings in 1925. Almost a century later, it’s no exaggeration to say that these independent rankings are the most respected and accurate in world boxing.

The scoring jury is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are divided ; a debate takes place and the final decision on who should be ranked where is democratically decided each week. It sounds easy, but it can be an arduous and time-consuming process.

A few years ago, during the pandemic, we took a look and broke down each division in its entirety. In a two-pronged approach, we looked at the respective accomplishments of the best fighters in the world and analyzed what lies ahead.

Now, with enough time up and with a busy final quarter to 2022 ahead of us, we’ve decided to compile another divisional breakdown.

The next step is light. As always, enjoy the debate and respect the opinions of others.

Devin Haney (left) guards George Kambosos Jr. at the end of his jab. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

CHAMPION: DEVIN HANEY

REGISTRATION: 28-0 (15 KOs)

THE PAST: Haney turned pro at age 17 in Mexico. This super talent has picked up victories over Mason Menard (RTD 9), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD 10) and Antonio Moran (TKO 7). After being promoted to the WBC title holder, following his dominating win over Zaur Abdullaev (RTD 4), he defended his title, notably beating former three-division titlist Jorge Linares (UD 12) and former 130-pound titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. (UD 12). Most recently, he picked up a dominating victory over IBF, WBA and WBO title holder and then Ring champion George Kambosos Jr. (UD 12) to become the undisputed champion.

THE FUTURE: Will face George Kambosos Jr. in a rematch in Australia on October 16.

November 27, 2021;  New York, NY: George Kambosos (right) celebrates with manager Peter Kahn over Teofimo Lopez during their fight on November 27, 2021 at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom).

November 27, 2021; New York, NY: George Kambosos (right) celebrates with manager Peter Kahn over Teofimo Lopez during their fight on November 27, 2021 at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom).

No. 1: GEORGE KAMBOSOS JR.

REGISTRATION: 20-1 (10 KOs)

THE PAST: The Aussie rose through the ranks of the local scene, collecting a host of regional titles along the way. Fought a few times in America but didn’t catch the eye. His big break came when he traveled to the UK to overtake Lee Selby (SD 12) in an IBF title eliminator. This earned him a shot at The Ring, IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. As a huge underdog, he remained calm and composed to upset the gifted American by 12-round split decision. Was completely dispatched and lost his titles to Haney (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: Has a direct rematch with Haney for Oct. 16.

The fierce fighting spirit of Vasiliy Lomachenko (left) goes beyond the ring.  Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The fierce fighting spirit of Vasiliy Lomachenko (left) goes beyond the ring. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

No. 2: VASILI LOMASHENKO

REGISTRATION: 16-2 (11 KOs)

THE PAST: The hugely gifted Ukrainian southpaw was one of the most decorated amateurs of all time, winning Olympic gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. An early setback to Orlando Salido (SD 12), on his second outing career, was followed by a rapid rise. Loma won the vacant WBO featherweight title at the expense of Gary Russell Jr. (MD 12) and he won other titles at 130 and 135. Has solid wins over Roman Martinez (KO 5), Nicholas Walters (RTD 7), Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD 6) and Jorge Linares (TKO 10). He lost to Teofimo Lopez (UD 12) but rebounded with comprehensive wins over Masayoshi Nakatani (TKO 9) and Richard Commey (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: He passed up a chance to then-undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. to continue defending his country in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. He will return against the undefeated Jamaine Ortiz on October 22.

Gervonta Davis (center).  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Gervonta Davis (center). (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

No. 3: GERVONTA DAVIS

REGISTRATION: 27-0 (25 KOs)

THE PAST: Impressively snatched the IBF 130-pound title from Jose Pedraza (TKO 7). Since then his star has risen and he is one of America’s most popular attractions, regularly selling out areas across the country and performing on Showtime Pay-Per-View. He owns a knockout blow over Leo Santa Cruz (KO 6) and showed his vaunted power going up in weight when he came on strong to stop the much bigger Mario Barrios (TKO 11) at 140 pounds.

THE FUTURE: Talked about facing Ryan Garcia, but there seems to be more posturing than actual work for the fight on both sides. Will return in December against an as-yet-unknown opponent.

Ryan Garcia and Joe Goossen.  Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

Ryan Garcia and Joe Goossen. Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

No. 4: RYAN GARCIA

REGISTRATION: 23-0 (19 KOs)

THE PAST: Garcia is quite the new age fighter; it’s a social media phenomenon, with millions of followers (8.8 million on Instagram). There were question marks over whether Garcia’s accomplishments would live up to his personality outside of the ring. He has since appeased some of the doubters by showing his vaunted power against Romero Duno (KO 1), Francisco Fonseca (KO 1) and two-time title challenger Luke Campbell (TKO 7). The 24-year-old didn’t fight for 15 months due to mental health issues, but knocked rust out of the ring when he topped Emmanuel Tagoe (UD 12) and, in his last outing, “King Ry” looked very impressive. wily militant Javier Fortuna (KO 6).

THE FUTURE: Doesn’t have a fight scheduled at the time of this writing, but it’s fair to expect him to return later this year.

Isaac Cruz.  Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Isaac Cruz. Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

No. 5: ISAAC CRUZ

REGISTRATION: 23-2-1 (16 KOs)

THE PAST: Cruz stopped Diego Magdaleno (KO 1), took Jose Matias Romero’s undefeated record (UD 12) and beat the more experienced 130-pound former titleholder Francisco Vargas (UD 10). Those wins earned him the call for a late replacement to step in and take on Gervonta Davis. The 24-year-old Mexican was fiercely competitive but lost a 12-round unanimous decision. In the loss, he showed he belonged in the upper echelons of the division. “Pitbull” bounced back on his way to victory by stopping former Unified Featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (TKO 5).

THE FUTURE: Face Eduardo Ramirez on Sunday.

Joseph Diaz Jr. (right) didn't allow a cut or Javier Fortuna's difficult styling to stop him from having a successful lightweight debut.  Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy Promotions

Joseph Diaz Jr. (right) didn’t allow a cut or Javier Fortuna’s difficult styling to stop him from having a successful lightweight debut. Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy Promotions

No. 6: JOSEPH DIAZ JR.

REGISTRATION: 32-2-1 (15 KOs)

THE PAST: The 2012 US Olympic representative was a standout amateur before transitioning to the professional ranks. Lost in his first world title attempt, when he challenged 126-pound WBC titleholder Gary Russell Jr. (UD 12) in 2018. The talented southpaw moved up to 130 pounds and took out Tevin Farmer (UD 12 ) to become the IBF title holder. ‘JoJo’ missed weight in what would have been his first defense against the unheralded Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov and had to settle for a 12-round draw. The 29-year-old beat Fortuna (UD 12) but lost to Haney (UD 12) in a tilt for the WBC title.

THE FUTURE: Will face the dangerous puncher William Zepeda on November 5.

Guillaume Zepeda

Guillaume Zepeda

No. 7: WILLIAM ZEPEDA

REGISTRATION: 26-0 (23 KOs)

THE PAST: The hard-hitting Mexican southpaw won his first 20 fights in Mexico before signing with Golden Boy Promotions. Since then, the 26-year-old has continued to impress, including pummeling previously unbeaten Hector Tanajara (RTD 6) and, most recently, winning quality runs with seasoned veteran Rene Alvarado (UD 10).

THE FUTURE: Gets his big break in a litmus test against Diaz Jr. on Nov. 5.

Frank Martin looks like a lightweight competitor stopping Jackson Marinez.  Photo by Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Frank Martin looks like a lightweight competitor stopping Jackson Marinez. Photo by Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

No. 8: FRANK MARTIN

REGISTRATION: 16-0 (12 KOs)

THE PAST: He won his first 11 fights and began working with unified welterweight roster Errol Spence Jr. and his trainer Derrick James. The boost benefited Martin, who went from strength to strength, taking the unbeaten record from Jerry Perez (KO 7), stopping former contenders Romero Duno (TKO 4) and Jackson Marinez (TKO 10).

THE FUTURE: The 27-year-old is ready to step in and take on a former titleholder or a contender. It will likely wrap up its breakthrough year in the fall.

Michael Rivera

Michael Rivera

No. 9: MICHEL RIVERA

REGISTRATION: 23-0 (14 KOs)

THE PAST: Earned his strips fighting at home in the Dominican Republic before heading to America, where his last eight fights have been. The 24-year-old holds wins over Ladarius Miller (UD 10), a knockout off the canvas over Jon Fernandez (KO 8), a shutout over Jose Matias Romero (UD 10) and, most recently, outboxing previously undefeated Joseph Adorno (UD 10).

THE FUTURE: Is lined up with Premier Boxing Champions and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him face Davis later this year.

Gustavo Lemos (left) moves for the kill against Lee Selby (right) in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 26 – Photo by Juan Montani

Gustavo Lemos (left) moves for the kill against Lee Selby (right) in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 26 – Photo by Juan Montani

No. 10: GUSTAVO LEMOS

REGISTRATION: 28-0 (18 KOs)

THE PAST: Lemos worked his way up, claiming an IBF regional title. The 26-year-old is on a nine-game stoppage win streak. He holds solid wins over Jorge Paez Jr. (KO 2) and former featherweight titlist Lee Selby (TKO 5) in an IBF eliminator.

THE FUTURE: As an IBF mandatory challenger, he’s waiting for his title shot, but may have to keep busy in the meantime.

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Pound for Pound – The Ring (ringtv.com)
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Ring Magazine Ratings Review: Junior Flyweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring ratings reviewed in 2022: Flyweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Junior Bantamweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Bantamweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Junior Featherweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Featherweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)
The Ring Ratings Review 2022: Junior Lightweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

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