Rankings (Oct. 15, 2019): Usyk arrives at heavyweight

Rankings will be posted each Tuesday at Noon ET.

This week’s ranked fights:

  • Light Heavyweight: (1) Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs (2) Artur Beterbiev, Oct. 18
  • Welterweight: (10) Kudratillo Abdukakhorov vs Luis Collazo, Oct. 18
  • Super Featherweight: (8) Francisco Vargas vs Ezequiel Aviles, Oct. 19

Notes: Usyk is here, and Adam Kownacki falls out of the top 10. Sorry, Adam. It’s not so much that Usyk looked blowaway phenomenal in his win over Chazz Witherspoon on Saturday, but he won without any real trouble, and his achievements at cruiser and skills deserve a top 10 spot at heavyweight right off, I think. And honestly, if he was lined up to fight Kownacki next (he won’t be), who are you picking there? That said, I remain tentative about pushing Usyk hype any further than this. These guys ranked above him are a lot better than Witherspoon who came off the couch to take the fight on short notice. We’ll see more with Usyk when he gets a real live opponent.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Kubrat Pulev vs Rydell Booker, Nov. 9 … (2) Deontay Wilder vs (6) Luis Ortiz, Nov. 23 … (3) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (4) Anthony Joshua, Dec. 7 … (1) Tyson Fury vs (2) Deontay Wilder, Feb. 22

Notes: Usyk’s reign of parked terror at the top of these rankings is over. I also chose to just go ahead and pull the trigger on Murat Gassiev, who is headed to heavyweight, too, and has had his debut in the division postponed by injury. So we have two new entrants here in Wlodarczyk, the 38-year-old former world titleholder, and Ngabu, the reigning European champ. Wlodarczyk is a good bit past his prime, but still winning in lower/mid-level fights, and this division is currently thin for true top-level talent. Ngabu faces Lawrence Okolie in less than two weeks, so his time here could be short. I also considered Andrew Tabiti, but I’ve personally never been particularly impressed with Tabiti. I could’ve gone with him, though. He’s not any big distance from anyone from Lerena on, and there’s another handful of guys you could throw in that grouping, too.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Yves Ngabu vs Lawrence Okolie, Oct. 26 … (8) Arsen Goulamirian vs Kane Watts, Nov. 15 … (1) Mairis Briedis vs (2) Yuniel Dorticos, Dec. 14

Notes: For the moment, there is some debate (we had a bit in the live thread on Saturday) about whether Bivol should be considered No. 3 or No. 4 in the division. I’m sticking with third spot; yeah, he wasn’t exactly thrilling against Lenin Castillo, who isn’t very good, but “thrilling” left Bivol’s business card a while ago. There was at one time a thought that he was going to be some 175-pound GGG, a true destroyer, but he’s just not that guy. So he’s working a type vs hype problem at this point. The hype got him in the door, and now he’s just being who he is. Bivol’s technical skills are as good or better than anyone else here, and he’d be a handful for anybody. He could also be up to No. 2 by next week, since we’ve got 1-2 this Friday night.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs (2) Artur Beterbiev, Oct. 18 … (4) Sergey Kovalev vs Canelo Alvarez, Nov. 2

Upcoming Fights: (4) Billy Joe Saunders vs Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Nov. 9 … (10) Rocky Fielding vs Abdallah Paziwapazi, Nov. 15 … (1) Callum Smith vs (9) John Ryder, Nov. 23

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev [light heavyweight], Nov. 2 … (6) Jermall Charlo vs Dennis Hogan, Dec. 7 … (3) Daniel Jacobs vs TBA [super middleweight], Dec. 13 … (7) Ryota Murata vs Steven Butler, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Brian Castano vs Wale Omotoso, Nov. 2 … (8) Dennis Hogan vs Jermall Charlo [middleweight], Dec. 7 … (1) Julian Williams vs TBA, Jan. 18

Upcoming Fights: (10) Kudratillo Abdukakhorov vs Luis Collazo, Oct. 18 … (1) Terence Crawford vs Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Dec. 14 … (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (6) Danny Garcia, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Regis Prograis vs (2) Josh Taylor, Oct. 26 … (8) Eduard Troyanovsky vs Josef Zahradnik, Nov. 14 … (4) Maurice Hooker vs TBA [welterweight], Dec. 13 … (3) Jose Ramirez vs (6) Viktor Postol, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Robert Easter Jr vs Adrian Granados [junior welterweight], Oct. 26 … (6) Javier Fortuna vs Jesus Cuellar, Nov. 2 … (9) Devin Haney vs TBA, Nov. 9 … (2) Richard Commey vs (8) Teofimo Lopez, Dec. 14

Upcoming Fights: (8) Francisco Vargas vs Ezequiel Aviles, Oct. 19 … (1) Miguel Berchelt vs Jason Sosa, Nov. 2 … (5) Jamel Herring vs Lamont Roach Jr, Nov. 9 … (4) Andrew Cancio vs Rene Alvarado, Nov. 23

Notes: Santa Cruz is only going to sit here at No. 1 for another month-and-a-half, then he’s officially up at 130 in his next trash fight for another world title. So really, just imagine Josh Warrington is already in that top spot, and I guess that’s a spoiler, I won’t be over-thinking it and arguing Russell at No. 1. If they met, I’d probably wind up picking Russell, but I also don’t think it’s the slam dunk some might — Warrington’s style and pressure could be hell for a guy who has fought once a year for the last half-decade. It’s not like the last live body Russell fought, Joseph Diaz Jr, had no success when they met in 2018. Warrington’s win over Sofiane Takoucht on Saturday was no statement, it was just a victory lap in Leeds, but he’s proven plenty, and recently.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Shakur Stevenson vs Joet Gonzalez, Oct. 26 … (1) Leo Santa Cruz vs Miguel Flores [super featherweight], Nov. 23 … (8) Xu Can vs Manny Robles III, Nov. 23 … (4) Oscar Valdez vs Andres Gutierrez [super featherweight], Nov. 30 … (5) Carl Frampton vs TBA, Nov. 30 … (9) Kid Galahad vs Claudio Marrero, TBA

Notes: Doheny got back in action on short notice on the Usyk card in Chciago, off-TV in a 124-pound catchweight. Those in attendance said he looked good, so he holds firm at No. 5.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Brandon Figueroa vs TBA, Nov. 15 … (4) Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Liborio Solis, Dec. 7

Upcoming Fights: (1) Naoya Inoue vs (3) Nonito Donaire, Nov. 7 … (6) Nordine Oubaali vs (9) Takuma Inoue, Nov. 7 … (2) Luis Nery vs TBA, Nov. 23 … (5) Zolani Tete vs John Riel Casimero, Nov. 23

Upcoming Fights: (9) Francisco Rodriguez Jr vs Gregorio Lebron, Oct. 26 … (5) Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonathan Rodriguez, Nov. 2 … (10) Alejandro Santiago vs TBA [bantamweight], Nov. 22 … (4) Kazuto Ioka vs Jeyvier Cintron, Dec. 31

Upcoming Fights: (6) Andrew Selby vs TBA, Nov. 22 … (8) Muhammad Waseem vs TBA, Nov. 22 … (4) Julio Cesar Martinez vs (7) Cristofer Rosales, Dec. 13

Upcoming Fights: (6) Elwin Soto vs (9) Edward Heno, Oct. 24 … (7) Angel Acosta vs Raymond Tabugon [flyweight], Oct. 24

Upcoming Fights: (5) Wilfredo Mendez vs Gabriel Mendoza, Oct. 26