by Cliff Rold
Heavyweight: Andy Ruiz now takes up a big piece of real estate in the unlimited class with three title belts and a likely first defense against the man he beat for them, Anthony Joshua. Since the last update, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have made defenses of their claim to the throne.
Cruiserweight: The slow separation of Oleksandr Usyk from the division is near complete. Usyk hasn’t formally made his move to heavyweight as yet but all the alphabet titles he collected are now off his waist.
Super Middleweight: Billy Joe Saunders has a belt in a second weight class after picking up the WBO strap left vacant by Gilberto Ramirez moving up in weight.
Middleweight: Saul Alvarez made his fourth defense of history’s crown, his first defenses of his current WBA and WBC reigns, and added the IBF belt to his mantle with a win over Daniel Jacobs. How long will it be until the WBC orders a mandatory between Alvarez and interim titlist Jermall Charlo?
Jr. Middleweight: Julian Williams unseated WBA/IBF unified titlist Jarrett Hurd in one of the best fights of 2019. Brian Castano has opted not to continue as WBA regular titlist and would make a solid foe for any champion in the class.
Jr. Welterweight: Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor won their first major titles and it looks like the division is headed towards a pair of unification fights: Prograis-Taylor and Ramirez-Hooker. Prograis and Taylor are rated #1 and #2 by both TBRB and Ring Magazine.
Jr. Lightweight: Andrew Cancio made his first defense of what should be the WBA super championship in the division and it looks like he and Gervonta Davis will continue on parallel tracks for the time being. Miguel Berchelt added his fifth title defense with a stoppage of Francisco Vargas while 2012 US Olympian Jamel Herring won the WBO belt from Masayuki Ito.
Featherweight: Gary Russell, Josh Warrington, and Oscar Valdez all made title defenses since the last update. Whether we will see any unification among the division’s beltholders remains in the air.
Jr. Featherweight: In one of the most entertaining fights of his career, Guillermo Rigondeaux set up a WBC mandatory with Rey Vargas and maintained his place as the lineal king at 122 lbs. Daniel Roman is now a unified titlist after a competitive win over TJ Doheny while Emmanuel Navarrete showed his title win was no fluke with a second straight win over Isaac Dogboe.
Bantamweight: Naoya Inoue in now a full titlist in the division with a sensational knockout of Emmanuel Rodriguez. Nonito Donaire successfully defended his WBA strap in the WBSS semi-finals and we have a unification crossroads clash coming by the fall.
Jr. Bantamweight: There is a new world champion at 115 lbs. as Juan Francisco Estrada put on a beautiful boxing display to avenge a loss last year to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Will they do it again down the road? Kazuto Ioka added a belt in the class as well in his second try in the last year.
Jr. Flyweight: In an action gem, Elwin Soto scored an early knockdown and then came from behind on the cards to stop Angel Acosta for the WBO belt in the final round. The stoppage created debate among viewers and a rematch would be welcome.
Last Update: April 21, 2019
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]