The previous two weeks were relatively quiet, but starting with tonight’s junior welterweight showdown between No. 1-rated Regis Prograis and No. 3-rated Jose Zepeda there will be plenty of action between Ring-rated fighters until the end of 2022. (Next Saturday’s anticipated rubber-match between Ring junior bantamweight champ Juan Francisco Estrada and No. 1-rated Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is as good as boxing gets.)
However, there were two standouts from the Ring’s rankings who were in action on Nov. 11 and Nov. 19 – Sunny Edwards and Jaime Munguia.
Edwards (19-0, 4 KOs) defended his IBF flyweight title for the third time with a brilliant performance against Felix Alvarado in Sheffield, England. The 26-year-old London native was both ring savvy and gutsy in scoring a competitive but clear unanimous decision.
Edwards entered the bout as The Ring’s No. 2-rated flyweight. Alvarado (38-3, 33 KOs), a fearsome former 108-pound titleholder from Nicaragua, entered the bout rated No. 9 at 112 pounds. The aggressive 33-year-old veteran had won 20 consecutive bouts dating back to 2014 and had previously been ranked as high as No. 1 at junior flyweight.
Anson Wainwright suggested moving Edwards to the top spot in the flyweight rankings and the rest of The Ring Ratings Panel gladly co-signed.
Munguia (41-0, 33 KOs) overwhelmed Gonzalo Coria within three rounds in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was another stay-busy bout for the unbeaten Tijuana native, who was The Ring’s 2017 Prospect of the Year and a former 154-pound beltholder. Munguia has won seven in a row since moving up to the middleweight division in 2020, but he’s only faced a few notable opponents (Spike O’Sullivan, Tureano Johnson and Gabriel Rosado).
Although Munguia has only defeated one Ring-rated middleweight, Kamil Szeremeta (No. 6 at the time), he’s risen to No. 4 in the rankings, in part because of fading veterans – such as Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Ryota Murat – dropping down the top 10, but also because of his continued success.
Stopping unrated Coria did not warrant an advance in the rankings, but it was enough to earn the 26-year-old volume puncher the Fighter of the Week award.
Now it’s time for Munguia to try to earn a second world title in 2023.
Since it was a slow period and there wasn’t much to discuss or debate, your favorite Editor-In-Chief proposed that the Ratings Panel share their thoughts on The Ring’s 2022 Awards.
“I know there’s more elite-level boxing scheduled this month and in December, but I’m just asking for four or five candidates in each category,” said Yours Truly. “We’re not deciding on any winners yet.”
Here are The Ring’s annual awards:
Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, KO of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Prospect of the Year, Event of the Year, Round of the Year, Upset of the Year, Performance of the Year, and Most Inspirational.
Tom Gray was the first to share his list of nominees:
Fighter of the Year
Fight of the Year
Leigh Wood KO 12 Michael Conlan
Sebastian Fundora TKO 9 Erickson Lubin
Jermell Charlo KO 10 Brian Castano 2
Joe Joyce KO 11 Joe Parker
KO of the Year
Leigh Wood KO 12 Michael Conlan
Gervonta Davis TKO 6 Rolando Romero
Richard Torrez KO 1 Marco Antonio Canedo
Tyson Fury TKO 6 Dillian Whyte
Caleb Plant KO 9 Anthony Dirrell
Deontay Wilder KO 1 Robert Helenius
Joe Cordina KO 2 Kenichi Ogawa
Jermell Charlo KO 10 Brian Castano 2
Callum Smith KO 4 Mathieu Bauderlique
Christian Mbilli KO 5 Nadjib Mohammedi
Anthony Dirrell KO 4 Marco Hernandez
Comeback of the Year
Trainer of the Year
Event of the Year
Tyson Fury TKO 6 Dillian Whyte
Oleksandr Usyk SD 12 Anthony Joshua
Upset of the Year
Dmitry Bivol UD 12 Canelo Alvarez
Hector Garcia UD 12 Chris Colbert
Jai Opetaia UD 12 Mairis Briedis
Performance of the Year
Roman Gonzalez UD 12 Julio Cesar Martinez
Shakur Stevenson UD 12 Oscar Valdez
Naoya Inoue TKO 2 Nonito Donaire
Stephen Fulton UD 12 Daniel Roman
Usyk and Lomachenko return from fighting in Ukraine
Women’s boxing on the upswing
Gray did not have any nominees for Prospect of the Year or Round of the Year.
Adam Abramowitz provided some suggestions for Gray’s nominees.
“Tom, that’s a great list. I would add Bob Santos for Trainer of the Year. I would add Taylor-Serrano for Event of the Year.
“Lots of guys for potential Prospect of the Year. I’d suggest Keyshawn Davis and Bruce Carrington to get the ball rolling.”
“Yeah, I pondered Taylor-Serrano (and Shields-Marshall deserves a shout too), but there are usually separate awards for the women.
“That’s been the case in past years. Maybe it’s worth changing it.”
Ye Ole Editor-In-Chief chimed in:
“I think the unwritten rule of keeping the male and female annual awards separate is worth changing, and I believe that Taylor-Serrano is worthy of being included as an Event of the year candidate AND a FIGHT of the Year candidate.”
Added Tris Dixon:
“I like Tom’s list. I’d include the IBHOF triple induction weekend in Event of the Year. Also, I know it’s not the same vibe, but the (Conor) Benn positive test was absolutely a happening of epic proportions.
“I’m all for leaving the sports washing countries OUT of the Event of the Year.”
“I’d say Grant Smith is worth a mention in Trainer of the Year… guy gets almost no props. Sunny Edwards and Dalton Smith have both impressed.
“I like Galal Yafai as a Prospect of the Year contender.”
“The Liam Paro KO of Brock Jarvis was decent as a finisher and a considerable upset for many.
“Billy Dib and his outlook taking on cancer is inspirational to me.
“Jordan Gill’s comeback win over Guerfi was a KO of the Year and Fight of the Year contender.
“Honourable mention somewhere for Hekkie Budler’s big win in Mexico. Maybe not with hindsight, but Magsayo-Russell was an upset.”
“KO of the Year contender – Issac Hardman KO 1 Beau Hartas. Check this out if you haven’t seen it. Was on Briedis-Opetaia undercard. Incredible shot.”
Senior Editor Brian Harty helped out with Round of the Year candidates.
“I googled ‘round of the year’ and came up with some fight-report mentions on various sites from the past year. Just food for thought – always seems like a tricky category:
Fundora-Lubin, Round 7
Wood-Conlan, Round 12
Spence-Ugas, Round 6
Charlo-Castano 2, Round 5
Golovkin-Murata, Round 9
Kyoguchi-Teraji, Round 5
Ellis Zorro-Dec Spelman, Round 7 – https://youtu.be/oMkOmFAK79s?t=524
Sam Gilley-Drew Brown, Round 8 – https://www.instagram.com/p/CcfT3t-FWS4/
Souleymane Cissokho-Roberto Valenzuela, Round 4 – https://youtu.be/a8QcVM8Q66g?t=268 (middle edited out)
Jordan White-Derrick Murray, Round 8 (can’t find any video of this one)
“I think Taylor-Serrano should be in the mix for any award. One of the narratives around the fight was that it had transcended the male/female divide.
Wainwright provided his list of candidates:
“Fighter of the Year: Bivol, Kenshiro, Bam Rodriguez, Fury,
Fight of the Year: Fundora-Lubin, Wood-Conlan, Charlo-Castano 2
KO of the Year: Mbilli-Mohammedi, Wood-Conlan, Janibek-Dignum, Plant-Dirrell, Wilder-Helenius, Cordina-Ogawa
Comeback of the Year: Kenshiro, Teofimo, Loma, Ryan Garcia (ending a long hiatus), Zolani Tete, Rey Vargas
Trainer of the Year: Bob Santos, Derrick James, Joel Diaz, Gennadiy Mashyanov (Bivol)
Prospect of the Year: Keyshawn Davis, Xander Zayas, David Cuellar, Jared Anderson, Bakhodir Jalolov
Event of the Year: Usyk-AJ 2, Canelo-GGG 3, Fury-Whyte, Japanese card on Nov. 1 (Kyoguchi-Kenshiro, Gonzalez-Iwata, Nakatani-Rodriguez and Yoshino-Nakatani: An excellent high level main event with an excellent undercard), GGG-Murata
Round of the Year: Fundora-Lubin Round 7, Wood-Conlan Round 12, Spence-Ugas Round 6
Upset of the Year: Bivol UD 12 Canelo, Magsayo-Russell Jr., Martinez-Ancajas 1, Garcia-Colbert, Opetaia-Briedis
Performance of the Year: Bivol-Canelo, Kenshiro-Kyoguchi, Wood-Conlan, Shakur-Valdez, Beterbiev-Smith, Joyce-Parker, Zepeda-Diaz, Inoue-Donaire 2, Rodriguez-Srisaket
Most Inspirational: Loma, Usyk for what they went through in Ukraine, Kiko Martinez, Roman Gonzalez (two of boxing’s good guys)
Added Daisuke Sugiura: “Not a lot to add to the list of Tom and Anson, but I’d like to nominate Golovkin vs. Murata for the Event of the Year. It took almost two years for the fight to finally materialize. That one was Mr. Honda’s Moby Dick. I heard that Team Teiken spent approximately three hundred thousand dollars for Golovkin’s expenses alone because they had to rent a floor of an expensive hotel during the pandemic. Also, the fight was the first boxing event streamed by Amazon Prime Video in Japan, which is truly epoch-making. We will see a lot of big fights in Japan from now on because of them getting into the boxing business. Kenshiro vs. Kyoguchi wouldn’t have happened without Amazon Prime.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (As of Nov. 19):
Cruiserweight – Arsen Goulamirian, who had been dropped from the rankings due to inactivity, re-enters at No. 7 following a decision over unbeaten (11-0) but unrated Alexsei Egorov.
“Goulamirian to re-enter our rankings. He has made Gary Russell Jr. look active!” noted Wainwright. “I could see him coming in as high as No. 5 but due to his inactivity, maybe No. 7 would be fairer?”
Abramowitz and Diego Morilla agreed with the No. 7 rankings.
“I’ll go with Goulamirian at No. 7 or lower,” said Morilla. “He did look good in that fight, but there are some great fighters in the division who deserve more respect for being more active.”
Light heavyweight – Anthony Yarde remains at No. 8 following a stay-busy three-round stoppage of unrated Stefani Koykov.
Middleweight – Munguia remains at No. 4. Janibek Alimkhanuly remains at No. 5 after scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over unrated Denzel Bentley.
“Jaime Munguia stayed active with a routine third-round stoppage over Gonzalo Coria,” noted Wainwright. “Hopefully, there’s something bigger for the Mexican next year. The only thing I took from this was he could still make 160, having weighed 165 in his previous fight.”
Flyweight – Edwards advances to No. 1. Alvarado remains at No. 9.
“Edwards retained his IBF title with an impressive display against Felix Alvarado, who also put up an excellent fight,” noted Wainwright. “Edwards to No. 1 and keep Alvarado where is ranked. He probably would have beaten other fighters on the list. I’d move up over (No. 8-rated Jackson) Chauke but it was a loss.”
Strawweight – Yudai Shigeoka advances to No. 9 following a third-round stoppage of unrated Tatsuro Nakashima.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Doug’s IG Live most Sundays.