Junto Nakatani is now the top dog at bantamweight | Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Junto Nakatani is now the top dog at bantamweight, plus more!

The next update will come on Monday, March 11. Generally we might not turn around so quickly with so few fights in a coming week, but there are a couple of big ones at heavyweight that will determine two spots and some positioning in the top five.

Ranked fights coming this week:

  • Heavyweight: (3) Zhilei Zhang vs (5) Joseph Parker, Mar. 8
  • Heavyweight: (4) Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou, Mar. 8
  • Super Middleweight: (10) Kevin Lele Sadjo vs Giovanni De Carolis, Mar. 9
  • Featherweight: (4) Rey Vargas vs (8) Nick Ball, Mar. 8


Upcoming Fights: (3) Zhilei Zhang vs (5) Joseph Parker, Mar. 8 … (4) Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou, Mar. 8 … (8) Jared Anderson vs Ryad Merhy, Apr. 13 … (1) Oleksandry Usyk vs (2) Tyson Fury, May 18



Upcoming Fights: (8) Arsen Goulamirian vs Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Mar. 30 … (1) Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis, May 18 … (2) Chris Billam-Smith vs (3) Richard Riakporhe, TBA



Upcoming Fights: (1) Dmitry Bivol vs (2) Artur Beterbiev, June 1



Notes: Everyone is waiting to see how things shake out with Canelo right now. Even David Benavidez’s seemingly pending move to 175 to fight Oleksandr Gvozdyk is waiting for Canelo to officially do something.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Kevin Lele Sadjo vs Giovanni De Carolis, Mar. 9 … (8) Diego Pacheco vs Shawn McCalman, Apr. 6 … (1) Canelo Alvarez vs TBA, May 4



Upcoming Fights: TBA



Notes: Jermell Charlo no longer holds a single belt at 154 lbs, and he hasn’t fought at the weight since May 2022, so 22 months. It’s quite possible, even likely, that he won’t fight at the weight again, and even more likely that he won’t do so any time soon. So he’s not going to be ranked at 154 anymore. Both Charlos floating in the wind at the moment, unclear of their fighting weight and only semi-active.

That brings in Caoimhin Agyarko. It could have been someone else — JJ Metcalf, Serhii Bohachuk, Abass Baraou, and Michel Soro got some real consideration, and Vergil Ortiz Jr is lurking if he gets truly active and actually makes 154 for a fight.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Tim Tszyu vs Keith Thurman, Mar. 30 … (3) Sebastian Fundora vs Serhii Bohachuk, Mar. 30



Upcoming Fights: TBA



Upcoming Fights: (1) Devin Haney vs (7) Ryan Garcia, Apr. 20 … (4) Jack Catterall vs Josh Taylor, Apr. 27



Upcoming Fights: (4) William Zepeda vs (7) Maxi Hughes, Mar. 16 … (10) Raymond Muratalla vs Agustin Quintana, Mar. 29 … (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (9) George Kambosos Jr, May 11



Notes: Emanuel Navarrete plans to move to 135 and fight Denys Berinchyk for a vacant title, so he’s out at 130. With Navarrete out, Andres Cortes enters the top 10.

Eduardo Nunez upset Shavkat Rakhimov via 11th round stoppage on Feb. 16, so Nunez shoots into the top 10 at No. 3, while Rakhimov tumbles down to No. 7.

O’Shaquie Foster beat Abraham Nova on Feb. 16 in solid fashion, and still has his argument for No. 1 in the division, he and Joe Cordina the serious claims.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Oscar Valdez vs (10) Liam Wilson, Mar. 29 … (1) Joe Cordina vs Anthony Cacace, May 18



Notes: Raymond Ford hits the top 10 with his title-winning stoppage of Otabek Kholmatov, who I thought fought pretty well, too, and he stays at No. 10. The room for both of these things is made possible by Mark Magsayo’s removal from the rankings, as Magsayo will be campaigning at 130 now, it seems.

Ford’s stay may be short-lived, as he said he struggled making weight and might have to go to 130 himself. That would be understandable, but we’ll see — they might see more value in being more careful and having a world title to defend at 126 when the days go by.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Rey Vargas vs (8) Nick Ball, Mar. 8



Upcoming Fights: (6) Sam Goodman vs Mark Schleibs, Mar. 13 … (1) Naoya Inoue vs (2) Luis Nery, May 6



Notes: A new and clear No. 1, as Junto Nakatani came in, took a belt from Alexandro Santiago by force, and announced with no question that he’s the new top dog at this weight. There are clear unification opportunities for him, very notably Jason Moloney.

With the next four in the top five being, in my opinion, still very close-run as a group, I’m going with Takuma Inoue at No. 2 in the refreshed look at the division. He looked good in a competitive fight on the same card where Nakatani beat Santiago, and got a rare stoppage, putting Jerwin Ancajas away in nine.

Upcoming Fights: TBA



Notes: Juan Francisco Estrada and Chocolatito Gonzalez are now officially inactive and out. Estrada may return to the division to fight Bam Rodriguez, who is expected to move back up. Chocolatito reportedly will fight again, but at bantamweight.

The last of the “old guard” left are Kazuto Ioka, who is now No. 1 — and a fine No. 1, even if it was sort of backdooring into the position — and the warrior Carlos Cuadras. There’s still talent here. Kosei Tanaka claimed another title, that’s four weight classes for him! His only loss was to Ioka. So, you know, pretty good fighter.

But it’s a division turning over, yes. It happens. When you have a batch of guys who run up top for as long as this one did — we’re talking over seven years here — that has to happen at some point.



Upcoming Fights: TBA



Upcoming Fights: TBA



Upcoming Fights: (1) Yudai Shigeoka vs (5) Melvin Jerusalem, Mar. 31 … (2) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs ArAr Andales, Mar. 31



Upcoming Fights: (6) Seniesa Estrada vs (7) Yokasta Valle, Mar. 29

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