By Carlos Costa
The World Boxing Association (WBA) with headquarters in Panama has released its latest world rankings based on fights held till July 31st. A total of 15 Filipino boxers appear in it, including Manny Pacaquiao, Reymart Gaballo and Jhack Tepora as WBA Champions.
In he WBA Minimumweight division (105 lbs), the world champion in this 105 lbs weigh class is unbeaten Thammanoon Niyontron (18-0, 7 KO’s) of Thailand. Four Filipinos appear in the ranking: #5 Rey Loreto, #8 Mark Anthony Barriga, # 10 Pedro Taduran and # 14 Robert Paradero. Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1 KO) is also the mandatory challenger for the IBF world title; while Pedro Taduran (12-1, 9 KO’s) will be challenging experienced world champion Chayaphon Moonsri (50-0, 18 KO’s) for the World Boxing Council (WBC) World Title on August 28 in Thailand.
For the Jr. Flyweight (108 lbs), the WBA super champion is Hekkie Budler of South Africa with unbeaten Venezuela boxer Carlos Cañizales (21-0-1, 17 KO’s) as “regular” champion. The heavy-handed Cañizales recently ravaged Chinese challenger Lu Bin in Malaysia, sending him out of the ring semi-unconscious in a stretcher. Four Pinoy warriors are in this list of the world’s best 108 lbs boxers: #3 Jonathan Taconing, #8 Jessie Espinas, #9 Edward Heno and #14 Christian Araneta. In an exciting clash between pinoys, Jessie Espinas will battle Edward Heno for the OPBF 108 Title on August 11 in Laguna. Also, unbeaten Christian Araneta (15-0, 13 KO’s) will dispute the vacant WBA Asia Silver Belt August 18 in Cebu.
In the Flyweight Division, a weight class where the greatest 112-pounder fighter is arguably Filipino Pancho Villa, the WBA has currently three Pinoy fighters: #9 Giemel Magramo, #10 Froilan Saludar (who last Friday was knocked out in six round in China) and #11 Jaysever Abcede. The 23 year-old Abcede broke into this world rankings by winning the WBA Asia Belt last May in Thailand. Undefeated Ukrainian fighter Artem Dalakian (17-0, 12 KO’s) is the current WBA Flyweight world champion.
In the super hot SuperFly (115 lbs) category, a weight class full of star warriors, there are no Filipinos in the WBA ranking. However, the IBF SuperFly world champion is Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 2 KO’s), plus two SuperFly Pinoys will clash for the WBO SuperFly belt: Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte will battle on September 8 in the Forum of Inglewood, California, the winner becoming WBO SuperFly Champion.
Nietes is a long time, loyal ALA Boxer while Palicte from Bago in Negros Occidental is currently training in Gensan. Other golden names in this star SuperFly weigh-class are Srisaket Sor Rungviai of Thailand, former Mexicans titlist Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada, Carlos “Principe” Cuadras, as well as popular Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KO’s) of Nicaragua.
In Bantamweights, the WBA interim champion is Filipino Reymart Gaballo of the Jim Claude Manangquil Sanman Stable in Gensan. Other stellar gladiators in the 118 lbs division are WBA “Regular” Champion “The Monster” Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KO’s) of Yokohama, Japan, and WBA Bantamweight “Super Champion” Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KO’s) of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In Featherweights, the WBA Interim Champion is unbeaten Cebuano Jhack “El Capitan” Tepora (22-0, 17 KO’s) after he conquered his crown with an exciting round 9 knock out win over tough Mexican Edivaldo Ortega two weeks ago in Malaysia. Another Cebuano boxer in the WBA 126 lbs ranking is WBA # 12 Jessie Cris Rosales (22-1-1, 10 KO’s) of Danao, who captured the WBA Featherweight Oceania Title last March in Australia.
In the hot welterweight (147 lbs) division, the WBA “regular” Champion is Filipino living-legend Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KO’s) of General Santos City after his thrilling round 7 knock out victory over Argentinian Lucas Matthysse July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The unbelievable fighting Senator is rumored to be interested in another world title fight by the end of this year 2018, and several names are mentioned as possible opponents. However, as of today nothing is yet confirmed.
Any of the following could be the Pacman’s future opponent:
The WBA Welterweight “Super Champion” unbeaten Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KO’s) who doesn’t see action since March of last year due to medical reasons, however is reported to be back in training. Other star warriors in the always exciting welterweight division are IBF World Champion Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KO’s), Puerto Rican-American Danny Garcia (34-1, 20 KO’s) and unbeaten WBO world champion Terrence Crawford (33-0, 24 KO’s). In addition, the ever popular Amir Khan is also a welterweight with a huge fan-base worth mentioning.
Furthermore, the unified WBC/IBF Lightweight World champion Mexican-American Mickey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s) has just last Saturday thrown his name into the welterweight hat, challenging tough-hitter IBF world champion Errol Spence Jr.
Will the Errol Spence vs Mickey Garcia take place? Who will the Pacman fight next?
The author Carlos Costa is a Panama-born Fight Reporter living in Cebu, Philippines. Carlos can be reached by email: Carlos512@hotmail.com and by Viber/Whatsapp: +639184538152