January 2022

1/1 – British Boxing Board of Control suspends all boxing matches under its control for the month of January due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

1/12 – WBO Welterweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Terence Crawford sues his former promoter, Bob Arum for $5.4 Million (Breach of contract, Negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation) while also claiming racial bias while promoting him.

1/15 – WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Joe Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KO’s) made his first title defense, knocking out late replacement Steve Geffrard (18-3, 12 KO’s) at :37 of round 9. The unheralded Geffrard accepted the fight on short notice (Jan 7), with the bout just a week away. Smith controlled the fight throughout and jumped all over Geffrard at the start of the 9th round, dropping him for the count after a barrage of unanswered head shots. At the time of the stoppage Smith led 80-72 (Glenn Feldman), 79-73 (Tom Schreck), and 79-72 (Don Trella) on the judges scorecards. Smith was originally scheduled to make his first defense last October against Umar Salamov. The fight was postponed until this date after Smith Jr contracted Covid-19. Salamov, however, couldn’t get to America (visa issues) and Callum Johnson was scheduled to take his place. On January 6th Johnson tested positive for Covid-19, thus opening the door for Geffrard. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Television: ESPN. Referee: Mark Nelson.

1/19 – The WBC removed five boxers from their rankings for failing to enroll in their mandatory WBC Clean Boxing Program, which is administered by VADA. Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith (WBC #7, unrated by Ring Magazine), Welterweight Connor Benn (WBC #5, Ring #9), Jr Welterweight Mario Barrios (WBC #10, Ring #6), Featherweight Mauricio Lara (WBC #4, Ring #2), and Bantamweight Lee McGregor (WBC #9, Ring #10). Each boxer will be given an opportunity to re-enroll.   

1/22 – WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell’s (unrated by The Ring due to inactivity) nearly seven year reign came to an end after losing a 12 round majority decision to Ring #4 Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KO) by the scores of 115-113 twice (Henry Eugene Grant, Mark Consentino) and 114-114 (Lynne Carter). Russell (31-2, 18 KO) injured his shoulder in round 4, threw just one jab in round 5, and not a single one after. It was a close fight with the consensus agreeing that Magsayo deserved the decision. The fight was a candidate for ‘Upset of the Year’. Russell won the title in March 2015 and he had been the longest tenured boxing World Champion. However, he also had been inactive for nearly two full years, with his last fight in early February, 2020. Russell’s father/trainer missed most of this training camp for health reasons and had his foot amputated in December from diabetes. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jr. Promoter: PBC. Venue: Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Television: Showtime.

1/28 – Queensberry Promotions (Frank Warren) bid a boxing record $41,025,000 to secure the rights to promote Ring Magazine & WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury’s 2nd title defense vs Dillian Whyte. The only other bidder was Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn) at $32,222,222. Both bids broke the previous record of $32,100,000 set in 1990 by the Mirage Hotel and Casino for the Heavyweight Championship fight between James “Buster” Douglas and Evander Holyfield.

1/29 – WBC Cruiserweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KO) made the 2nd defense of his title with a disputed 12 round split decision over Ring #4 Thabiso Mchunu (23-6, 13 KO) by the scores of 116-112 (Jamie Garayua), 115-113 (Steve Weisfeld), and 113-115 (Nathan Palmer). It was a close fight with most observers feeling that Mchunu deserved the decision, if not a draw. This was a rematch from 2015, when Makabu scored a stoppage victory in the 11th round of a WBC eliminator. Referee: Harvey Dock. Promoter: Don King Productions. Venue: Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio USA. Television: PPV.

Other notable fights in January:

1/1 – Ring #7 Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28 KO) TKO 6 unrated Charles Martin (28-3-1, 25 KO). IBF Heavyweight semi-final title eliminator. Florida, USA.

1/14 – Jade Bornea (17-0, 11 KO) KO 3 Mohammed Obbadi (22-2, 13 KO), Monterrey, Mexico. IBF Jr Bantamweight eliminator. Neither fighter rated by The Ring.

1/29 – WBA “Regular” Heavyweight Champion Trevor Bryan (22-0, 15 KO) SD 12 Jonathan Guidry (17-1-2). Neither fighter rated by The Ring. Ohio, USA.

1/29 – Ring #10 Jr Lightweight Robson Conceicao (17-1, 8 KO) UD 10 Ring #9 Jr Lightweight Xavier Martinez (17-1, 11 KO). Oklahoma, USA.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – January:

Light Heavyweight – Eleider Alvarez (Ring #4) was removed due to inactivity. Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Welterweight – Viktor Postol (Ring #4) was removed due to inactivity. Sandor Martin (39-2, 13 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Lightweight – Ring #9 Xavier Martinez removed after losing to Ring #10 Robson Conceicao. Samir Ziani (33-3-1, 8 KO) entered at #10.

Featherweight – Gary Russell Jr (31-2, 18 KO) returned at #6 following a 23 month layoff. Russell’s return forced (former Ring #10) Tugstsogt Nyambayar to be removed.

February 2022

2/2 – Former Heavyweight Champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in the Ukraine reserve Army as Russia has sent tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine border in recent weeks, setting up a possible invasion.

2/5 – Ring Magazine #5 rated Jr Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO) went up TWO divisions and won the vacant WBC Jr Bantamweight title over Ring #6 Jr Bantamweight Carlos Cuadras (39-5-1, 27 KO) via 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 117-110 twice (Steve Morrow, Dennis O’Connell) and 115-112 (Barry Lindenman). Rodriguez, a southpaw, scored a knockdown within the first minute of round 3 with a right uppercut to the chin. Cuadras was up before referee in charge Chris Flores began the count after instructing Rodriguez which corner to go to. Rodriguez was originally scheduled to appear on the undercard in a 10 round Flyweight bout, but agreed to move up in weight on less than a weeks notice (January 30) to step in for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who fell ill and was forced to withdraw on January 26. The 22 year old Rodriguez became the first boxer born in the 2000’s to win a World Title. The 33 year old Cuadras entered with more championship rounds fought than Rodriguez had total rounds fought! Promoter: Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn). Venue: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Broadcast: DAZN.

2/6 – In an immediate rematch from their close encounter last February, IBF Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #6) Rene Mark Cuarto (20-2-2, 11 KO) again won a tight decision over Ring #7 Pedro Taduran (14-4-1, 11 KO) via majority technical decision by the scores of 66-64 (Nic Banal), 65-64 (Silvestre Abainza), and 65-65 (Brembot Dulalas). The fight was stopped early in round 7 due to a cut on the forehead of Taduran caused by an accidental clash of heads. Cuarto dropped an off balance Taduran in the round 2 from a left hook to the chin and again in round 6, also from a left hook to the chin (could have been ruled a slip), but was also deducted two points after an intentional head butt in round 3. It was the first defense for Cuarto. Promoter: MP Promotions. Referee: Danrex Tapdasan. Venue: Digos City Gymnasium, Digos City, Davao del Sur, Philippines.

2/6 – Former IBF Lightweight Champion Robert Easter was shot three times and underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments after being robbed (2 gold chains, 3 diamond rings, 1 cell phone) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Serious injuries were avoided. Now competing in the Jr Welterweight division, Easter is expected to fully recover.

2/10 – WBA Jr Lightweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez (Ring Magazine #6) was forced to withdraw from his upcoming title defense vs Ring #5 Chris Colbert, scheduled for February 26th, due to contracting Covid.

2/11 – WBC Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Jermall Charlo was arrested in Fort Bend County, Texas and charged with felonious assault of a family member. The alleged incident took place last September. Charlo was also arrested last August (theft), but that case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

2/15 – The Ring Magazine celebrated 100 years! The first issue was dated February 15, 1922.

The first issue of The Ring Magazine

2/16 – WBO Jr Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Brian Castano suffered a slight right bicep tear and was forced to postpone his upcoming rematch for the undisputed Jr Middleweight Championship against Ring/WBC/IBF/WBA Champion Jermell Charlo, which was scheduled for March 19th. Castano reportedly suffered the injury two weeks ago during a sparring session and is expected to be sidelined for a month. They originally fought to a highly disputed draw last July. The General consensus was that Castano deserved the victory.

2/17 – Ring/IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Mairis Briedis was forced to postpone his defense vs Jai Opetaia after contracting Covid-19. The bout had been scheduled to take place on April 6 in Opetaia’s native Australia.

2/26 – Undisputed Jr Welterweight World Champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) won a highly controversial split decision over unrated Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KO) by the scores of 114-111 (Ian John-Lewis), 113-112 (Victor Loughlin), and 112-113 (Howard Foster). Taylor was defending for first time as undisputed Champion and 4th time overall. The contest was originally scheduled for December 18th, but postponed due to a Taylor knee injury during training. Catterall scored a knockdown in round 8, but was also docked a point for excessive holding in round 10. Taylor dealt with two cuts by his left eye and had a point deducted after round 11 due to landing a punch after the bell. It was an extremely tough fight to score and watch as there was more holding and clenching throughout than toe-to-toe combat, forcing referee in charge Marcus McDonnell to get involved more often than not. It was a homecoming fight for Taylor in front of a sold out crowd of 12,101. Majority of media had Catterall winning an extremely close contest that easily could have gone either way. The British Boxing Board of Control would investigate the scoring, but found no foul play. TV: ESPN+. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

2/26 – IBF Jr Bantamweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #4) Jerwin Ancajas (33-2-2, 22 KO) was vying for his 10 successful title defense, but lost a 12 round unanimous decision against unrated Fernando Martinez (14-0, 8 KO) by the scores of 118-110 (David Sutherland, Steve Weisfeld) twice and 117-111 (Max DeLuca). Ancajas was taking so many shots his corner nearly stopped the fight after round 9. Martinez landed 421 power shots, which set a CompuBox record in the Jr Bantamweight division. Martinez landed 427 total punches and became the 47th boxer in CompuBox history to land more than 400 punches in a fight. Ancajas was one of the sport’s longest reigning champions, winning the title in 2016. Martinez was fighting in the USA for the first time. The fight was a candidate for ‘Upset of the Year’. Referee: Jack Reiss. TV: Showtime. Promoter: PBC. Venue: Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

2/27 – WBO Cruiserweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KO) won a 12 round unanimous decision over Ring #8 Michal Cieslak (21-2, 15 KO) by the scores of 117-110 (Bob Williams), 116-111 (Leszek Jankowiak), and 115-112 (Bence Kovacs), making the 2nd defense of his title. Okolie scored a knockdown in round 5 in what was otherwise a fight filled with holding and hitting behind the head. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Matchroom. Referee: Michael Alexander. Venue: 02 Arena, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom.

2/28 – All four sanctioning organizations come together and announced that there will be no sanctioned boxing matches in Russia due to their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Other notable fights in February:

2/5 – Ring #7 Middleweight Chris Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KO) UD 12 Ring #10 Middleweight Liam Williams (23-4-1, 18 KO).  Cardiff, Wales.

2/5 – Former WBA/WBC Welterweight Champion (unrated Ring due to inactivity) Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO) UD 12 Ring #6 Jr Welterweight Mario Barrios (26-2, 17 KO). Thurman returns after a 31 month layoff (hand surgery/pandemic). WBC semi-final Welterweight eliminator. Nevada, USA.

2/5 – WBA Featherweight Champion (unrated Ring due to inactivity) Leo Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KO) UD 10 unrated Keenan Carbajal (23-3-1, 15 KO). Santa Cruz returning from a 16 month layoff. Fight was held at Jr Lightweight. Santa Cruz hadn’t fought or defended his featherweight title since February 2019! Nevada, USA.

2/12 – Ring #5 Super Middleweight John Ryder (31-5, 17 KO) SD 12 unrated (inactivity) Daniel Jacobs (37-4, 30 KO). WBA eliminator. Decision could have gone either way. London, England.

2/19 – Kell Brook (40-3, 28 KO) TKO 6 Amir Khan (34-6, 21 KO). Longtime British rivals finally fought at a catch weight of 149 pounds. Fight in the making for more than a decade. Khan had been idle for over 30 months. Brook had been idle for over 14 months.  Manchester, England.

2/19 – Ring #4 Middleweight Jaime Munguia (39-0, 31 KO) TKO 3 unrated D’Mitrius Ballard (21-1-1, 13 KO), Tijuana, Mexico.

2/19 – Unrated Zaur Abdullaev (15-1, 9 KO) TKO 12 Ring #8 Lightweight Jorge Linares (47-7, 29 KO). WBC semi-final Lightweight eliminator. Ekaterinburg, Russia.

2/19 – Unrated Angel Rodriguez (20-1, 10 KO) SD 12 unrated Mark Urvanov (20-3-1, 10 KO). WBA Jr Lightweight eliminator. Ekaterinburg, Russia.

2/26 – Unrated Hector Luis Garcia (15-0, 10 KO) UD 12 Ring #5 Jr Lightweight Chris Colbert (16-1, 6 KO). WBA Jr Lightweight eliminator. Garcia took the fight on a few weeks notice. Upset of the Year contender! Nevada, USA.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – February:

Cruiserweight – Ring #8 Michal Cieslak removed after losing to Ring #3 Lawrence Okolie. Richard Riakporhe (13-0, 9 KO) entered at #10.

Middleweight – Ring #10 Liam Williams removed after losing to Ring #7 Chris Eubank Jr. Felix Cash  (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #10.

Welterweight – Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO) returned at #6 following a 31 month layoff. Thurman’s return forced (former Ring #10) Cody Crowley to be removed.

Jr Welterweight – Ring #6 Mario Barrios removed after moving up to Welterweight. Montana Love (17-0-1, 9 KO) entered at #10. Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KO) entered at #4 following his disputed loss to Ring Jr Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor. Gary Antuanne Russell (15-0, 15 KO) entered at #9 following his stoppage of unrated Viktor Postol. Catterall’s entrance forced Love to be removed. Russell’s entrance forced (former Ring #9) Sandor Martin to be removed.

Lightweight – Ring #8 Jorge Linares removed after being stopped by unrated Zaur Abdullaev. William Zepeda (25-0, 23 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Lightweight – Hector Luis Garcia (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #8 following his win over #5 Chris Colbert, who was removed.

Jr Featherweight – Luis Nery (32-1, 24 KO) entered at #10 following his win over previously undefeated Carlos Castro. Nery’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Ryosuke Iwasa to be removed.

Bantamweight – Ring #7 Guillermo Rigondeaux removed after losing to unrated Vincent Astrolabio, which resulted in Astrolabio (17-3, 12 KO) to enter at #10.

Jr Bantamweight – Ring #5 Jr Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO) entered at #6 following his win over Ring #6 Jr Bantamweight Carlos Cuadras. Fernando Martinez (14-0, 8 KO) entered at #4 following his win over #4 Jerwin Ancajas. Rodriguez’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Pedro Guevara to be removed, while Martinez’s entrance forced the removal of Cuadras (who had been dropped to #10).

March 2022

3/1 – Three of the four major sanctioning organizations (IBF/WBO/WBC) issued a joint statement in agreeing they will not certify any championship fights involving boxers from Russia or Belarus while the invasion of Ukraine continues.

3/2 – Former Bantamweight World Champion Robert Cohen passed away at the age of 91. He won the vacant title in 1954 and fought to a draw in his first defense and was KO’d in his second defense in 1956. Cohen retired with a career record of 36-4-3, 14 KO’s.

3/2 – IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Oleksandr Usyk and Ring Magazine #2 Lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko have joined the Klitschko brothers in recent days in taking up arms and joining the Ukranian army as Russia continues their invasion.

3/3 – The European Boxing Union announced it will no longer sanction title matches that include boxers from Russia or Belarus until further notice while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to take place.

3/4 – Former Ring/WBA/WBO Jr Featherweight World Champion and two-time Olympic Bantamweight Gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux suffered a cooking accident in his home when a pressure cooker exploded near his face resulting in his corneas being burned. The former Champion and all-time great Olympian is currently 80 percent blind, but there’s hope he will be able to recover.

3/7 – Former WBA Flyweight Champion Berkrerk Chartvanchai passed away at the age of 77. He won the title in 1970 and lost it in his first defense six months later. Chartvanchai retired with a record of 29-8-3, 6 KO.  

3/8 – Ron Stander, who challenged Joe Frazier for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1972 passed away due to complications from diabetes. He was 77 years old and retired with a record of 37-21-3, 28 KO’s.

3/10 – The British Boxing Board of Control downgraded judge Ian John-Lewis from an A Star Class to A Class official after reviewing and hearing the explanation of his absurd 114-111 scorecard he turned in favoring Josh Taylor over Jack Catterall on February 26th for the undisputed Jr Welterweight Championship of the World.

3/15 – Ring Magazine #5 Welterweight Virgil Ortiz Jr was hospitalized (rhabdomyolysis) and forced to withdraw from his fight against Michael McKinson, scheduled for March 19th.

3/18 – IBF Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Gennadiy Golovkin filed a lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions for no less than $3 Million claiming interest owed from late payment regarding his rematch against Canelo Alvarez in 2018.

3/19 – WBC Jr Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12 KO) lost his title in an immediate rematch against Ring #3 Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11 KO) after getting knocked out at 1:11 of round 3. Yabuki was dropped hard by a right hand and while he did beat the count, referee in charge Michiaki Someya ruled him unable to continue. Scores at the time of the stoppage were 20-18 (Kazunobu Asao) and 19-19 twice (Hisatoshi Miyazaki, Masahiro Noda). Teraji originally won the WBC title in 2017 and defended it eight times before being stopped by Yabuki in September of 2021 in a fight that was a contender for upet of the year. Teraji’s loss in that initial encounter has also been attributed at least in part to the effects suffered from contracting Covid in the months leading up to the fight. TV: None. Promoter: Masato Yamashita. Venue: City Gym, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan.

3/19 – IBF Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Sunny Edwards (18-0, 4 KO) defended his title a second time after a 12 round unanimous decision over unrated Muhammad Waseem (12-2, 8 KO) by the scores of 116-110 (Deon Dwarte) and 115-111 (Leszek Jankowiak, Jerome Lades) twice. Waseem had point deductions in rounds 6 and 7. Referee: Benny Decroos. TV: Dazn. Promoter: Probellum. Venue: Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

3/20 – Ring Magazine #2 Lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko withdrew from the June 5th Lightweight Championship fight against Ring/WBA/WBO/IBF Champion George Kambosos. Lomachenko chose to remain in the Ukraine to assist in the defense of his country after the  invasion by Russian troops last month. Contracts hadn’t been signed for the fight to take place.

3/22 – IBF Jr Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Felix Alvarado has vacated his title and will move up to the Flyweight division after failing to secure a unification bout with the other Jr Flyweight title holders. Alvarado won the vacant title in 2018 and made two defenses.

3/26 – IBF Featherweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #5) Kiko Martinez (43-11-2, 30 KO) lost his title in his first defense after getting stopped by Ring #3 Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KO) at 2:12 of round 7. Martinez was dropped in round 1 by an overhand right and was cut over both eyes and his forehead by head clashes as the fight progressed. Referee in charge Marcus McDonnell called a halt to the contest after Warrington forced Martinez to the ropes and unleashed a flurry of punches that Martinez did not respond to. Overall, Warrington landed 155 shots compared to just 65 for Martinez. Warrington suffered a broken jaw and broken left hand. This was a rematch from a 2017 regional title bout that Warrington also won, however by a much closer majority decision. Warrington became a two-time IBF Featherweight Champion. Judges: Phil Edwards, Alejandro Lopez, Don Trella. TV: Dazn. Promoter: Matchroom. Venue: First Direct Arena, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.

3/28 – WBA President Gilberto Mendoza announced that his organization will sanction the upcoming Light Heavyweight Championship fight between WBA Champion Dmitry Bilov and undisputed Super Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez, scheduled to take place May 7th. There had been pressure to not allow fighters from Russia to compete due to their countries unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Mendoza announced that his organization will stand by the other sanctioning organizations in not sanctioning any bouts that occur in Russia.

3/29 – WBC Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart aka Panya Pradabsri (38-1, 23 KO) won a 12 round unanimous decision over Ring #3 Wanheng Menayothin aka Chayaphon Moonsri (55-2, 19 KO) with all three judges (Carlos Costa, Pongpan Rattanasutorn, Visuth Yingaupagarn) agreeing on 117-111 scorecards. The bout was originally scheduled for January 25th, then March 1st. This was a rematch from Freshmart’s upset win in November 2020 which ended Menayothin’s reign of 14 defenses that began in 2014. Referee: Thawuth Pluemsamran. Promoter: Piyarat Vachirarattanawong. Venue: City Hall Ground, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand.

Other notable fights in March:

3/4 – Ring #2 Jr Welterweight Jose Ramirez (27-1, 17 KO) UD 12 Ring #9 Jr Welterweight Jose Pedraza (29-4, 14 KO). WBC eliminator. California, USA.

3/5 – Ring #2 Jr Bantamweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KO) UD 12 WBC Flyweight Champion (Ring #1 Flyweight) Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14 KO). Gonzalez was originally scheduled to face rival Juan Francisco Estrada a third time (also a direct rematch when Estrada was gifted a decision) for the WBA & Ring Jr Bantamweight Championship last October, but postponed due to Gonzalez contracting Covid. This time Estrada was forced to pull out on January 25 due to Covid. Martinez was scheduled on the undercard and agreed to move up in weight and step in on January 26. Gonzalez was only a slight favorite entering this contest, but put on a dominating performance, arguably only losing the first round. Gonzalez remains the only boxer in history to win titles at Strawweight, Jr Flyweight, Flyweight, and Jr Bantamweight. Despite moving up in weight, Martinez came in 1.5 pounds heavy. California, USA.

3/12 – WBA ‘regular’ Featherweight Champion (Ring #7) Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KO) TKO 12 unrated Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KO). The fight was awarded The Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year! Round 12 was also a contender for Round of the Year! Wood was down in round 1 and trailed 105-102 and 104-103 twice on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Conlan was down in round 11 and knocked out of the ring to end the contest. Nottingham, England.

3/18 – Ring #9 Jr Lightweight O’Shaquie Foster (19-2, 11 KO) UD12 unrated Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (18-1, 10 KO). WBC eliminator. Dubai, UAE.

3/26 – Ring #5 Jr Middleweight Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KO) UD 12 unrated Terrell Gausha (22-3-1, 11 KO). Tszyu made his American debut and survived a first round knockdown. Tszyu was risking his status as WBO #1 mandatory.Minnesota, USA.

3/26 – Unrated Jeremia Nakathila (23-2, 19 KO) TKO 6 Ring #2 Jr Lightweight Miguel Berchelt (38-3, 34 KO). Fight was contested in the Lightweight division. Upset of the year contender. Nevada, USA.

3/26 – Unrated Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KO) TKO 5 unrated Lee Selby (28-4, 9 KO). IBF Lightweight eliminator. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

3/26 – Unrated Carlos Canizales (24-1-1, 18 KO) KO 4 unrated Ganigan Lopez (37-12, 19 KO). WBA Flyweight eliminator. Coyoacan, Mexico.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – March:

Cruiserweight – Ring #5 Kevin Lerena removed after moving on to the Heavyweight division. Chris Billam-Smith (14-1-0, 10 KO) entered at #10.

Jr Welterweight – Ring #9 Jose Pedraza removed after losing to Ring #2 Jose Ramirez. Sandor Martin (39-2, 13 KO) entered at #10.

Lightweight – Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KO) entered at #10 after stopping unrated former IBF Featherweight Champion Lee Selby. Lemos’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) William Zepeda to be removed.

Jr Lightweight – Ring #2 Miguel Berchelt removed after moving up to the Lightweight division. Eduardo Ramirez (26-2-3, 12 KO) enters at #10.

Featherweight – Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KO) entered at #10 following his stoppage loss to Ring #7 Leigh Wood. Conlan was ahead on the cards at the time of the last round stoppage and clearly showed he should be in the Top 10 of the division. Conlan’s entrance forced (former Ring #10) Xu Can to be removed.  

Jr Flyweight – Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11 KO) moved up to Ring #1 from #3 following his third-round stoppage over Ring #2 Masamichi Yabuki in their rematch. Ring #7 Agustin Gauto removed after being stopped by unrated darkhorse Miel Fajardo in two rounds. Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0, 9 KO) enters at #10.

April 2022

4/5 – Former IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby (28-4, 9 KO) announced his retirement. Selby won the title in 2015 and made four successful defenses.

4/5 – Former WBC Bantamweight Champion Nordine Oubaali (17-1, 12 KO) announced his retirement at the age of 35. Oubaali won the vacant title in 2019 before making two successful defenses. His lone defeat came in his final fight against future IBHOF inductee Nonito Donaire.  

4/9 – IBF Middleweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Gennadiy (GGG) Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO) defended his title for the second time while adding another title after stopping WBA Middleweight World Champion (Ring #5) Ryota Murata (16-3, 13 KO) at 2:11 of round 9. GGG looked sluggish early on as he entered after nearly a 16 month layoff. (Fight was originally scheduled for December 29th, but postponed due to Covid outbreak in Japan). Murata had been inactive for 28 months! While slower on his feet and unable to avoid Murata’s body attack, the power was still there for GGG, who turned 40 the day before the fight and showed he was clearly on the back end of his career. It was a back and forth affair until about a minute into round 6 when a huge right hand knocked Murata’s mouthpiece out. While the fight continued, GGG’s power was starting to have an effect. Murata, also making his second title defense, appeared out on his feet in the first minute of round 9, but GGG fatigued and could not finish the Japanese champion at that time. Murata re-gained his composure and was starting to have some success of his own when GGG landed a flush counter right hand upstairs that turned Murata around and after a slight delay put him on the canvas. Murata’s corner had seen enough and entered the ring as referee in charge Luis Pabon called a halt to the contest. It was the first time Murata had been stopped in his career. GGG led on the cards at the time of the stoppage 79-73 (Robert Hoyle), 78-74 (Glenn Feldman), 77-75 (Alex Levin). Round 9 was a candidate for ‘Round of the Year’. The win would set up the trilogy with rival Canelo Alvarez for September. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Teiken Promotions. Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan.

4/9 – WBO Flyweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #3) Junto Nakatani (23-0, 18 KO) defended his title for a second time after stopping Ring #10 Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7 KO) at 2:20 of round 8. Nakatani had won every round on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage (70-63 – Nobuto Ikehara, Toshio Sugiyama, Kazutoshi Yoshida). Referee: Katsuhiko Nakamura. TV: DAZN. Promoter: Teiken Promotions. Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan.

4/11 – Boxing advisor (including to Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Jr Lightweight Champion Josh Taylor) Daniel Kinahan was sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for criminal activity that includes cocaine distribution into Ireland and the UK. Kinahan has also been linked to promotional companies MTK Global and Probellum.

4/12 – Jolene Mizzone, President of boxing operations at Main Events, moved on to become a boxing manager for the newly founded Fighters First Management.

4/16 – WBC/IBF Welterweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) Errol Spence (28-0, 22 KO) added a third title with relative ease after stopping WBA Champion (Ring #3) Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KO) at 1:44 of round 10 in front of 39,946 fans at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The only time in the fight that Ugas had success was a brief moment in the middle of round 6 when an uppercut caused Spence to lose his mouthpiece. Instead of performing the old adage of “protect yourself at all times,” Spence looked down at the mouthpiece on the mat thinking referee in charge Laurence Cole would pause the action and Ugas took advantage with a huge shot that backed Spence into the ropes that could have been called a knockdown due to the ropes holding him up. After re-gaining the mouthpiece, Spence showed no ill effects and won the rest of the round. After round 7 Ugas right eye was swelling to the point that the ringside doctor checked on it in between rounds, but allowed the action to continue. By round 10 it was clear that Ugas had no vision in his right eye and the doctor was again called in to check on Ugas and recommended the fight be stopped. Ugas would be hospitalized with a broken orbital bone. Spence landed 216 total shots, while Ugas landed just 96. The 216 punches landed were the most ever by a Ugas opponent. Spence led on all three cards at the time of the stoppage by the scores of 88-82 twice (Tim Cheatham, Glenn Feldman) and 88-83 (Steve Weisfeld). Round 6 was a candidate for ‘Round of the Year’. In the post fight interview Spence finally called out Ring #1 Welterweight (WBO Champion) Terence Crawford in a fight that has been brandied about for the last few years and would crown a Ring Magazine Champion as well as mark the first undisputed Welterweight Champion during the four belt era. This was the 6th defense of the IBF title and 2nd defense of the WBC title for Spence, while Ugas was making the 1st defense of the WBA title. Spence was fighting for the first time in 16 months after having surgery on his eye for a detached retina last August. TV: PPV. Promoter: Tom Brown (PBC). Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA.

4/18 – Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum, who is 90 years old, announced he has covid and won’t be able to attend the upcoming Heavyweight Championship fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, scheduled for April 23rd at Wembley Stadium in the UK.

4/18 – Former Jr Welterweight Champion Amir Khan was robbed of his watch at gunpoint in East London.

4/19 – Bob Yalen, MTK Global CEO, has resigned from his position due to personal reasons. Yalen is also a noted boxing historian and record keeper who is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June under the observer category.

4/19 – WBO Bantamweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #2) John Reil Casimero will not be allowed to defend his title, scheduled for April 22nd, against Paul Butler after the British Boxing Board of Control learned that Casimero was using a sauna to cut weight, which is disallowed under their medical guidelines. This fight was rescheduled from Last December after Casimero was forced to withdraw the day before the fight after being hospitalized (gastritis). Under the agreements set forth for the rescheduled contest, the WBO stated that if Casimero fails to weigh in under any circumstances, the title would become vacant. Casimero has 48 hours to “show cause” to the WBO as to why he shouldn’t be stripped of his title.

4/20 – Former Heavyweight Champion and living legend Mike Tyson was shown on video punching a passenger sitting behind him on a flight from California to Florida due to the allegedly drunk passenger harassing him prior. No charges were filed. 

4/20 – Boxing management and promotional company MTK Global announced they will cease operations by the end of the month following the fallout of from their prior association with Daniel Kinahan, which has led to other promoters severing ties with the company.

4/22 – WBO Strawweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #4) Masataka Taniguchi (16-3, 11 KO) successfully made the first defense of his title after stopping unrated Kai Ishizawa (10-2, 9 KO) at 2:11 of round 11. Taniguchi was in control throughout and led 99-91 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage. Ishizawa was 5 pounds over the weight limit and therefore unable to capture the title, even if he were to win the bout. This was a rematch from 2019, when Taniguchi won an 8 round UD. Referee: Michiaki Someya. Judges: Masakazu Murase, Masahiro Muroya, Katsuhiko Nakamura. TV: None. Promoter: Hideyuki Ohashi. Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

4/23 – Ring/WBC Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KO) knocked out Ring #4 Dillian Whyte (28-3, 19 KO) at 2:59 of round 6. The fight was one sided throughout with Whyte being cut above the right eye in round 4 from an accidental clash of heads. Fury finished his overmatched foe by landing a highlight-reel right uppercut to the jaw, sending Whyte to the canvas. Able to rise at the count of 8, Whyte, on shaky legs, stumbled into the ropes causing referee in charge Mark Lyson to wave the bout off. Fury landed 76 punches, while Whyte landed just 29 shots. The scorecards at the time of the stoppage read 50-45 (Robert Tapper), 49-46 (Guido Cavalleri), and an absurd 48-47 (Juan Carlos Pelayo). 94,000 fans witnessed the contest live, which set the European boxing record for the largest crowd ever attending a bout, while also setting the Wembley Stadium gate record for any event in its storied history. It was the second defense of both titles for Fury, who has also been the “Lineal” Heavyweight Champion of the World since 2015, after beating Wladimir Klitschko. Fury indicated he was going into retirement during his post fight comments. Knockout of the Year contender! TV: ESPN PPV. Promoter: Top Rank/Queensbury. Venue: Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, United Kingdom.

4/30 – WBO Jr Lightweight World Champion (Ring Magazine #1) Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KO) dominated WBC Champion (ring unrated) Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KO) via 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 118-109 twice (Dave Moretti, David Sutherland) and 117-110 (Tim Cheatham). With the win Stevenson not only became the first unified champion in the division since 2005 (Marco Antonio Barrera), but also claimed the vacant Ring Magazine title (1st since Manny Pacquiao after defeating Juan Manuel Marquez in their second fight in March of 2008). Stevenson scored a knockdown in round 6 following a pair of right hooks, the first sending Valdez stumbling into the ropes. Stevenson was never in any trouble and utilized his superior boxing ability to control the pace and distance of the fight. Despite the one-sided outcome, the bout was exciting with action throughout. Stevenson landed 189 punches, to Valdez’s 110, which were the most ever landed on Stevenson in his career. It was the first defense for Stevenson, while Valdez was making his second defense. Referee: Kenny Bayless. TV: ESPN. Promoter: Top Rank. Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.  

Other notable fights in April:

4/9 – Ring #5 Lightweight Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18 KO) UD 12 unrated Emmanuel Tagoe (32-2, 15 KO). Fight contracted at 139 pounds. San Antonio, Texas, USA.

4/9 – Ring #6 Jr Middleweight Sabastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KO) TKO 9 Ring #4 Jr Middleweight Erickson Lubin (24-2, 17 KO). WBC Interim Jr Middleweight title on the line. Round 7 was awarded the ‘Round of the Year’ by The Ring Magazine! Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

4/16 – Ring #10 Welterweight Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KO) TKO 2 Unrated Chris van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KO). WBA Continental Welterweight Title. Manchester, UK.

4/16 – Ring #7 Welterweight Eimantas Stanionis (14-0, 9 KO) SD 12 Ring #9 Radzhab Butaev (14-1, 11 KO). WBA Regular Welterweight title. Fight of the Year contender! Arlington, Texas, USA.

4/22 – Unrated Bantamweight Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KO) UD 12 Ring #10 Jonas Sultan (18-6, 11 KO). WBO interim Bantamweight Title. Liverpool, UK. Sultan late replacement for WBO Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero, who was not allowed to fight after violating British Boxing of Control medical guidelines for cutting weight.

New Ring Magazine Champions and newcomers in Top Ten – April:

Cruiserweight – Ring #5 Krzysztof Glowacki removed due to inactivity. Noel Gevor (26-2, 11 KO) enters at #10.  

Super Middleweight – Ring #8 Fedor Chudinov removed after losing to unrated Azizbek Abdugofurov. David Morrell (6-0, 5 KO) enters at #10.

Welterweight – Ring #2 Errol Spence overtook Terence Crawford for #1 after his stoppage win over #3 Yordenis Ugas.

Jr Lightweight – A new Ring Champion was crowned after (former #1) Shakur Stevenson defeated Oscar Valdez, who re-entered at #1 despite the loss.

Bantamweight – Ring #4 Nordine Oubaali removed after announcing his retirement. Jonas Sultan (18-5, 11 KO) enters at #10. Sultan’s stay didn’t last long after losing to Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KO) who enters at #10.

Flyweight – Ring #3 Junto Nakatani moved up to #1 after stopping (then #10) Ryota Yamauchi, who was replaced in the ratings by Angel Ayala Lardizabal (14-0-6). Lardizabel enters at #8 after beating #10 Cristofer Rosales.

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Ring City USA is the name of the boxing series that is being televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network and their last card of 2020 features a pair of undefeated prospects looking to take the next step into becoming household names and World Champions. 

The fight will take place outdoors in Los Angeles, California in the parking lot of the famed Wild Card Boxing Club. In one corner stands Charles “Bad News” Conwell, the 2016 USA Olympian from Cleveland, Ohio that boasts a perfect 13-0 record with 10 knockouts. In the opposite corner, Madiyar Ashkeyev, from Kazakhstan, who also boasts a perfect record of 14-0 with 7 knockouts.

This will be Conwell’s third fight of 2020 and Ashkeyev is fighting for the first time in over 13 months. While that should benefit Conwell, the fact that Ashkeyev trains in Oxnard, California with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, and Sergey Kovalev will no doubt have him fully prepared, despite the long layoff.

Conwell’s last fight was also against a fellow undefeated prospect as well as on a national stage, the main event of a Shobox card televised by Showtime. Conwell passed that with flying colors, scoring a ninth round knockout over Wendy Toussaint. While this is Conwell’s first pro fight in California, his storied amateur background has taken him across the globe.

Ashkeyev’s last fight ended via a stoppage after five rounds over late substitute Rodolfo Martinez in November, 2019.

He did fight four times in 2019 and while the combined record of his last five opponents had a winning percentage of 61%, two entered with more losses than wins in their career. For comparison’s sake, the combined record of Conwell’s last fight opponents had a winning percentage of 71% with none having a losing record.  

This marks the seventh time as a pro that Ashkeyev will fight in California.

Conwell is already ranked in the Top 10 in the IBF rankings, coming in at #8, while also being ranked #17 by the WBC, Ashkeyev is ranked #38 by the WBC.

This should be the toughest test in the pro ranks for each fighter with the winner looking to continue to make a statement into 2021!

In a battle of undefeated Heavyweight Champions, International Boxing Hall of Famer “Iron” Mike Tyson unified the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, and International Boxing Federation World titles after winning a 12 round unanimous decision over Tony Tucker by the scores of 119-111, 118-113, and 117-112 at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 1st, 1987. The 21 year old Tyson improved to 31-0, 27 KO’s, while the 28 year old Tucker dropped to 34-1, 29 KO’s.

International Boxing Hall of Famer and lineal Jr Lightweight World Champion Brian Mitchell made the second defense of the World Boxing Association title after stopping Francisco Fernandez at 1:06 of round 14 at the Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, in Panama City, Panama on July 31st, 1987. The 25 year old Mitchell improved to 31-1-2, 17 KO’s, while the 26 year old Fernandez dropped to 24-11-1, 21 KO’s.

weber_mike_vsOklahoma_090917 (5) TOP UNITS

Ohio State running back Mike Weber

Each year Phil Steele releases his unit rankings in his College Football Preview and given that I write the Big Ten team previews, I thought what better time to share a little insight on the reason why the units are ranked where they are.

14. Illinois Fighting Illini – Mike Epstein was Illinois leading rusher when a leg injury ended his season after five games last year. Ra’Von Bonner is the power back, while Reggie Corbin is the slasher. Epstein is a combination of the two. All three must prove they can remain healthy in the physical Big Ten.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes – Iowa has to replace two 1,000 yard rushers this year and every tailback on the roster is an underclassmen. Toren Young started one game and has power at 220 pounds. Ivory Kelly-Martin saw action in all 13 games as a true freshman and is a good change-of-pace for Young. This is a vastly inexperienced unit.

12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Jon Hilliman was added as a grad transfer after starting 29 games for Boston College. Despite being 225 pounds, Hilliman has good speed. Raheem Blackshear averaged 6.1 yards per carry as a true freshman last year and is quick and explosive.

11. Indiana Hoosiers – Morgan Ellison broke his left leg as a Sophomore and his right leg as a Junior in high school, which hurt his recruitment. He led the Hoosiers as true freshman last year with 704 yards and is naturally strong. Cole Gest provides the change of pace with great burst and explosion, while Mike Majette is a combination of the two.

10. Northwestern Wildcats – Northwestern is replacing their all-time leading rusher in 2018. Jeremy Larkin averaged 6.0 yards per carry last year and John Moten averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2016. Jesse Brown is similar in size to Larkin and provides track speed.

9. Purdue Boilermakers – Tario Fuller started the first three games in 2017 and averaged 6.1 yards per carry before an ankle injury ended his season. Markell Jones has rushed for over 500 yards in each of his three seasons and has excellent hands out of the backfield. DJ Knox returned from an ACL injury in 2016 to average 6.2 yards per carry in 2017.

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers – If this list only pertained to the starting running back, then Minnesota would be ranked higher. Rodney Smith followed up his 1,000 yard season in 2016 with 977 yards last year, battling thru a couple of concussions. With Shannon Brooks sitting this season out due to injury, Mohamed Ibrahim, Dominik London, and Jonathan Femi-Cole provide quality depth.

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers – Just how deep is the Nebraska running back unit? So deep that Devine Ozigbo, who has led the Huskers in rushing each of the last two seasons, will likely have three others in front of him for 2018! Greg Bell is the newcomer that was a two-time Juco All-American, Tre Bryant began last year as the starter before a knee injury ended his season after two games, and Mikale Wilbon is a multiple back that is also a receiving option.

6. Maryland Terrapins – After rushing for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman, Ty Johnson was the focal point for many defenses in 2017 as Maryland was devastated at the QB position. Lorenzo Harrison is elusive and powerful, while Anthony McFarland is fully healed from a high school injury that resulted in him taking a redshirt last year and has sprinter speed.

5. Michigan State Spartans – LJ Scott would’ve likely been an NFL draft pick in 2018, but opted to return to East Lansing for his Senior season. He’s a 230 pound bruiser. Connor Heyward is the son of the late “Iron Head” Heyward and has tremendous explosiveness and great hands. Weston Bridges brings a change of pace and has great vision, but can also run through would be tacklers.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions – Miles Sanders will have the difficult task of replacing Saquan Barkley as the feature running back, but is similarly built and is also a great receiving threat. True freshman Ricky Slade was ranked as the No. 3 running back in the 2018 recruiting class and has elite acceleration. Mark Allen is the veteran of the unit and will be the change of pace running back.

3. Michigan Wolverines – Michigan still ranks this high even after the recent news that Kareem Walker has decided to transfer to Juco. Karan Higdon earned Third Team Big Ten honors last year that can run inside or bounce outside. Chris Evans averaged over five yards per carry in 2017 and is the fastest of the running backs. O’Maury Samuels has great stop-start ability, and Berkely Edwards was added as a grad transfer that has excellent quickness.

2. Wisconsin Badgers – While Wisconsin just may have the Heisman Trophy winner for 2018 in Jonathan Taylor, this list is about the entire unit, not just the starter. Backup Bradrick Shaw is coming off an ACL injury, Taiwan Deal is coming off an ankle injury, and Chris James was limited to nine games last year and injured his ankle during spring practices.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes – No team in the Big Ten has more talent at running back than Ohio State. It can be argued that JK Dobbins and Mike Weber, who each has ran for over 1,000 yards in season, are the best combination in the nation. Add a pair of very highly touted true freshman to the mix along with Demario McCall, who will also play the H-Back position and it’s easy to see why this unit is ranked where it is.

International Boxing Hall of Fame member Dwight Muhammad Qawi won the World Boxing Association Cruiserweight title after stopping Piet Crous at 1:47 of round 11 at the Superbowl in Sun City, South Africa on July 27, 1985. The 32 year old Qawi trailed on one scorecard 96-98 and was tied on two at 95-95 and 96-96 at the time of the stoppage and improved to 24-2-1, 13 KO’s. The 30 year old Crous was making his third defense and lost for the first time, dropping his record to 23-1-1, 20 KO’s.

International Boxing hall of fame member Lupe Pintor made the sixth defense of his World Boxing Council Bantamweight Championship after stopping Jovito Rengifo at 1:21 of round eight at the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 26th, 1981. The 26 year old Pintor trailed on two of the scorecards, 66-67 twice and led on the third 67-66 at the time of the stoppage and improved to 46-5-1, 36 KO’s. The 24 year old Rengifo dropped to 28-3, 14 KO’s.

International boxing hall of fame member and World Boxing Association Bantamweight Champion Jeff Chandler made the third defense of his title after stopping Julian Solis at 2:58 of round seven at Resorts International Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 25th, 1981. This was a rematch from November of 1980 when Chandler beat Solis for the WBA crown. The 24 year old Chandler led on the scorecards 60-54, 59-57, and 58-57 at the time of the stoppage and improved to 26-0-2, 13 KO’s. The 24 year old Solis dropped to 22-2, 10 KO’s.

Photo Copyright: Matt Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications

Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke

Each year Phil Steele releases his unit rankings in his College Football Preview and given that I write the Big Ten team previews, I thought what better time to share a little insight on the reason why the units are ranked where they are.

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers – Not so fun fact: Minnesota hasn’t had a QB selected in the NFL draft since 1972. Of the Gophers six quarterbacks on their roster, not a single one has ever thrown a pass at the FBS level. I’m not suggesting that the Gophers won’t get production out of the unit, however their inexperience gives me no other choice but to rank them here.

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Not so fun fact: Rutgers has had NINE different offensive coordinators in NINE years! That’s no typo folks. The Knights will likely turn to Artur Sitkowski, a 6’5” true freshman with a cannon after Giovanni Rescigno and Johnathan Lewis combined to complete less than 50 percent of their passes last year.

12. Illinois Fighting Illini – Not so fun fact: Injuries and inconsistent play has resulted in Illinois using three QB’s each of their last two seasons. Cameron Thomas completed just 42 percent of his passes in four games late in the season as a true freshman last year, but showed promise and is a dual-threat. AJ Bush didn’t transfer from Virginia Tech for his final season to sit and will provide solid competition in fall camp.

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers – Fun fact: Tanner Lee was the first Nebraska QB to declare early for the NFL draft. Nebraska is shifting from a pro-style to an uptempo spread-option offense this season. While the quarterback room is inexperienced similar to Minnesota, the talent level is superior with true freshman Adrian Martinez, the No. 17 ranked QB in the 2018 class and redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia, the No. 9 ranked QB last year taking over.

10. Maryland Terrapins – Not so fun fact: In four of the last six seasons including three straight, injuries has forced Maryland to start three or more QB’s. Both Tyrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill showed playmaking ability in their brief stints last year before injuries ended their seasons. Veteran Max Bortenschlager showed improvement with each passing rep last year.

9. Indiana Hoosiers – Fun fact: Peyton Ramsey was the first Indiana freshman to throw for 300 or more yards since 2006. The aforementioned Ramsey showed he was more than capable to compete in the Big Ten last year. The Hoosiers also added Brandon Dawkins as a grad transfer from Arizona, who has 14 career starts with nearly 4,000 total yards (1582, 6.8 rush).

8. Purdue Boilermakers – Not so fun fact: Purdue has had a different QB start their opener for nine straight years. Not even a torn ACL could slow down Elijah Sindelar, who played thru the injury for final three and a half games last year. David Blough beat out Sindelar last year before an injury ended his season. He’s made 25 career starts.

7. Wisconsin Badgers – Fun fact: Wisconsin is the lone FBS school since 2000 with two QB’s that have completed 94 percent of their passes in a road game (Russell Wilson, Alex Hornibrook). Wisconsin QB’s are typically game managers. Alex Hornibrook is a perfect example of that and 2018 will be his third season as the starter. Jack Coan and Kare’ Lyles were both highly touted recruits.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes – Fun fact: JT Barrett was named the Big Ten’s QB of the year three times! It’s going to be weird watching Ohio State without JT Barrett under center, but Dwayne Haskins will allow the Buckeyes to throw the ball downfield more often with his rocket arm. Haskins proved more than adequate when he rallied Ohio State over arch rival Michigan in the Big House last year. Tate Martell was the No. 3 QB in the 2017 class and head coach Urban Meyer compares his running skills to Barrett.

5. Iowa Hawkeyes – Fun fact: Head coach Kirk Ferentz hired a full time QB coach for the first time in 2017. Nathan Stanley’s 26 touchdown passes last year were the most for an Iowa QB since 2002 and he joined Chuck Long as the only QB’s in school history with multiple five touchdown games. Peyton Mansell has shown steady improvement and true freshman Spencer Petras is 6’5”, 227 pounds and enrolled during the spring.

4. Northwestern Wildcats – Fun fact: Clayton Thorson increased his completion percentage from 50.8 percent in 2015 to 58.6 percent in 2016 and then again to 60.4 percent last year. Clayton Thorson flirted with declaring for the NFL draft before last years Music City Bowl before opting to return for his Senior season. He suffered a torn ACL in the bowl and was held out of spring, leading to more reps for Aidan Smith, Andrew Marty, and TJ Green.

3. Michigan State Spartans – Fun fact: Last year Brian Lewerke became just the third Big Ten QB in the last 20 years to throw for 400 or more yards in back-to-back games. Brian Lewerke is a dual threat and had the most total yards by a Sophomore in Michigan State history last season. Rocky Lombardi was said to be as far ahead mentally as any freshman QB in East Lansing and true freshman Theo Day was the No. 31 ranked QB in the 2018 class and enrolled during the spring.

2. Michigan Wolverines – Fun fact: Head coach Jim Harbaugh was the Big Ten Player of the year and finished third in the Heisman Trophy ballot in 1986. Shea Patterson was the No. 2 rated QB out of high school in 2016 and started 10 games in the SEC at Ole Miss the last two years. He was granted eligiblity this season and instantly makes the Wolverines a National Title contender. Backups Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffery, and Joe Milton were all very highly touted recruits.

1. Penn State Nittany Lions – Fun fact: Trace McSorley has thrown a touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games. This should come to no surprise, given my previous article stating that Penn State has the best QB room in the nation. McSorley is a bonafide Heisman contender and backup Tommy Stevens would be a starter at roughly 75 percent of the FBS programs.

International Boxing Hall of Fame member Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini made the first defense of his World Boxing Association Lightweight Championship after stopping Ernesto Espana at 2:59 of round six at Mollenkopf Stadium in Warren, Ohio on July 24th, 1982. A barrage of punches without any return fire led referee in charge Stanley Christodoulou to stop the contest. The 21 year old Mancini led on the scorecards 50-46 and 50-45 twice while improving to 24-1, 19 KO’s. The 27 year old Espana dropped to 35-5, 29 KO’s.