Only a few changes occurred in the female rankings for the best women boxers Pound for Pound list since my last posting. The most significant result came from the match between Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton and Celina “The Sweetheart” Salazar. This past August, in Cancun, Mexico, the San Antonio, Texas female fighter Salazar handily defeated Julaton by unanimous decision.
An addition to the list was Kaliesha “Wild, Wild” West who was omitted from the previous list after it was stated she was retiring from the sport of boxing. West recently denied she is retiring and is possibly fighting next month. She has been reinstated to the number 10 spot.
Welcome to the women’s best fighters pound for pound, Sept. 2013:
1. Layla McCarter – (35-13-5, 8 Kos) – Anybody rating a female boxer above McCarter just hasn’t been paying attention. The Las Vegas-based female boxer hasn’t lost a fight since 2007. Not to berate other journalists, but Cecilia Braekhus didn’t start boxing until 2009 and has not fought the same kind of competition as McCarter. The mop top McCarter is really a lightweight boxer who is now the current junior middleweight champion. The only way to prove Braekhus is the better fighter would be to meet in the boxing ring. McCarter is the most skillful female boxer without a doubt. I mean real boxing skills, not someone who simply throws a quick jab and combinations. McCarter has been the best female prizefighter for several years.
2. Jackie Nava – (28-4-3, 12 Kos) – Now 33, Nava is a skillful and strong 122-pound junior featherweight from Tijuana, Mexico who loves to put on the gloves. She has been out a full year due to giving birth. Don’t count out Nava. She has been back in the Tijuana boxing gyms and looks ready to climb back into the ring. Since her short departure there have been a number of changes in the junior featherweight division. She will be tested very quickly.
3. Melinda Cooper (22-2, 11 Kos) – Las Vegas can boast it has two of the best female boxers on the planet. Cooper has problems getting opponents whether at junior featherweight down to junior bantamweight which is her real weight class. Blessed with speed and power, the attractive female boxer has ring generalship that allows her to compete with anybody from 113 pounds to 122 pounds. She’s been a fixture in female boxing for more than a decade though she is only 28. Her last fight was a close win over Celina Salazar. People doubted Cooper’s abilities after the fight, but this past August, Salazar blitzed Ana Julaton and won every round according to the judges. Now that win has people wondering just how good is Cooper and for that matter, Salazar?
4. Alicia Ashley (19-9-1) – The New York southpaw has been fighting for years but has problems finding opponents in her own country. She has a hit and run style that is effective but not very crowd pleasing. Still, she wins and despite her age at 46, has the ability to give anyone a rough time in the ring. She has been boxing since 1999 and is the current WBC junior featherweight world titlist.
5. Cecilia Braekhus (22-0, 6 Kos) – Many web sites and boxing publications with little knowledge of the female boxing world rank the fighter from Norway as the best female fighter pound for pound. They are wrong. She has athletic ability but that’s never been enough in the sport of boxing. It’s a skill sport, not a track meet. She recently defeated Oxandia Castillo by technical knockout in Norway. But Castillo is only 19 and though the Dominican had defeated Hanna Gabriel, she was no way ready for Braekhus. It remains to be seen if Braekhus and her backers will put her in a fight against Layla McCarter. That would be a true test for Braekhus.
6. Ava Knight (12-1-3, 5 Kos) – The female boxer from Chico, California has proven in fights with Mariana Juarez, Kaliesha West and Arely Mucino that she deserves to be ranked in the top pound for pound list for female boxers. She can box or bang and is quickly becoming adept at setting up opponents. For any fighters looking to meet Knight, sooner would be better than later. In no time at all she will have even more experience and be even more difficult to fight. Knight could easily win world titles in the junior bantamweight, bantamweight and junior featherweight divisions.
7. Erica Farias (16-0, 9 Kos) – Strength is her primary weapon and she knows how to use it. Argentina’s Farias, 29, knows how to box but she loves to pressure her lightweight opponents and blast them with her strength. She’s a relentless boxer and has great stamina to go with her pursuit skills. Farias easily defeated Chika Mizutani this past June by unanimous decision. A match with McCarter would be very interesting.
8. Susie Ramadan (23-1, 8 Kos) – The bantamweight world champion has only one loss on her resume and that occurred in Mexico against Yazmin Rivas. Despite that loss, she was willing to re-engage with the Mexican female prizefighter in her home turf. That’s the kind of competitor instinct Ramadan shows time and time again. It’s too bad the boxing world outside of her home country Australia hasn’t seen her in action. At 34, she’s still in her prime.
9. Jessica Chavez (18-3-2, 4 Kos) – Mexico’s Chavez became the first junior flyweight to defeat Yesica Bopp and now looks to show the boxing world how she fares against the rest of the world. It’s difficult to top her performance against Bopp, but the Mexican from Mexico City has plenty of competition in her own country alone, especially if she moves up in weight. At 25, Chavez is now entering her prime in the boxing rich country.
10. Kaliesha West (16-1-3, 4 Kos) – The Southern California boxer was dropped from the list after various sources said she was retiring. That was an error. West just took a sabbatical while she participated in a CW television reality show called “Capture.” Now that filming is over, the former bantamweight world champion and now current junior featherweight titlist is returning to the ring soon.
11. Kina Malpartida (15-3, 4 Kos) – Peru’s Malpartida, 33, a tall junior lightweight, could easily win every fight by simply by using her jab. Malpartida is a very under-rated fighter and the first world champion from Peru. She’s been a fixture in 130-pound weight class and could easily move up to 135 pounds.
12. Yesica Bopp (24-1, 11 Kos) – Since losing to Jessica Chavez in Mexico, the petite Argentine boxer jumped back in the ring and defeated wily veteran Anastasia Toktaulova to retain the WBO and WBA junior flyweight world titles. Bopp, 29, has a lot of speed and movement and knows how to use it.
13. Anne Sophie Mathis (26-3, 22 Kos) – The hard punching Frenchwoman may not be the most nimble boxer on her feet, but if she connects, it usually means good night. Age hasn’t taken anything away from her power and though she lost to Holly Holm and Cecilia Braekhus, they were not one-sided as the scores suggest. The knockout of Holm in their first encounter is a highlight reel for female prizefighting.
Mariana Juarez, Celina Salazar, Melissa Hernandez, Katy Wilson Castillo, Daihana Santana, Monica Acosta, Shindo Go, Delfine Persoon and Ina Menzer.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV