Billy Joe Saunders On WBO 168-Pound Rankings, Gilberto Ramirez No Longer Listed As Champion

A world champion may have vacated his title from under the boxing world's nose.

In the latest WBO rankings, which were released over the weekend, it no longer lists Gilberto Ramirez as the organization's super middleweight champion. What's more is that Ramirez is placed at the top of the rankings at light heavyweight, where Sergey Kovalev is the current WBO champion.

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There is a clause in the WBO rules that allows a world champion to become the mandatory challenger of a world title in the next weight class up or down provided the champion meets certain criteria. Ramirez has held the WBO title since 2016 and has made five successful title defenses. Ramirez has publicly admitted that he aims to eventually move up to light heavyweight in order to challenge for a world title.

In related WBO super middleweight news, former middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is ranked No. 2 at 168 pounds, putting him in position to challenge for the presumably vacant super middleweight title. Saunders was recently installed as the mandatory challenger for the WBO middleweight title currently being held by Demetrius Andrade. Saunders lost the belt after failing a drug test weeks before a title defense against Andrade in Boston last year.

It should be noted that the sport of boxing is always changing and so there is no guarantee that these changes in the WBO rankings reflect what it is next for some of the fighters listed.

Those two changes in the rankings weren't the only ones for this month as nearly all of the divisions saw some movement across the board. Below are notable changes to the WBO rankings for the month of February:

Heavyweight:

  • Tyson Fury enters the rankings at No. 4
  • Otto Wallin (formerly No. 11) drops out of the rankings

Cruiserweight:

  • Artur Mann (formerly No. 4) drops out of the rankings
  • Andrzej Fonfara (formerly No. 10) drops out of the rankings1
  • Lawrence Okolie enters the rankings at No. 10
  • Huseyin Cinkra drops from No. 12 to No. 14
  • Aleksei Papin enters the rankings at No. 15

Light Heavyweight:

  • Gilberto Ramirez enters the rankings at No. 12
  • Sergey Kovalev (formerly No. 5) drops out of the rankings3
  • Anthony Yarde drops from No. 1 to No. 2
  • Joe Smith Jr. drops out of the rankings4
  • Eleider Alvarez enters the rankings at No. 125

Super Middleweight:

  • Billy Joe Saunders enters the rankings at No. 26
  • Roamer Angulo rises from No. 14 to No. 7
  • Chris Eubank Jr. (formerly No. 6) drops out of the rankings
  • Arthur Abraham (formerly No. 9) drops out of the rankings
  • Obodai Sai enters the rankings at No. 10
  • Emmanuel Martey (formerly No. 10) drops out of the rankings
  • Lennox Allen enters the rankings No. 15

Middleweight:

  • Billy Joe Saunders (formerly No. 1) drops out of the rankings
  • Steve Rolls enters the rankings at No. 15

Junior Middleweight:

  • Takeshi Inoue (formerly No. 3) drops out of the rankings
  • Sergio Garcia rises from No. 10 to No. 8
  • Frank Galarza enters the rankings at No. 15

Welterweight:

  • Giovanni Santillan drops from No. 6 to No. 13
  • Custio Clayton drops from No. 7 to No. 12
  • Sebastian Formella rises from No. 8 to No. 6
  • Karen Chukhadzhyan (formerly No. 14) drops out of the rankings
  • Demian Fernandez enters the rankings at No. 14

Junior Welterweight:

  • Hiroki Okada (formerly No. 2) drops out of the rankings
  • Josh Taylor (formerly No. 8) drops out of the rankings7
  • Logan Yoon (formerly No. 11) drops out of the rankings
  • Mikkel LesPierre rises from No. 14 to No. 10
  • Vergil Ortiz rises from No. 13 to No. 9
  • Robert Quaye enters the rankings at No. 13
  • Mario Matamba enters the rankings at No. 14
  • Sonny Frederickson enters the rankings at No. 15

Lightweight:

  • Teofimo Lopez rises from No. 10 to No. 5

Super Featherweight:

  • No changes

Featherweight:

  • Genesis Servania (formerly No. 1) drops out of the rankings
  • Shakur Stevenson enters the rankings at No. 6
  • Erick Ituarte drops from No. 8 to No. 13

Super Bantamweight:

  • Diego De La Hoya drops from No. 1 to No. 4
  • Albert Pagara rises from No. 2 to No. 1
  • Cesar Juarez rises from No. 7 to No. 5
  • Jesse Angel Hernandez (formerly No. 15) drops out of the rankings
  • Hiroaki Teshigawara enters the rankings at No. 15

Bantamweight:

  • Hiroaki Teshigawara (formerly No. 2) drops out of the rankings
  • John Riel Casimero enters the rankings at No. 7
  • Jason Moloney drops from No. 9 to No. 10
  • Stephen Young enters the rankings at No. 9
  • Ben Mananguil enters the rankings at No. 11
  • Antonio Vargas (formerly No. 15) drops out of the rankings
  • Carl Martin (formerly No. 10) drops out of the rankings

Super Flyweight:

  • Jose Martinez (formerly No. 2) drops out of the rankings
  • Andrew Moloney (formerly No. 13) drops out of the rankings
  • Froilan Saludar enters the rankings at No. 14
  • Antonio Nieves enters the rankings at No. 15

Flyweight:

  • Angel Moreno (formerly No. 11) drops out of the rankings
  • Wulan Tuolehazi enters the rankings at No. 14

Light Flyweight:

  • Jose Argumendo drops from No. 9 to No. 11
  • Rangsan Chayanram (formerly No. 12) drops out of the rankings
  • Nkosniathi Joyi enters the rankings at No. 10

Minimumweight:

  • Tatsuya Fukuhara (formerly No. 3) drops out of the rankings8
  • Alexis Diaz drops from No. 6 to No. 9
  • Samuel Salva enters the rankings at No. 5
  • Chaozhong Xiong enters the rankings at No. 6
  • Leroy Estrada (formerly No. 13) drops out of the rankings

Notes:

1Fonfara recently announced his retirement

2Ramirez was the former WBO super middleweight champion, but moved up in weight

3Kovalev won the WBO light heavyweight title on February 2

4Smith is scheduled to challenge for Dmitry Bivol's WBA light heavyweight title in March

5Alvarez lost the WBO light heavyweeight title on February 2

6Saunders was previously ranked No. 1 in the middleweight rankings

7Taylor is scheduled to challenge for Ivan Baranchyk's IBF junior welterweight title in May

8Fukuhara is scheduled to challenge for Wanheng Menayothin's WBC minimumweight title in March

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