Pound for Pound List for December 2018
By ThePrizefighters.com staff
Here’s our last list of the year 2018. Some fighters have moved up and a few moved down. Once again Layla McCarter heads our list and we have two new additions to our Pound for Pound list.
- Layla McCarter – This year Layla McCarter fought overseas and was unable to obtain a fight against any top contender. She’s still feared and avoided despite her small size. The Las Vegas prizefighter had wins over Eva Bajic and Victoria Cisneros in stay busy fights. She’s been our pound for pound number one for the past nine years. No one has been able to prove us wrong. Nobody has been able to beat her in 11 years. McCarter has more boxing skills than any other woman fighting today. But time is running out on the road warrior who turns 40 next year. She needs a marquee fight so the world can see what separates her from the rest.
2. Cecilia Braekhus – The Norwegian queen had a busy 2018 with three wins. But I think her last fight proved that fighting European opponents is a waste of time. American prizefighters are vastly superior in the welterweight class and above. Braekhus should only compete against the American women from now on. She is very good but time is wasting for the extremely athletic champion. A match with Layla McCarter, Hanna Gabriels or Claressa Shields would be the most attractive fights. Braekhus seems to be focused on a sideshow fight with Cyborg. Oh well.
3. Claressa Shields – The Michigan prizefighter stormed the boxing scene in 2018 with four fights including the firefight with Hanna Gabriels. Shields is only 23 and is going to get much better. That’s a scary thought for future opponents. She has blazing speed and once she gets the hang of professional boxing, she will dominate. Dropping down in weight has proven to be great for female boxing. There’s more talent in the middleweights and super welterweights. If she fights Braekhus look out. Shields has moved into a different level this year. Once she learns how to harness that speed Shields will be unstoppable. Watching her perform in person was a revelation.
4. Amanda Serrano – The Puerto Rican southpaw bomber only had one fight and that was against a super lightweight in winning a sixth division world title. Now she’s looking to add a seventh in the super flyweight division. If she wants an attractive fight for the fans Serrano should fight Naoko Fujioka of Japan. That’s a fight worth watching. Both are pound for pound fighters. It’s a match that Japan would be interested in. The entire female boxing world would love to see it. Serrano has been fighting in MMA and looked rusty in her last boxing match. But she still has very polished fighting skills and a big heart. She recently signed a contract with DAZN so next year would be the time to make her move into superstardom.
5. Naoko Fujioka – Japan’s greatest female fighter wants a crack at Amanda Serrano. Fujioka has world titles in the super flyweight division that Amanda Serrano wants to add to her list. Fujioka has won two WBO titles and Serrano is looking to win a WBO title in the super flyweight division. It’s a match that can be easily made and would pit two female pound for pound fighters against each other. Fujioka will fight anyone at any time. She’s fearless. This past year she’s been training in Southern California with boxing guru Ben Lira who works alongside Abel Sanchez in Big Bear. Lira has been one of the best kept secrets but those in boxing circles know he taught the great Mariana Juarez and Lourdes Juarez. Now he’s honing Fujioka’s athletic prowess into a fighting machine.
6. Yesica Bopp – The Argentine speedster obliterated the competition this year with two wins by knockout. The only drawback for “La Tuti” is she has not fought outside of Argentina in years. She has a win over fellow Argentine Daniela Bermudez four year ago. Maybe they should fight again at a catch weight. Now in her 30s, Bopp is a talent hidden away in Argentina. She has remarkable athleticism and has developed her punching power. She told one of our writers that a fight in America would be a dream. There’s plenty of rising talent in the light flyweight division especially in California and Texas. Seniesa Estrada comes to mind. Bopp versus Estrada boggles the mind.
7. Daniela Bermudez – The Argentine boxer fought only once so far but it was a massive upset win over legendary fighter Marcela Acuna in a world title fight. She’s slated to fight in a couple of weeks against Mexican fighter Jasseth Noriega. Bermudez has a win over Mexico’s legendary Mariana Juarez that took place two years ago. Maybe a rematch is a possibility. Bermudez is rising up the ranks of this list and could possibly overtake Bopp. She’s very good and has won bantamweight and super bantamweight world titles. Remember her name.
8. Mariana Juarez – The Mexican queen of boxing was busy in 2018 and won four fights this year in defending the bantamweight world title. Unlike most Mexican fighters who only fight each other, Juarez fought and defeated Australia’s Susie Ramadan, Japan’s Terumi Nuki, Costa Rica’s Carolina Arias and Uruguay’s Gabriela Bouvier. That’s a true world champion. Juarez seems to be fighting at her best as a bantamweight. A super fight showdown against Jackie Nava was supposed to take place last month but now seems to be slated for early 2019. Both are 38 years old but capable of beating anyone in their division. The winner is the undisputed queen of Mexico.
9. Katie Taylor – This is Taylor’s first time on this list. Last year we felt the Irish fighter had not fought anyone of consequence until she fought Jessica McCaskill. Now that we know how good McCaskill is, Taylor deserves a spot on this list. She fights Eva Wahlstrom on Saturday. They have fought each other many times as amateurs but fighting 10 rounds is a lot different. Should be competitive. Taylor has speed and stamina and is slowly learning the pro game. If she passes Wahlstrom look for a number of big matchups that could possibly be set up including a bout with Delfine Persoon who has a lightweight world title. But first she has to beat Wahlstrom at Madison Square Garden.
10. Kenia Enriquez – The light flyweight with heavy hands and speed has become Mexico’s most avoided female fighter. Contractual problems kept her from fighting but she did have one bout. Last October, Enriquez nullified knockout puncher Norleidys Graterol of Venezuela for 10 rounds and won handily. Tijuana’s Enriquez has a lot going for her. She’s only 25 and has the itch to fight internationally. She’s not afraid to fight in Europe or Asia and welcomes a challenge. So far no one seems to want to challenge her in the light flyweight division. But her day will come.
11. Christina Hammer – Next spring the German middleweight gets her opportunity to prove she can hang with Claressa Shields. A sudden stomach illness prevented Hammer from fighting Shields this past November. But now they are set to clash in April. It should be one of the best fights next year. Shields won’t allow it to get boring. Hammer has solid European style boxing skills, height, speed and some power. She recently signed a promotional contract with Salita Promotions and definitely will meet Shields in the boxing ring. It’s an interesting contrast of styles and physiques. On paper Hammer does have some assets that could prove an obstacle for Shields. We shall see.
12. Jessica McCaskill – The Chicago prizefighter showed the world last year that despite only a handful of fights she could trade blows with anyone, even Katie Taylor. Though she lost the decision to Taylor, she then accepted a fight against the bigger Erica Farias of Argentina and cleaned her out. Triple uppercuts and straight ahead attacks proved too much for Farias who lost the super lightweight world title to McCaskill. What a performance. Farias had only lost to elite prizefighters Delfine Persoon and Cecilia Braekhus. McCaskill ambushed the longtime star from Argentina, now the world is aware of the fighter from Chicago. She’s not laying back, her name is being bandied about on an upcoming television tournament. Some say she could be fighting Layla McCarter or Katie Taylor in a rematch. Watch out for McCaskill, she brings a lot of excitement to the sport.