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Divisional rankings: Featherweight

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Rojas' three-punch combination earns him a KO (1:07)

Jesus Rojas claims the interim featherweight world title with a brutal left hook that sends Claudio Marrero to the ground. (1:07)

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in the weight class he is ranked No. 1.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through Dec. 11. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

More divisional rankings


Heavyweight - Cruiserweight - Light heavyweight - Super middleweight


Middleweight - Junior middleweight - Welterweight - Junior welterweight


Lightweight - Junior lightweight - Featherweight - Junior featherweight


Bantamweight - Junior bantamweight - Flyweight - Junior flyweight/Strawweight


FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (UP TO 126 POUNDS)

1. Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1)

Santa Cruz, a former bantamweight titlist and junior featherweight titlist, claimed a vacant featherweight belt in August 2015 as he outpointed Los Angeles rival Abner Mares in a much-anticipated fight that lived up to its hype. Santa Cruz, who went on to split a pair of outstanding title fights with Carl Frampton, was supposed next face Mares in a mandatory rematch Oct. 7 on Showtime, but the deal fell apart and they instead faced separate opponents on the same Oct. 14 Fox card. Santa Cruz hammered wildly undeserving title challenger Chris Avalos in an eighth-round knockout to set up the rematch with Mares, who also won, in March.
Next: TBA vs. Mares

2. Carl Frampton (24-1)
Northern Ireland's Frampton was the consensus 2016 fighter of the year after unifying junior featherweight world titles against British rival Scott Quigg and then moving up in weight to outpoint Leo Santa Cruz in a fantastic fight as he claimed a featherweight title to become the first fighter from his country to win titles in two weight classes. Frampton and Santa Cruz met again in the much-anticipated rematch on Jan. 28 and produced another outstanding fight, but this time Santa Cruz got the nod by majority decision. Frampton's return on July 29 in a Belfast homecoming fight against Mexico's Andres Gutierrez was canceled the day before when Gutierrez slipped in the shower, suffered cuts and two chipped teeth and the fight was canceled. Not long after, Frampton cut ties with longtime manager Barry McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions and signed with Frank Warren. He had his first fight of the new deal on Nov. 18 in his hometown of Belfast and had a tougher-than-expected time in a decision win over Mexico's Horacio Garcia.
Next: TBA

3. Abner Mares (31-2-1)
Mares, who has won world titles in three weight classes, dropped a majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz for a vacant title in a terrific fight in August 2015. After a 16-month layoff because of two fight postponements, Mares returned to outpoint Argentina's hard-charging Jesus Cuellar and take his belt on Dec. 10 in an excellent fight that featured Mares scoring an 11th-round knockdown and outboxing the stronger Cuellar. Next up Mares was supposed to get his rematch with Santa Cruz on Oct. 7 on Showtime, but Santa Cruz's side insisted on an interim bout first. So he and Mares both fought and won on the same Oct. 14 Fox card with Mares punishing Andres Gutierrez in a one-sided 10th-round technical decision victory. Now Mares will get his rematch with Santa Cruz in March.
Next: TBA vs. Santa Cruz.

4. Oscar Valdez (23-0)
Valdez, Mexico's only two-time Olympic boxer, made his second title defense against mandatory challenger Miguel Marriaga, a tremendous puncher from Colombia, in the main event of an April 22 Top Rank PPV card. It was a terrific fight against a quality opponent. Valdez scored a 10th-round knockdown and won by unanimous decision. Then Valdez headlined a Top Rank ESPN card in his boyhood home of Tucson, Arizona, on Sept. 29 and exchanged knockdowns with the Philippines' Genesis Servania en route to another decision victory in yet another terrific action fight. There's been talk of a showdown with former titlist Carl Frampton (24-1) in 2018 in a can't-miss fight, but first Valdez will return to ESPN to defend his title against another opponent at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Next: March 10 vs. TBA

5. Gary Russell Jr. (28-1)
Russell is enormously talented and one of the fastest fighters in boxing, but he is wasting his career. Since winning a world title by one-sided fourth-round knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez in March 2015 he has fought only twice, defending against unimpressive opposition. He smoked Patrick Hyland in the second round of a blatant mismatch in April 2016 and then scored a one-sided seventh-round knockout of interim titlist and mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon on May 20. This will be the third year in a row in which Russell fights only once.
Next: TBA

6. Lee Selby (26-1)
Wales' Selby cruised to a lopsided unanimous decision against mandatory challenger Jonathan Victor Barros, of Argentina, on July 15 and then made defense No. 4 against Mexico's unknown and untested Eduardo Ramirez (20-0-3) on Dec. 9. Ramirez failed to make weight so he couldn't win the belt, but no matter. Selby won a unanimous decision in a solid fight to set himself up for a mandatory defense against Josh Warrington (26-0).
Next: TBA vs. Warrington

7. Jesus Cuellar (28-2)
Argentine slugger Cuellar made his second defense in December 2015 against Puerto Rico's Jonathan Oquendo, whom Cuellar easily outpointed in a snoozer because Oquendo ran for most of the fight. His third defense, against Abner Mares, was scheduled for June but postponed until Dec. 10, when Cuellar got dropped by Mares in the 11th round and lost a split decision and his belt.
Next: TBA

8. Nonito Donaire (38-4)
"The Filipino Flash" lost his junior featherweight title to Jessie Magdaleno in an outstanding fight in November 2016 on the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas undercard, but Magdaleno refused to give him a rematch and Donaire sought, and received, an early release from his Top Rank promotional contract. He signed with promoter Richard Schaefer's Ringstar Sports and moved back up to featherweight, where he once held a world title, and outpointed Mexico's Ruben Garcia Hernandez in San Antonio on Sept. 23.
Next: TBA

9. Scott Quigg (33-1-2)
Since losing his junior featherweight belt to Carl Frampton in their big 2016 unification fight and moving up to featherweight, England's Quigg has won three fights in a row, including a one-sided sixth-round knockout of Ukraine's Oleg Yefimovich in a title eliminator on Nov. 4 in Monte Carlo. The victory positioned Quigg a step closer to a shot at the winner of the rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.
Next: TBA

10. Jesus Rojas (26-1-2)
In the main event of a "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN" card on Sept. 15, Puerto Rico's Rojas knocked out the Dominican Republic's slick Claudio Marrero with a great left hook in the seventh round to win an interim world title in an excellent fight.
Next: TBA