The World Boxing Association (WBA) Classifications Committee announced its rankings for February, which includes the 15 best boxers in the 17 weight divisions. Only these boxers have the possibility of aspiring to a world title fight within their respective divisions.
The “Boxer of the Month” distinction was awarded to Rob Brant, who beat Khasan Baysangurov via technical knockout to retain his World Boxing Association (WBA) World Middleweight Championship.
Brant successfully defended his WBA title on home turf with a dominating performance that included two knockdowns before referee Mark Nelson stopped the bout at the 1:42 mark of the eleventh round. The bout took place at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota, to a sellout crowd for the hometown champion. It was aired live on ESPN via Top Rank promotions.
Brant followed up on one of the most surprising performances of 2018 when he scored a huge upset victory over Ryota Murata and capture the 160 pound WBA regular title. Just like in his title winning victory, he held a high work rate against Baysangurov to dominate nearly every round in the fight.
Brant scored knockdowns in both the second and eleventh rounds, with the Russian challenger showing toughness and heart at only 21 years of age as he dug deep to survive an early onslaught to press forward for the majority of the fight. His pressure was not enough to fool the champion, who was counterpunching and keeping a higher work rate to punish every step forward that Baysangurov took.
Congratulations to Rob Brant on retaining his WBA World Middleweight Title and earning the distinction of becoming the WBA boxer of the month.
The honorable mention for boxer of the month is Leo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz scored his 36th professional victory against a very game Rafael Rivera to retain his World Boxing Association (WBA) Super World Featherweight Title via unanimous decision.