Ho Chi Minh City – Monday, October 22, 2018
Vietnam has named an imposing line up for their battle with a crack Australian squad at the Victory 8 Fight Night in HCMC November 3rd. The Vietnam Boxing Federation (VBF), which administer to the successful running of the amateur version of the sport, have managed to lure some of the most talented boxers in the country for this historic event to be conducted under professional rules.
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by local promoter VSP Boxing. “We are super excited by the depth of talent in this Vietnam team, which have a huge challenge in store against an International squad loaded with national amateur and professional champions.” Headlining for Australia will be unbeaten wunderkid Mateo Tapia and 3x world champion Gretchen Abaniel. VSP Boxing spokesman Mr. Lim Song said it was a major coup to secure boxers of such high calibre and bring them to the country for the first time. “I’m a huge fan of Tapia and Abaniel. I have seen Gretchen Abaniel fight live in China and Korea and she hits fast and hard! Mateo Tapia is a freak. To do what he has done and he’s only 20 is quite amazing. He is definitely world class potential.”
Gretchen Abaniel matches up with national champion Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi whilst Mateo Tapia faces dangerous SEA Games winner Truong Dinh Huong in the main event. To add to the interest that these two showdowns are already creating, and in recognition of the task facing the local fighters, VSP Boxing has placed a bounty on the heads of the Aussie stars. “VSP Boxing is offering 400,000,00 dong ($20,000USD) to the Vietnamese warriors if they can conquer their opponents in these two bouts. This is the biggest prize ever offered in Vietnam, and believe me, we are more than happy to pay it!”
The Australian team will fly to Saigon next Tuesday in early preparation for the Victory 8 Fight Night. The talented young boxers are under the expert tutelage of Tony Del Vecchio and Tommy Mercuri. The two trainers are amongst the most respected in the industry. Del Vecchio won a world title in Japan recently with stable star TJ Doheny, whilst Mercuri is former trainer of international star Lenny Zappavigna. When told of the bounty placed on his top fighters’ heads, Del Vecchio was unfazed. “We train hard, and we train our fighters to be champions. All these kids have skills – and they all know how to dig deep and go to war! Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely excited to see Vietnam for the first time and we know the big challenge that lies ahead.” When questioned on the subject of the Vietnamese opponents he was circumspect “The job of coach Tommy Mercuri and myself is to give each of our team a solid preparation and game plan. We don’t want to elaborate publicly on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. I will say this though, from what i have seen, the Viet fighters are very strong and exciting to watch.” But when pushed on the topic, and asked had he been impressed by any members of this Vietnam team he offered “Clearly Truong Dinh Hoang and Nguyen This Tam are quality. TDH is a smart boxer that has timing, great chin and heavy hands. Nguyen Thi Tam medalled at ASIAD then won well in Budapest. She is fast and has a great work rate. But this Nguyen Van Duong – man, this kid has got me worried!” Tommy Mercuri interjected “ Nguyen Van Duong is dangerous. The kid is 56kg and is a beast! He is fast, he is strong – he can easily go pro! In fact I will go as far to say, if Vietnam legalises professional boxing, Nguyen Van Duong is maybe the hottest talent in the country!” High praise indeed from two world class trainers.
Victory 8 Saigon Fight Night will be shown live on HTV digital in Vietnam, and streamed internationally by Epicentre TV. http://www.epicentre.tv/events/victory-8-saigon-fight-night/
The full fight card for the event held at the Nguyen Du Stadium on Saturday November 3rd is:
Jayden Buan v Pham Duc Doan
Jye Lane Taylor v Nguyen Ngoc Hai
Tommy Mercuri v Vu Than Dat
Mickey Pengue v Tran Duc Tho
Gretchen Abaniel v Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi
Kamil Syed v Nguyen Van Duong
Linn Sandstrom v Nguyen Thi Tam
Mateo Tapia v Truong Dinh Hoang
Earlier this year we reported that Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] would be facing off with former world title challenger Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (24-5, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Komgrich Nantapetch, on November 21st in an IBF world title eliminator.
Sadly that bout has now been cancelled with Eaktwan suffering an injury and pulling out of the contest.
Whilst that's clearly bad news for the two fighters there could be a silver lining for Kuroda.
According to Japanese sources Kuroda's team will be in contact with the IBF to make their man the mandatory challenger and potentially even organise a mandatory title fight in the near future. That would see him face off with South African veteran Moruti Mthalane (36-2, 24), who won the title back in July when he narrowly beat Muhammad Waseem.
Sources are reporting that if the IBF do make Kuroda the mandatory challenger then his team will pursue getting the title bout as quickly as they can, though of course the IBF and Mthalane would have a say in when the bout would be taking place. If it did take place it would be Kuroda's second world title bout following a loss to the then WBA Flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this month we reported that Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) [船井 龍一] would be back in action on November 10th as part of an upcoming Dangan card, which will also feature two Japanese youth title fights. At the time it was unclear who Funai would be facing, with the most likely bout being a defense of his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title.
This morning however that changed with Dangan announcing that Funai's bout wouldn't be a regional title defense but instead an IBF eliminator against Mexican fighter Victor Olivo (15-2-1, 7), with the winner taking a huge step towards a showdown with Jerwin Ancajas.
At the time of writing Funai is the highest ranked IBF contender at #3 in the rankigs, with places 1 and 2 both being vacant, whilst Olivo is ranked #7 by the IBF.
Coming into this bout Funai is riding a 6 fight winning run, which has seen him win and defend the Japanese Super Flyweight title and win the WBO Asia Pacific belt and score wins over the likes of Kenta Nakagawa, Takayuki Okumoto and Warlito Parrenas. At the age of 33 he can ill afford a loss here. Olivo on the other hand is a 22 year old who lacks wins over notable names, but did give Milan Melindo trouble in 2015, in what has been Olivo's only bout outside of Mexico. His only other loss came last November in a close bout to Jose Brigel Quirino.
This is a huge opportunity for both fighters and both will go into the contest know that a world title is up for grabs for the winner and we expect that to show when they get in the ring together next month.
Earlier today we saw the official announcement that Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) had signed with PBC, as he begins to look towards the end of his career.
The Filipino, who had long been promoted by Top Rank, has recently been linked to fights with Floyd Mayweather Jr (50-0, 27) and Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24), both of whom are guided by PBC.
Ina press release Pacquiao stated that he was "very excited about this new chapter in my career", that he was "looking forward to a fresh start," and that he was "reinvigorated by the prospects of bringing up new fighters under the MP Promotions banner. My team will work closely with Al Haymon for the remainder of my career to deliver the most anticipated fights with the top PBC fighters. Those are the fights the fans want to see and the ones I want to have to close out my career."
With MP Promotions seemingly working with Haymon this deal should help give Pacquiao's fighters a huge opportunity to fight in some notable contests, though Haymon has often been criticised for not keeping his fighters active, something that could slow the rise of the MP prospects hoping to make this most of this deal.
At the moment the strong rumour is that Pacquiao will face Broner in January, and with this PBC deal now being complete that rumour seems almost certain to become a confirmed fight in the very near future.
This past weekend fight fans in had the chance to see Uzbek hopeful Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров] score the best win of his career, as he took out Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15) in just the second round.
Now we've been informed that the hope is for the 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner to fit in one more bout before the end of 2018.
At the moment the details are scarce, though the fighter has told Olamsport "I will make the end of the year, one more fight". Given the way he took out Lopez it's clear he's still going to be in great condition for a bout, if he keep in training until the bout.
If we're being honest we wouldn't be surprised to see an end of year opponent being a step backwards from Lopez, who has already recorded 3 wins this year and moved forward with what has actually been a very good year for the Top Rank promoted 27 year old.
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