In recent bouts former 2-weight world champion John Riel Casimero (26-4, 17) has failed to really put on a show, having some very messy and ugly fights. Today however he was in a very fan friendly contest, as Japanese visitor Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉] made the perfect foil for the Filipino.
The fight, as every Yamashita fight, started with the Japanese fighter pressing the action. That wasn't a great tactic however as it lead to openings for the crisp and sharp shots of Casimero, who found a home for his right hand, which he landed regularly in the opening round. The Filipino really began to light Yamashita on a regular basis through rounds 2 and 3 as Yamashita began to eat bombs from Casimero, and walk though them. It was a brave tactic from the Japanese visitor, but one that needed him to have his own success, especially in the exchanges which he continually lost.
Casimero began to slow down in round 4, but still landed the better shots, going to both head and body and landing some brutal uppercuts. It seemed like he couldn't miss, and really showed the difference in class between the two men. The slow down from the former champion continued in round 5, arguably Yamashita's best round, but he still found the openings for big right hands, and shined at the end of the round with a flashy combination that showed he still had more than enough in the tank.
To begin round 6 Casimero landed a huge bomb. Yamashita tried to come forward but lacked the life in his legs and was tagged again as Casimero seemed to show a bit of mercy before unleashing a nasty uppercut that seemed to badly damage Yamshita's nose. He some how stayed standing up until the referee waved the bout off, then stumbled a few moments later to his knees, later being given oxygen in his corner. He seemed fine, though a little shocked.
The win puts Casimero in the Bantamweight mix, as he pursues a third world title. For Yamashita his effort might see brought back to the Philippines to take on some of the other Filipino talent at Bantamweight, though he is still very popular on the domestic scene and will likely return to Japan for his next bout.
Once beaten Filipino Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-1, 7) continued to impress as he scored a brutal 3rd round KO against Thai visitor Yokthong KKP (18-6, 11), aka Watana Phenbaan, to extend his current winning streak to 7, with 4 successive stoppages.
The fight started with Penalosa looking for big shots but boxing smartly, using his brain to bring calculated pressure towards the Thai. Yokthong was showing his toughness, especially in round 2, but it seemed like Penalosa was landing big blows that were chipping away at the Thai and his resistance.
In round 3 Penalosa's shots were landing more freely and a brutal body shot sent the visitor down in agony, where he took the 10 count.
For Yokthong, who is known for losing for losing to the likes of Zou Shiming, Ryuji Hara and Wulan Tuolehazi, this is his 5th stoppage loss and it's hard to image the 24 year old Thai rebuilding to the point of making any kind of name for himself. As for Penalosa there has to be bigger targets than this, and hopefully he finds himself in the interesting regional title mix at Super Flyweight or Flyweight
One of the televised fights from ESPN5 today saw the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11) battle against Mexican visitor Marcos Cardenas (19-7-1, 15) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. On paper this looked like a really interesting match up on paper, and looked even better when the under-dog, Cardenas, looked to be the bigger man.
From the opening moments Penalosa looked the crisper, sharper, smarter and faster man. The opening round was however pretty competitive and very close. Through rounds 2 and 3 though we began to see Penalosa stamping his authority on the contest, backing the Mexican up and landing thudding shots to the head and body of Cardenas.
To his credit Cardenas came to fight and was throwing back, showing his toughness and trading shots, but he appeared to be getting methodically broken down by Penalosa's right hook and southpaw lefts, where were landing cleanly.
A slightly wobble from Penalosa early in round 4, when he seemed to get caught clean by a right hand, only seemed to light his fire more and he went on the hunt to take Cardenas out, landing some very spiteful shots to the body. Those body shots took the fight out of Cardenas who was dropped 3 times in the round before the referee waved off the contest.
Whilst the performance wasn't perfect from Penalosa it was exciting, brutal and fantastic to watch. He seemed to be angered by being tagged early in round 4 and really sought to make a statement afterwards. Dubbed the "The Hunter", he really did hunt Cardenas and is quickly going to become a must watch fighter with performances like this.
Filipino teenage sensation Carl Jammes Martin (12-0, 11) finally made his TV debut, after fighting on social media streams, and faced off with Thai foe Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-3, 8), in what looked like a decent test on paper.
The Filipino came out like he had a point to prove, though wild and reckless at times. Despite missing a fair bit the heavy handed power of Martin was on show and he managed to drop his man after about 90 seconds. The Thai managed to recover well and ended up landing some solid blows later in the round. Petchchcorhae came out aggressively for the second round and had moments of success, backing Martin on to the ropes, but the Filipino showed a good boxing brain and landed solid uppercuts on the Thai, punishing him for coming in with his head low. Not only did Martin land good uppercuts but also finished the round well, with a nice flurry on the Thai in the dying seconds of the round.
In round 3 Martin dictated the pace, which had slowed significantly, and began to land pretty much as and when he wanted on the Thai, who was forced to take hard body shots and some brilliant uppercuts. He backed Petchchorhae on to the ropes and began unloading, letting shots go at will. The Thai tried firing back but was dropped for a second time as Martin refused to back off in what was a thrilling round. Petchchorhae would make it to the bell, but was retired in the corner.
Given this was his first televised appearance Martin left a fantastic impression. There are a lot of areas for him work on, notably his defense and boxing intelligence, but at this age his physicality, energy and variety are brilliant. He is going to quickly become a must watch fighter and someone that will become a huge fan favourite based on his style. A few tweaks, mostly in regards to his pacing, footwork and defense which are teachable, and he could go on to become one of the next major stars of the Philippines.
Yesterday inn the US there was a scheduled bout with Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Izim Izbaki (1-0, 1) [Изим Турсунулы Избаки] facing off with Matt Foster (0-3), who had been stopped in all 3 of his defeats. That bout was however cancelled after Foster failed to pass his medical.
Izbaki revealed not only why the bout was off, but also that he will be fighting in April, explaining on Instagram “Unfortunately, I'm not fighting today, because my opponent has not passed a medical examination. We’ll wait for April now,” [Translated]. At the moment however no real details of the April bout have been revealed.
The show yesterday did go on to feature a Kazakh in action, though it was a disappointing result, with Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1-1, 12) [Эюбов Бахтияр] being held to an unexpected draw over 8 rounds with Mexican foe Jose Luis Rodriguez (25-12-1, 13), in what will go down as a notable upset result for the once touted Bakha Bullet.
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