Earlier today we saw former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) become the new WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion, as he scored a huge KO win against Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) [村地翼].
Following the bout Murachi was stretchered out and it lead to some genuine worry for the youngster. We can now update fans and reveal that Murachi is fine.
The youngster has been quoted in the Japanese sources as saying he "couldn't remember" much about the bout, though he did admit he had been nervous. When asked about the future he admitted he couldn't think of anything right now, but did seem to suggest that he wouldn't be retiring and would instead return and try to do his best in the sport.
Saludar told the Japanese press that Murachi was strong and then went on to talk about his own future. stating that he wanted to earn another world title fight. Some on Japan are now stating that he is wanting to put himself in the mix for a shot at WBO world champion Kazuto Ioka, though he's one of many pursing a fight with the Osakan, who is expected back in the ring on New Year's Eve.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fans, in both Thailand and the US, were able to see the latest WP Boxing card, which was available on Work Point in Thailand and DAZN in the US, and took place in the Workpoint Studios in Bang Phun.
The broadcast opened up with former world title challenger Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (44-9, 20), aka Karoon Jarupianlerd, taking a close and hotly contested 6 round decision win over Filipino Renz Rosia (15-9-1, 8). The bout wasn't the most entertaining we saw during the day, but was hotly contest and neither man had come to the ring to make up the numbers. The second half certainly felt like the pace, from both, was increased and as we went to the bell it was hard to know who had won. In the end the decision went to the local, though had this taken place outside of Thailand we would assume the decision would have gone to Rosia.
The main event of the card saw Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai (47-1-1, 37), otherwise known as Nawaphon Kaikanha stopping Indonesian visitor Patrick Liukhoto (9-2-1, 7). The bout saw Nawaphon pressing the action through out and eventually he broke down the visitor to record his second defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title. It's now clear, more than ever, that Nawaphon needs a serious step up in class again and that wasting at this level will not prepare him when he does fight another top fighter, so fingers crossed he will take on a serious test in the not so distant future. He's too good to keep wasting his time at this level.
Also on this card was fast rising youngster Chainoi Worawut (7-0-1, 7), aka Thattana Luangphon, who stopped Indonesian journeyman Hendrik Barongsay (29-31-3, 18) in the 4th round of their bout. At 22 years old Chainoi is a talented youngster, but we'd again like to see him stepping up in class, especially if he's to feature in a notable on a WP Boxing card.
To close out Dangan 227, which we had the chance to watch live on Boxing Raise, Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 12) [久我勇作] quickly retained his title, taking out Yosuke Fujihara (18-7, 5) [藤原陽介].
The bout was Kuga's first since reclaiming the title from Ryoichi Tamura in May, in what was a brutal war. It seemed like Fujihara was trying to jump on the champion in the early seconds, and Kuga actually backed up in the early moments. It was long however until Kuga turned the tables, and dropped Fujihara.
The challenger got to his feet, looked relatively unhurt but only moments later he took a huge hook from Kuga and was sent down for the second time in the round. Again he got to his feet, but stumbled in the corner as the referee rushed in and stopped the bout.
After just 95 seconds Kuga had retained his title, recording the first defense of his second reign. Sadly for Fujihara this was his second loss in a Japanese title fight, his third career stoppage loss. With Fujihara celebrating his 33rd birthday tomorrow it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him announcing his retirement in the not too distant future. This is his 4th loss in 6 and he really didn't look like he belonged anywhere near title level here.
The chief support bout of Dangan 227, which was shown live on Boxing Raise, was a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title and saw Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) [村地翼] and former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) fight for the vacant title.
On paper this promised to be something really entertaining, however the early stages of the bout weren't great as both seemed to be looking to fight at range and land single blows. For Murachi the opening round was about his jab, which speared into Saludar's face a number of times, but wasn't used regularly. For Saludar it was the right hand, that thudded against Murachi's head, but seemed to do little damage. The most notable single punch of the round was, however, a right hand from Murachi, that caught Saludar clean and sent him to the canvas. He wasn't hurt, but did secure Murachi a 10-8 opening round.
The pace remained slow in round 2, though appeared a little more action packed than the previous round with round 3 also feeling slightly better than the second, notably due to a huge 1-2 from Saludar than snapped back the head of Murachi. The real highlight early on however was round 4, a round that saw Saludar let loose, dropping Murachi and really going for him as he seemed to feel he had a big chance at an early win. Murachi seemed more embarrassed than hurt by the knockdown, but the follow up after the bout continued did seem to shake him as Saludar, for the first time, let his shots fly in a something more sustained than just a 2-punch combination.
The main talking point from round 5 was a low blow from Murachi which left Saludar in agony, it was a rare moment of Murachi landing something that had effect on Saludar, despite being an illegal punch.
Saludar stuck to his game plan of boxing and moving, keeping the tempo slow in round 6, as he did little but did more than Murachi. At the end of round 7 Saludar again let his hands go with bad intent and dropped Murachi for the second time in the bout, with just seconds of the round left. This time Murachi was hurt and wobbled to his corner, he looked like a man who needed more than a minute to recover.
Sadly for Murachi he wasn't to be so lucky, and early in round 8 Saludar landed 2 huge rights hands and sent him crashign hard to the canvas. This time the he stayed down, the referee quickly rushed, waving the bout off and Murachi's team, and medical personal, came to assist him, before he was stretchered out of the ring. It seemed more a precaution than a necessity, and it did seem like Murachi was conscious when removed from the ring.
The ending was dramatic, and with 4 total knockdowns the bout had highlights, though overall the bout will not be remembered fondly for much other than the frightening finish.
For Saludar this was a huge win, not only netting him the WBO Asia Pacific title but also keeping his career alive and putting him in the mix for another world title fight. For Murachi we really he has a swift recovery. He looked competitive at times, but was unable to avoid the right hands and took a lot of them clean through the fight. If we see Murachi in action again we really hope his defenses tightens up, or his career will be a very short one.
In the first of 3 major bouts on Boxing Raise today we saw a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator, as the exciting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] battled former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] in what turned out to be an incredibly, action packed war.
The first round saw both men have some notable success. Taniguchi looked to keep the bout at range, but was dragged inside and rocked as Ishizawa's power proved to be legitimate. To his credit Taniguchi stayed up-right, just, but was clearly hurt for a second. He then showed more respect to the youngster and began to fight at mid-range, and had real success with his straight land and 2-handed combinations that left Ishizawa unable to get inside.
Round 2 was a clear one for Taniguchi, who controlled it through out and he was even more dominant in a brilliant third round that saw him cutting Ishizawa's right eye and hammering him with straight left hands and keeping Ishizawa handcuffed as he set a high work rate. Not everything Taniguchi was thrown with intent, but it kept the youngster at range and prevented Ishizawa from getting inside, where he needed to be.
After really taking a lot of punishment Ishizawa managed to have some success in round 4, as Taniguchi began to get a little too close. Taniguchi was momentarily rocked, but came back, doing enough to win the round and learn his lesson, Ishizawa wasn't done. That lesson would be shown again in round 5, as Ishizawa began to come on strong, and Taniguchi seemed to begin to slow. Late in the round an Ishizawa combination sent Taniguchi down, securing a huge knockdown for the youngster and began a huge momentum shift.
The confidence that Ishizawa's knockdown had injected into his fighting showed up early in round 6 as he amped up the pressure, and began to find Taniguchi's head with clean, hard shots. Taniguchi fought back, bravely, but was now fighting Ishizawa's fight as the two traded on the inside, in what was a disgustingly brutal and beautifully violent round that saw both men being rocked! At one point it seemed Ishizawa was about done, but he roared back in the final moments. The brutality and all action nature of round 6 continued into the 7th, it was less a new round and instead a continuation of what the fight had become. Sadly for Ishizawa it seemed that his energy reserves were running low and Taniguchi took back control, relying on his experience to out box, out punch and out battle the younger man.
Knowing he was behind Ishizawa fought round 8 like a man who knew he had to score a KO. He was taking risks, bringing pressure and letting his hands go. He knew he had to see off Taniguchi to get the win, and he wasn't going to go down without trying. Taniguchi however wasn't going to roll over and instead he stood his ground and played his part in another thrilling round that saw him end the contest with a huge combination. Taniguchi could have ran, could have played safety, but instead he fought like he also wanted a knockout and gave the fans another brilliant round.
As we went to the bell Taniguchi celebrated, knowing he'd done enough whilst Ishizawa went back to his corner, accepting the defeat before it was official. The scores confirmed what we already knew, Taniguchi had won, and secured himself a Japanese title fight in 2020, at the Champion Carnival. The scores were 77-74, twice, and 78-74, all in his favour.
For Taniguchi the win keeps him in the title mix whilst Ishizawa will bounce back from this loss with a lot of questions answered. Sadly Ishizawa's lack of experience showed through, but few can his effort. For both fighters this was a painful war, but one that will have done them no harm at all with fans. A genuine fight of the year contender, and round 6 should be in the conversation as the best round of the year. A truly incredible fight.
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