Later today talented Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) will take on American Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) to crown a new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight, with no problem at all, even though they were fighting at just 105lbs. And are on a card littered with Heavyweight behemoths.
Barriga came in at just 103.6lbs, well under the limit, but looked in good shape, very confident and like a man who feels he has a huge opportunity to shine on one of the biggest stages of the year. That confidence comes not only from his strong amateur pedigree but also from his professional performances so far and a strong, well knit team that are around him.
Licona, who looked the much bigger man when they stood together, was 104.8lbs, himself comfortably under the divisional limit. Licona, and his team, appears to have scouted Barriga well and are aware of the traits that the Filipino has but the same can't be said the other way around, with footage of Licona being hard to come by, and Barriga opting not to watch opponents before facing them.
Related - Barriga looks to announce himself on world stage, faces Licona for IBF title
(Image courtesy of Dan Jung/ESPN)
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans saw Kasumi Saeki (3-0, 2) [佐伯霞] win her first professional title, as she dominated, and stopped, Thai visitor Wassana Kamdee (3-5, 2) and claimed the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title.
The Japanese former amateur standout shined from the opening seconds and put Kamdee down with a a right hook only moments into the bout. It wasn't a shot of raw power, but was incredibly quick, sharp and crisp.
Kamdee did well to recover from the knockdown, and made her way through round 2, though it was clear that the stoppage was coming, and she was thoroughly outclassed by Saeki, who was hungry for the stoppage. A stoppage that came part way through round 3, after Kamdee was dropped for the second time.
After the bout Saeki stated that she was looking to fight for a world title in 2019, something that promoter Masato Yamashita, from the Shinsei gym, stated was in his plans. For Kamdee this was never going to end well, and it was clear that she was even close to the level of Saeki, who looked sensational.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子] scored her biggest win, claiming the OPBF female Featherweight title with a decision win over Kimika Miyoshi (13-12-1, 5) [三好喜美佳].
Today the two fighters stepped in the ring together again, with Fujiwara looking to make her first defense of the belt, and Miyoshi looking to reclaim the title.
The bout was competitive through out, with looking to set the early pace, and forcing Fujiwara to fire back. Whilst the activity seemed to be with the challenger the quality was certainly coming from the champion, who landed solid hooks and fought exceptionally well at range. It was the quality that was impressing the judges, with 2 judges having Fujiwara up, 29-27, after 4 rounds. The third judge had the bout level at 38-38.
In the second half of the bout the intensity grew, with both fighters knowing how close the bout was neither could afford to back down, and it made for some sloppy but exciting action.
Sadly for the challenger the better work continued to come from the champion, who narrow took the win, with scores of 77-76, twice, and 77-75.
After the bout Masato Yamashita, the president of the Shinsei gym which promotes Fujiwara suggested that he would be trying to get his charge a world title fight in the new year. She would probably be the underdog against any world champion at 130lbs, but she does have the heart and desire to make life difficult for almost anyone at the weight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Osaka saw a new OPBF Atomweight champion being crowned, as the vacant title was contested for at the EDION Arena.
The title was being contested between the very highly touted Eri Matsuda (2-0) [松田恵里] and fellow Japanese fighter Minayo Kei (6-4, 1) [慶美奈代], with Matsuda looking to set the Japanese record for fewest fights needed to win an OPBF title.
To begin the bout Kei had success, at least in round 1, but it was a round that saw Matsuda begin to measure Kei, work out what her opponent had and figure out what she had to do to win. From then on the bout was essentially all Matsuda, who dropped Kei with a counter punch in round 4.
Kei tried to pick up the pace but struggled to have any success, as she unable to match the skills, movement, timing, or rig control of Matsuda, who took the decision with scores of 79-72 from all 3 judges.
It now seems likely that Matsuda will end up fighting for a world title in 2019, and will be back in the ring in Spring. As for Kei this was a demoralising loss, but her career is certainly not over, and she could well focus on fighting for a national title in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday at the Ultimate Extreme Fight-Hong Kong 2018 fight fans had the chance to see local star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如] fight for the first time in over a year.
The former title contender, who has been away from boxing due to an eye injury, was fighting in an exhibition bout, as he took on Taiwanese amateur fighter Chiang Yi Hung.
Despite the contest being an exhibition Tso was judged to have won the bout, with the referee raising his hand after the 3 round exhibition.
After the bout Rex took to the microphhone and announced that his plan was to change his focus from the professional scene to the 2020 Olympics and he was looking to qualify for the games in Tokyo, returning to the amateur scene to do so.
At the moment that seems like a questionable plan, given that boxing's inclusion at the Olympics is hanging by a thread, but shows that Tso's focus is on the sport and that this wasn't just some one off.
For those interested in the event, we've included some highlights from Tso's bout below,
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