Later today we see two huge names clash in the US, with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez battles Danny Jacobs in a monster Middleweight clash. For many fans that is the bout they have marked as being the fight of the weekend, the must watch fight if you will. For us however attention turned to the Philippines as local fighter Al Toyogon (10-3-1, 6) looked to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Featherweight title against Japanese challenger Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼].
The bout won't have got much attention outside of hardcore Asian fight fans, but those who follow the Asian scene knew this bout would be something worth watching, and as it was available for free on ESPN5's youtube channel, it was something that everyone should have tried to catch live.
We thought it would be good a good bout, but it really exceeded our expectations, giving us a brilliant 12 rounds of action and over delivered on our hopes.
Toyogon started well, winning the opening round with power shots and making the most of his jab, before Sagawa began to find his range in round 2, a landing solid power shots on a regular basis. Toyogon realised he had to up the ante the following round and won round 3, as he put Sagawa under pressure and landed combinations on the Japanese fighter. It seemed as if Sagawa was going to come undone, much like he had Retsu Kosaka 2 years ago, but he gritted it out, despite some huge hooks from Toyogon. Toyogon would continue to build his momentum in round 4, as he again put Sagawa under pressure with his wide, slingy shots, though Sagawa did have some moments in the round and ended it in the ascendancy.
After 4 rounds the scores were announced due to the WBC open scoring. Toyogon was leading 40-36 on card, from a judge who seemingly had his score-card marked before the fight began, another had it 39-37 to the local, which was understandable and the third judge had it even 36-36.
Knowing he was behind Sagawa really upped the ante in the middle rounds, sweeping rounds 5 through 8 with his clean accurate punching and intense aggression. He was landing right hand at will, switching between head and body, and really mixing up his shots well. He was predictable in a way, with almost everything coming from his right hand, but he varied his majorly 1-handed attacked really well, looping shots around the guard, nailing them straight, whipping them into the body. When he did use his jab Sagawa did manage to back up Toyogon, but it really was a punch that was thrown in limited number compared to his overhand right.
Sagawa's domination of the middle 4 rounds saw him really turning things over on the score cards. The judge who had had the bout a shut out after 4 rounds had it even at 76-76, with the other two judges now favouring Sagawa, 77-75 and 78-74.
With Toyogon down he could sense his title was slipping away, and he came out with more aggression in round 9, trying to push Sagawa backwards. It was a great effort, but he was being tagged, and lacked the intensity to fight for any prolonged period of time, letting Sagawa continue his control. The intensity from Sagawa was finally found in round 10, his best round since the 4th, as he took the fight to Sagawa, finally forcing his pace on the bout. It was a great effort and a gutsy round from the Filipino, but he didn't really make a clear case to take the round, despite a huge effort. The effort from Toyogon was repeated again in round 11, but by the end of the round he had ran out of steam and didn't have the chance to recover it before the final round, which was a huge one for Sagawa. The Japanese fighter, likely expecting funny business on the scorecards, went all out looking for a stoppage, hurting Toyogon numerous times, unloading on the Filipino, who had to rely on his resilience and toughness to see out the final moments.
Although Sagawa seemed to have done more than enough to win there was always a worry of something strange happening with the scorecards, especially after one judge failed to give him round 2. Thankfully however the scores all made sense, with Sagawa getting the unanimous decision, courtesy of scorecards reading 116-112, 115-113 and 117-111.
Tomorrow we'll see Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4) [佐川遼] challenge Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for Toyogon's WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Featherweight title, which he will be defending for the second time, following his title victory last September.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men looked great on the scales with both making weight, with real ease. In fact the limit wasn't even threatened by either man who was comfortably made the limit.
Sagawa came in at 129lbs on the scales, the heaviest of his career, whilst Toyogon was 128lbs.
It's interesting how Sagawa looked the much, much bigger man at the weigh in, given that he has made his name at Featherweight and was moving up for this bout, whilst Toyogon has fought as high as Lightweight, where he took a win over Naotoshi Nakatani in February 2018.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired on ESPN5 and should be available to watch legally worldwide.
Related - Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title!
In early May Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] will defend his title against mandatory challenger Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4) [大里拳], in the second meeting between the two men as part of the Champion Carnival.
Sadly the show won't be televised live, with broadcaster G+ recently revealing the show will not be televised until the Wednesday after the show takes place.
The first airing of the card will take place on at 21:30 on Wednesday May 8th, with a rebroadcast on May 29th, at 20:00, not on Saturday, when the bouts take place.
Whilst this is disappointing it is worth nothing that ESPN5 in the Philippines will be showing a card on Saturday whilst this show actually takes place, and it's good to see they won't be clashing for those who will be wanting to stream the cards.
That ESPN5 card, for those interested, will be headlined by Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4) [佐川遼] challenging Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Featherweight title, and may turn out to actually be a better bout than the Sueyoshi Vs Osato match up.
Sueyoshi looks to over-come Osato again! (Preview)
Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title! (Preview)
It's impossible to deny how good a year Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4) [佐川遼] in 2018, going 4-0 (2) and scoring big wins over Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto and Shingo Kawamura. He looks continue that momentum this year and it's now been revealed that his next bout will his first title bout.
The former Japanese amateur standout will be making his international debut on international debut on May 4th to take on Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Featherweight title.
For the 21 year old Filipino this will be his second defense, following his title win in September on his first defense this past January. Although not an unbeaten fighter he is currently riding a 5-0 run and will bee full of confidence heading into this contest. It is worth noting however that the competition he has faced has been much, much worse than that of Sagawa who has been shining against good fighters. Though Sagawa will be the man moving up in weight for this bout, given he has typically been campaigning at Featherweight, albeit a rather large Featherweight.
This bout is set to be 1 of 5 title bouts on this show, being put on by Elorde Promotions, and is early the best on paper, by some margin.
Earlier today in Paranque City fight fans saw Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title, as he out pointed Japanese challenger Ryusei Ishii (7-5-1, 4) [石井龍誠].
The bout, the main event of a card promoted by Elorde, saw Toyogon applying pressure on to the Japanese visitor. Ishii, to his credit, boxed well out of the southpaw stance but was almost constantly on the back foot, being out worked and caught by huge, sweeping right hands. When he did come forward the challenger looked clumsier, allowing Toyogon to avoid the shots coming his way and regain control without taking much damage.
The champion never looked in any real trouble through the 12 rounds and was a comfortable winner on the scorecards, with the judges scoring the bout handed in cards that were read out as 117-110, twice, and 115-112.
Whilst this was Toyogon's first defense of the title it's hard to know how good he really is. He looks aggressive and fun, but there is a big gulf between him and the top fighters in the region. As for Ishii he is 1-3-1 in his last 5, and it's hard to know where the 22 year old from Tokyo goes from this set back.
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