We are now just over 1 month away from the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight final between Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), who will battle for the WBA, IBF and Ring magazine titles as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy and training has been amped up.
Today Inoue invited the press in for another media work out, this time sparring with long term sparring partner Genesis Servania (33-2, 16), and spoke about the preparations for Donaire.
Through today's spar Inoue looked fantastic, and it really seemed like he had gone up a gear following similar spars for the press in recent weeks against Sho Nakazawa (12-4, 6) [中澤奨]. The punches from Inoue were razor sharp through out, making thudding noises when he landed, and his movement was fantastic with his footwork coming close to befuddling Servania at times. It was clear that this was Inoue taking things up a level.
It was revealed that Servania is a sparring partner for general conditioning, and that another notable Filipino has been brought into camp to act as a virtual Donaire. That is the role of Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), who Hideyuki Ohashi described as having a similar left hook to that of Donaire. Of course it's Donaire's left hook that is seen as his danger punch, so scouting that against with a similarly thrown one is important for Inoue and his preparations.
Interestingly in the past Pagara has sparred with Donaire and and he praised Inoue for having better power, footwork and speed than Donaire. Ranked #2 by the WBO at Super Bantamweight this is expected to be brilliant sparring for Pagara as well, before be eventually moves on to get his first world title fight.
Than plan is for Inoue to spar regularly until the middle of the month, before cutting down the sparring as he heads into the final weeks of his camp and final preparations are put together for facing Donaire.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday in Leyte notable Filipino fighters had the chance to shine, in really awful mismatches as ALA Promotions tried to keep some of their best fighters ticking over.
One of the notable fighters on this card was former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10), who bounced back from a loss in South Africa to Athenkosi Dumezweni. The skilled, yet often frustrating, Sultan scored a 7th round TKO win over fellow Filipino Salatiel Amit (11-7-2, 8). Sultan was one of two former world title challengers on this card, joined by Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who also scored a 7th round TKO win as he took out Reymark Taday (9-10-1, 4).
Higher up the card was two promising prospects with their eyes on getting to world level.
One of those hopefuls was Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), who blew away Lucky Tor Buamas (12-4, 12), aka Ratchanon Sawangsoda inside a round. The talented Pagara, who really deserves so much better than to share the ring with Lucky, was fighting for the first time since last November though hardly broke a sweat in getting rid of the over-matched Thai.
The other youngster with eyes on world title glory was Jeo Santisima (18-2, 15), who easily dismissed Alvius Maufani (6-4-2, 3), also in the first round. As with Pagara this wasn't really a bout worth having for Santisima, whilst Maufani has now gone 0-3-1 in his last 4.
In the second of three title bouts on "Pinoy Pride 45: Quest for Greatness" fans saw the highly regarded Albert Pagara (31-1, 22) easily over-come the limited George Krampah (14-4, 12), from Ghana, to record his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title.
Pagara came out looking confident, relaxed and powerful. It wasn't long until he began landing big rights at will from Krampah, who looked tough but was far too easy to hit. The right hands up top wobbled Krampah mid way through the round, but it was a huge left hand to the body that really broke his resistance. The body shot didn't drop Krampah, but left him open and Pagara jumped on him, sending him down for the 10 count.
After the bout Krampah stayed down, looking like he had really done some damage to his body and was in agony well after the final bell.
This was a 4th straight stoppage win for Pagara, and a 5th win since his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez, and he now looks ready for a step up in class again, maybe even a rematch with Juarez. For Krampah he was out classed, out muscled and outsped by the talented Filipino, who looked several levels about the fighter from Ghana.
The next major card from ALA Promotions was announced earlier today, and is set to be a triple header, with the top 3 bouts all being affiliated with the WBO, albeit for a trio of their minor titles.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) defending his WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title against Ghana's George Krampah (14-3, 12). This really should be a straight forward win for Pagara, given the that visitor has been relative inactive in recent years and was stopped in 2 of his last 3, including stoppage losses to Thabo Sonjica and current world champion Isaac Dogboe. Sadly though it doesn't seem like the step forward that the Filipino deserves given his talent and the promise he has.
A much better looking match up will see KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) take on Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) in a mouth watering match up for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. The unbeaten Cataraja is very highly regarded in Asian boxing circles and he has been tipped for major success since turning professional. Despite being highly regarded he hasn't been matched particularly hard, with this being a notable step up in class. Reyes has been matched relatively easily but has been impressive on the Mexican domestic scene, with a good win last time out against Julio Castillo. This really could be the stand out show on the card.
The third title bout will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) take on Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The 22 year old Santisima has been one of the most explosive Filipino prospects in recent years and will be favoured here, especially given he is riding a 14 fight winning run. The visitor however is no push over and in 2016 he scored a major upset over Ryo Matsumoto.
Others on the card include Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) and Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16), who will be facing against each other, and Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
ALA Boxing Gym, the premier promotional outfit in the Philippines, have revealed that their next card in the "Pinoy Pride" line of shows, "Pinoy Pride 44", will take place on June 9th in Maasin City, and although it's not set to feature any world class bouts it does look like a stacked card with name value running through it, and should be a card that generates a fair bit of attention from those involved in it.
The main event is set to feature the popular Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) taking on Ghana's Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), who is best known for losing in a Commonwealth title fight to Martin Ward in 2013. Pagara, originally from Maasin City, will be the overwhelming favourite in the eyes of the fans, but Odoi has never been stopped, and has lost only once in his last 23 fights, having rebuilt following a 0-2 start to his professional career. Athlough Odoi is a tough, then again aren't all fighters teak tough, he has only fought once in the last year, and has only fought 4 times in the last 4 years. For Pagara this is a chance to record his 4th straight win following his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez
Albert will be joined by older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25), who takes on Indonesian Geisler AP (12-10-1, 9). It's fair to say that 2017 was a year to forget for the once touted Pagara, who went 0-1-1 for the year. In December he suffered a TKO loss to Hiroki Okada and in both of his 2017 bouts he looked like a fighter who really lacked the commitment and fitness to be fighting. Even an off the boil Pagara should have far too much for the visiting fighter here, with the Indonesian fighter having been stopped in every one of his bouts outside of Indonesia.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17) will be returning to the ring for the first time since his stoppage loss to Luis Nery as he takes on domestic journeyman Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4), in what should be an easy comeback fight for the 29 year old.
In another of the feature bouts the exciting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) will battle against Thai visitor Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The Thai visitor is 0-5 outside of Thailand is is likely to extend that losing run here against the hard hitting Santisima, who has looked like a real prospect in recent bouts, and will be looking to move into the WBO rankings with another win here. The Thai was riding a 10 fight winning run until recently, with that run ending this past February when he was out pointed by Juan Miguel Elorde, and we suspect he'll now suffer a second successive loss.
Others pencilled in for this card including former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), unbeaten puncher Jeno Macapobre (3-0, 2) and Japanese fighter Go Hosaka (0-0)
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