Earlier today fight fans in the Aioi Hall saw local hopeful Musashi Mori (7-0, 5) [森 武蔵] being given his sternest test to date, as he got pushed all the way by Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-3, 9).
On paper the bout was a step up in class for the 2017 Rookie of the Year Featherweight king and that showed to be the case in the ring. Vallespin not only showed the toughness to survive Mori's power but also the skills and physiclaity to ask the Japanese teenage serious questions.
Mori looked to use his jab early on but Vallespin managed to find a home for his right hand, and quickly got Mori's respect. The power of Vallespin made Mori cautious and of standing his ground and instead of tading blows Mori bgan to show his movement. The youngster picked up the pace in the middle rounds, trying to get in and out, but Vallespin pressured well and had some very good success in round 5.
With Mori being put under pressure he was forced to bite down on his gum shield and grit his teeth, which he did in the final few rounds, with the crowd on his side. It was this late determination that saw him just doing enough to take home the win, with majority decision, courtesy of scores 77-76, twice, and 77-77.
Following the bout Mori spoke about wanting to fight for titles, though we suspect today's performance has left him perhaps a fight or two away from being ready for one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Saturday we saw a number of Filipino fighters fighting on the road. The first of those was Allan Vallespin (9-1, 8) who suffered a nasty KO in Japan to Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大] and soon afterwards Diomel Diocos (10-2-3, 3) was stopped by the world class Daigo Higa (12-0, 12) [比嘉 大吾], with both of those set backs coming at the Korakuen Hall.
Later in the day we saw two more Filipino's suffer defeats on the road.
In South Africa it was disappointment for Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6), who was beat by former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10), who became a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion. The Filipino had some moments during the fight but he was out classed by Budler and broken down by the talented South African, who should really begin to turn his focus towards world class Light Flyweights, like Kosei Tanaka, Ryoichi Taguchi and Akira Yaegashi, rather than continue to fight against the likes of Canoy. Budler, one of the most notable South African's in the sport, has still got time time carve out a really notable career, but will have to look to face top fighters in the next 12-24 months if he's going to leave the legacy his ability desevres. As for Canoy this was a third loss in 7 bouts, and and his second stoppage loss in his last 4 bouts, showing the huge gulf between himelf and world class.
The disappointment also travelled to the UK where veteran Ardin Diale (32-11-4, 15) suffered a 10 round shut out defeat to Welshman Andrew Selby (8-0, 5), with Selby claiming the WBC International Flyweight title. Diale had his moments, and exposed some issues with Selby, but lacked the speed to really test the Welshman who was too quick and too smart. Although Diale was shut out he will take positives from this bout, and it was certainly a less punishing contest than his 2016 loss to Higa, in which he was battered into a 4th round stoppage. For Selby the performance showed moments of magicv, but he does look to be some way from a world title bout, and will have a lot of work to do before thinking about contests with the likes of Kazuto Ioka, For Diale the loss probably leaves him as a gatekeeper, though he's a solid one, and came up against someone who was a stylistic nightmare here.
Earlier today we saw the popular, and fast rising, Daigo Higa (12-0, 12) [比嘉 大吾] extend his perfect start to his professional career as he secured a 4th round win against the brave, but out-gunned, Diomel Diocos (10-2-3, 3).
The opening round saw Higa set the pace for the bout, and it was clear that he was looking to continue his stoppage run. Unfortunately for fans expecting a super quick blow out Diocos showed real survival instincts and not only fought back, in patches, but managed to neutralise Higa at times in the first 2 rounds but clinching when Higa got too close. It was a game plan that risked irking the referee, and fans, but did help the Filipino survive the first two rounds.
In round 3 Higa begane to just punch his way through the clinches, showing he was the stronger man. With Higa now punching when Diocos was holding the Filipino's main survival tactic was starting to become his own undoing. The round was a torrid one for Diocos who took a pounding and was forced to take some huge shots as Higa began to hunt the KO. Diocos managed to survive but it looked like it was only a matter of time before he would be broken down.
Higa continued to press the action in round 4, and quickly had the break through he needed hurting the Filipino who later dropped to the canvas as Higa let his shots fly. As soon as he was down the referee called a halt to the contest.
Following the bout Higa stated that his intention is to face the winner of the March 4th bout between Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-0, 28) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Mexican Juan Hernandez (33-2, 24), who face off for the WBC Flyweight title.
Higa's win made it 2-0 to Japan against the Philippines as countryman Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大] stopped the previously unbeaten Allan Vallespin (9-1, 8). Vallespin came out swinging and put Sueyoshi under incredible pressure in the open two rounds, with Sueyoshi looking like a man trying to find his feet in the bout. Sadly for the Filipino his pressure worked against him in round 3 as he took a huge counter right hand which send him flat on his back and forced the referee to immediately stop the contest.
Another stoppage on this card saw a notable upset as Sueyoshi's Teiken stablemate Yamato Hata (3-1, 3) [波田 大和] suffered a 4th round TKO loss to Takuya Hashimoto (6-5, 6) [橋本 拓也]. The bout saw Hata start well and in round 3 he managed to drop Hashimoto. That however wasn't enough to stop Hashimoto who came out swinging in round 4 and dropped Hata with a huge left hook. Hata got to his feet but never managed to recover and he was stopped soon afterwards as Hashimoto went on the hunt, forcing Hata's team to throw in the towel.
This coming weekend sees the Champion Canrival begin in Japan with the first Japanese title fight of 2017. The bout in question will see Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-8, 8) [石本 康隆] defending his Japanese Supe Bantamweight title against the heavy handed Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9) [久我 勇作] and will also feature a string of notable other fighters, including the popular Daigo Higa (11-0, 11) [比嘉 大吾] and and the once beaten Masaru Sueyoshi (13-1, 8) [末吉 大], who takes on unbeaten Filipino puncher Allan Vallespin (9-0, 8).
Fight fans in Japan will be able to watch the whole show live tomorrow on G+ with the channel scheduling the broadcast for the card from 17:45 local time to 22:00 local time, as part of their Dynamic Glove Special series of cards. For fans unable to tune in tomorrow their will then be repeat broadcasts on February 8th, between 15:30 and 18:30 and on March 2nd, between 22:30 and 1:30am.
The month looks to be a notable one for G+ who have several other repeat broadcasts scattered through the month, including bouts with Ishimoto and Kuga as well as two full World Boxing Premium Cards headed by Shinsuke Yamanaka. Whilst the rebroadcasts might not be as good as live fights they do give G+ viewers plenty to watch during a relatively quiet February!
Yasutaka Ishimoto and Yusaku Kuga battle in hotly anticipated rematch!
Whilst much of our focus over the last few days is on this coming Sunday, there was some action this past Wednesday with Filipino fans in Pasay City getting the chance to see a pair of title fights, both of which resulted in new champions being crowned.
One of those title bouts saw the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (18-7-2, 6) claim the WBC International Super Bantamweight title with an 8th round technical decision over the previously unbeaten Joe Noynay (10-1-1, 3). The bout ended after Pumicpic suffered a cut from an accidental headclash and, following the WBC's rules, Noynay was deducted a point as a result. That point did make a difference to the scorecards with all 3 judges scoring the contest 76-75 to Pumicpic. Head it not been for the WBC's rule this would have been a 76-76 draw.
The other title bout saw the once beaten Jeffrey Francisco (14-1-1, 1) claim the WBC EPBC Bantamweight crown with a split decision win over Japanese southpaw Yusuke Suzuki (6-3, 4). On paper this one looked like a straight forward win for Francisco, who got off to a great start dropping Suzuki in round 2, but the reality is that Suzuki is better than his record suggests and he gave Francisco a very tough test. That's despite one judge having it widely in favour of Francisco.
Other notable results from this card included an opening round win for hard hitting prospect Allan Vallespin (6-0, 6), who blew away journeyman Jomar Borbon (4-24-2, 2), a 4th round win for Dave Penalosa (11-0, 8), who easily saw off Menard Zaragosa (6-23-1, 4) and a 6 round decision win for former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (26-11-2, 18), who out pointed Jeson Berwela (4-22, 2).
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