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.
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.
In the UK over the last week or saw we had an interesting announcement regarding the next bout of the super talented Welsh Flyweight Andrew Selby (7-0, 5), who we now know will return to the ring on February 4th. That alone wouldn't be of interest to us, but the part that did interest us is that the Welshman will be up against Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (32-10-4, 15) in what should be regarded as a genuine step up for Selby and also acts as Diale's UK debut.
Selby, a former amateur standout for Team GB, turned to the professional ranks in late 2015 and will be looking to become a professional champion like his brother Lee Selby. This bout will be a chance for the Welshman to stake a claim in the WBC ranking's, as he battles for the WBC International title, and will also see him take on a former world champion who has been in with a number of names for comparison purposes.
Last time out we saw Selby toy with, and stop, Diale's countryman Jake Bornea to claim the IBF Inter-Continental Flyweight title and he'll be looking to continue his winning run here.
Diale is a true veteran, despite only being 28 the same as Selby, and has been in with a veritable who's who. He has fought the likes of Rodel Mayol, Wanheng Menayothin, Johnriel Casimero, Julio Cesar Miranda, Juan Francisco Estrada, Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, Koki Eto and Daigo Higa. Unfortunately has has lost consistently against the bigger names, but will have that experience to bring to the ring here, and should tell us more about what Selby has to offer, as he moves through the ranks.
Sadly Diale hasn't travelled well in the past, and has suffered several punishing losses through his career, but again he's the most accomplished fighter Selby will have faced since turning professional about 15 months.
Whilst Japanese and Thai results are typically easy to get a hold of, in fact many times we can get those results almost as they happen the same sadly can't be said of bouts in the Philippines with results sometimes going days without being reported.
Thankfully today we were sent some the results from a notable show at the Strike Coliseum in Bacoor.
That show saw a new OPBF "silver" Flyweight champion being crowned, as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (16-2-2, 13) took a decision victory over the previously unbeaten Jeronil Borres (7-1-1, 5) to claim the crown. Details on the specifics were scarce though we have been informed that the bout was a "great fight" and Borres didn't embarrass himself in a good effort. In credit to Borres he was taking a huge step up in class against a big puncher and to see out the bell certainly doesn't hard the youngsters prospects,in fact if anything he is likely coming out of this loss with a new found belief.
Sadly we have been informed that no new OPBF "silver" Super Flyweight was crowned as the bout between Ardin Diale (31-10-4, 15) and Ryan Lumacad (11-0-2, 6) ended in a draw. Again details have been limited, though we understand that it was 4th round technical draw.
Another notable fighter on this card was 2012 Olympian and former amateur star Mark Anthony Barriga (2-0) who took a unanimous decision win over Powell Balaba (8-20-1, 5) to extend his perfect start. From what we understand this was an 8 rounder, though again a lack of details is a problem here in getting correct information, and shows that Barriga has the stamina to do that type of distance going forward.
One other bout on this card featuring a promising novice saw 19 year old Naoto Iwai (2-0, 1) [岩井尚斗] defeat Juan Purisima (11-10-1, 4). Whilst this wasn't huge news or anything it is worth noting that Iwai is a stablemate of Hinata Maruta and is likely to be moved quickly in the coming years.
Every so often we get a bout where we see a new star being crowned, a bout that sees someone go from being just a prospect to becoming a true contender. Today we had such a bout as Japanese youngster Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) [比嘉 大吾] did a complete demolition job on Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (31-10-3, 15), as he claimed the OPBF Flyweight title and continued to leave opponents looking broken and battered.
The opening round set the tone for the bout, with Higa, dubbed the “Romagon of Okinawa”, forcing the bout with intelligent pressure that allowed him to back up Diale and land crunching shots to both head and body. Those shots weren't dropping Diale but they were damaging all the same and seemed to show that Higa's ability to pick a punch was going to be a major issue for Diale, who was struggling to land much of note in return. The usually capable countering skills of Diale were made to look completely ineffective against Higa's quickly improving defense and it seemed like Diale was going to need to find something new to trouble the challenger.
The second round saw Higa move up a gear in what was a dominant but controlled round of intelligent aggression. Diale was forced to take some serious bombs with body shots looking like the key for Higa who dropped Diale in the dying seconds of the round. Following the knockdown Higa began to celebrate, climbing the ring corner, and it seemed like everyone, including the TV thought Diale had been counted out at the bell. Instead however the referee ruled Diale had just beaten the count and instructed the two men to the corner.
Potentially the decision could have been controversial, especially if Diale had managed to turn the bout around. As it turned out however Higa was just getting stronger and began round 3 by landing a monster right hand. That was followed by another round of Diale doing his best to keep Higa from breaking him down, and for the most part did well, but was dropped for the second time and seemed relatively fortunate that the bell saved him again as Higa began to smell a 10th successive stoppage win.
Knowing that the body shots had damaged Diale, Higa came out looking for them in round 4 and landed a crunching one early on. Diale was now forced to fight back and tried his best to get through the tight guard of Higa and stop the storm but Higa took his time, and continued to break down the defending champion, who was dropped again after a vicious assault from the 20 year Japanese fighter. This time Diale failed to beat the count and looked like a broken man.
The celebrations were back from Higa as he recorded his biggest win to date whilst a beaten and swollen looking Diale resided on his stool, knowing he had come up against someone a little bit special.
A may be a little too early to call Higa a star but with performances like this, and the one against Kongfah CP Freshmart, it's clear he has star potential and it seems like he's already capable of selling out the Korakuen Hall. He may not keep this OPBF title for long, with intentions clearly to move to world class in the near future, but this performance is likely to have put the Flyweight division on notice. He didn't just beat the very capable Ardin Diale, but he battered him and broke him.
For Diale he'll come again, he'll likely fight for and possibly regain this title in the future, but it may take a while for the bruises and swelling to go from this genuine beat down by someone who is just in a totally different league to the Filipino
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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