At the moment we're getting an on-going card from Fuzhou in China. The main bouts from the card are two world title bouts, but before those we had the under-card, featuring 4 bouts.
The first contest saw the previous unbeaten unbeaten Chinese hopeful Hua Long Zhu (2-1, 2) suffer a split decision loss to Thai visitor Sophon Klachun (5-3, 1) in a less than entertaining 6 rounder. Zhu really looked horrifically basic here, and did little to showcase Chinese boxing, whilst the Thai just did what he had to do to pick up the win.
The second bout was another China Vs Thailand bout, but was a much, much better bout, as 21 year old Shichao Gao (4-0-1, 1) scored a controversial decision over former WBA "regular" Super Bantamweight title challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (23-2, 9), aka Anurak Thisa. This bout was night and day compared to the show opener, with skills, action and really good back and forth throughout the contest. It wasn't an all out war, but it was a high tempo, battle with the Thai showing more aggression and Gao trying to use his speed and youth. After 10 rounds the judges went with the local fighter, scoring the bout 96-94, 96-95 and 97-93, though if we're being honest he was very fortunate to get the win here.
The third, and most notable, of the under-card bouts saw Wulan Tuolehazi (12-3-1, 5) over-come Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (35-14-4, 17), to retain the WBA International title. This was much, much, much more competitive than expected, but Tuolehazi over-came some worries to take home the win. The Chinese fighter was hurt from body shots part way through but he gritted his teeth and and took the decision with with scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 114-114, to claim the majority decision. This was a 7th straight win for Wulan, but he is still far too raw for a world title fight.
Today there was a pretty big card at the Angono Sports Complex in Angono, Rizal. The card wasn't a stacked one in terms of world class talent, but did have some pretty notable Filipino fighters on it, with a nice mixture of veterans and youngsters on it.
Among those veterans was the returning was the returning Denver Cuello (37-5-6, 25), who was fighting for the first time since the summer of 2018. The former world title challenger, now 32, made light work of Indonesian journeyman Jack Amisa (21-46-2, 14). Amisa seemed to be hurt by everything he was caught with and was dropped in the opening round, before being taken apart in round 2 and being stopped, with the bout being waved off whilst Amisa was on his knees on the canvas. Given the long lay off Cuello looked good, but clearly wasn't the fighter he had once been and will likely want another couple of fights before facing a notable foe.
Another veteran picking up a win was former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 31), who scored a 4th round TKO win over veteran Indonesian Boido Simanjuntak (24-54-2, 10). A third notable Filipino veteran was former world title challenger Ardin Diale (35-13-4, 17), who scored defeated Richard Rosales (13-9-2, 7), who retired after round 3.
As for the youngsters it was 22 year old KJ Natuplag (8-0-2, 7) who impressed, stopping Robert Udtohan (24-6-3, 15) in the 5th round. On paper this is a goof win, though it is Udtohan's 4th stoppage loss in 6 bouts, and his 5th loss in 6, leaving real question marks as to his desire. Another youngster picking up a good win was Adrian Lerasan (7-3, 1), who took an 8 round decision win over the heavy handed Jeny Boy Boca (12-6, 10)
Earlier this year we saw Jonas Sultan (15-4, 9) stink out the joint in a loss to IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, in the first All-Filipino world title fight since the 1920's. Today he bounced back from that loss by out pointing on domestic veteran Ardin Diale (34-13-4, 16).
The fight, like the Ancajas one, failed to really ignite though this time it was Sultan in control with his speed and skills regularly neutralising the more experienced but less talented Diale. Diale, to his credit regularly came forward but often ate clean shots from the more rounded Sultan, who was so much crisper with his punching.
Not only was Sultan landing the better shots but Diale was also spending much of the fight battling with a nasty cut over hit right eye, caused by a clash of heads in round 2. That gave Sultan a place to target and he continued to land the cleaner, sharper blows through the first 5 rounds, as he ran up a clear lead on the score-cards.
In round 6 we finally saw Diale finding his groove and landing a clean combination on Sultan, which he took well. It seemed clear that the blow shots were a wake up call for him, showing that Diale was still there with him. The wake up for Sultan show him get back to his best in round 7, as he landed a number of clean blows, and ended almost every exchange with the better shots.
As the fight wore on into the later rounds the pattern very rarely changed, despite Diale getting more aggressive and having more success in the later rounds, he never looked like he was landing often enough or hard enough to turn the bout around.
At the end of 10 rounds it seemed like a very clean win for Sultan, who failed to set the world on fire despite being in control. The judges agreed, scoring the bout 98-92, twice, and 97-93-, all for Sultan.
Despite being a talent Sultan will struggle to create a fan base and he may well find big opportunities hard to come by due to his style. For Diale, he was almost always second best here.
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.
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