After several months of speculation we have finally seen Superfly 3 being confirmed and the three headline bouts for the show being announced along with the poster for the card.
As had been strongly suggested the card will take place on September 8th at the Forum in Inglewood, California and will feature a trio of interesting looking Super Flyweight bouts.
One of the bouts will see former unified Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25) risked his WBC #1 ranking as he takes on 2-time world title challenger Felipe Orucuta (36-4, 30), himself ranked #7 by the WBC. Estrada was hoping to have a rematch with WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] but the Thai has gone a different route, for now.
Another bout will be the previously rumoured match up between former 3-weight champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) [井岡一翔] is 2-time world title challenger McWillains Arroyo (17-3, 14), with both men fighting to move towards a title shot.
The third will be the rescheduled WBO world title fight between Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) and Aston Palicte (24-2, 20), which was originally set to take place on August 18th in Cebu City but was rearranged for this Superfly show. This bout will see Nietes looking to become a 4-weight world champion whilst Palicte will be fighting in his first world title fight.
Like the previous Superfly cards this will be shown on HBO and will see several major promoters working together, with Tom Loeffler being the lead promoter of the card
According to a number of Filipino sources a deal is close to being signed for Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) and Aston Palicte (24-2, 20) to meet on August 18th in Cebu City for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title, in what would be the headline bout of Pinoy Pride 45.
The two fighters were told, at the end of last month, to negotiate a bout for the title which had been vacated Japanese star Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] earlier this year. It seems the two camps have quickly come to some form of an agreeemt, and although not yet signed and sealed, the bout is said to have had most of the details agreed already.
For Nietes, who is 35 and soon to be 36, the bout will serve as a chance to become a 4-weight champion. The former WBO Minimumweight, WBO Light Flyweight and IBF Flyweight champion would become just the third fighter in history to win titles in the sports 4 lowest weight classes, following Leo Gamez and Roman Gonzalez as well as the third Filipino fighter to claim world titles in 4 weight classes, after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. It is however a big ask against a younger, bigger and heavier handed fighter than himself.
As for Palicte the bout will be his first world title bout and see him get a great chance to announce himself on the Filipino boxing world, who may not have seen as much of him as they perhaps should have. He's a hugely exciting, heavy handed boxer-puncher who turned 27 earlier this year and has beaten the likes of Vergilio Silvano, Oscar Cantu and Jose Alfredo Rodriguez.
Although yet to be confirmed, the bout does look like it's all sorted and an announcement will be made in the coming weeks, as well as ALA putting together the under-card, which is expected to feature some of their rising young fighters.
Earlier this week the WBO announced that they were ordering their top two ranked Super Flyweight contenders, Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) and Aston Palicte (24-2, 20) to negotiate a bout for the currently vacant title, which has been given up by Japanese star Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13) [井上 尚弥] earlier this year.
The WBO made their announcement this past Monday and stated that the two camps have 10 days to agree terms until they would be ordering purse bids for the bout, with the minimum amount to be set at $100,000. As is always the case either side can call the purse bid within that limit if they decide to do that.
The bout, set to be the second all-Filipino world title bout this year, will follow Jerwin Ancajas' IBF Super Flyweight title defense against Jonas Sultan, and could potentially open the door for a remarkable all-Filipino unification bout down the line.
For Nietes this bout gives him a chance to become a 4-weight champion, and become only the third fighter in history to win titles in the sports 4 lowest weight classes, following Leo Gamez and Roman Gonzalez. Not only that but it would see him becoming only the third Filipino fighter to claim world titles in 4 weight classes, after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.
For Palicte the bout is a huge opportunity to fight for a world title against a naturally smaller and older man, and essentially rip the torch from Nietes to become one of the stars of Filipino boxing. Aged 27 he will feel he's in his his prime and he is much bigger and younger than the 35, soon to be 36, year old veteran.
The bout is expected to be considered for "Superfly 3" later in the year, and the winner of this bout will have 90 days to defend the belt against a mandatory challenger.
The Super Flyweight division is currently on fire with so many great fighters in the divisions and so many fantastic match ups to be made. One of the rising contenders of the division was in action yesterday in Texas, and gave fans an impressive performance, as he kept up the hunt for a world title fight.
That fight was Filipino Aston Palicte (24-2, 20), who made light work of the experienced Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (32-7, 19), with a 5th round TKO.
The Filipino looked in charge from the off, he pressed Rodriguez early on and impressed with his heavy hands, good defense and consistent offensive work. Rodriguez, to his credit, came to fight as he always does, but was on the wrong end of almost all the notable big blows. As the fight progressed Rodriguez slowed, the fight being beaten out of him by uppercutts from Palicte. In round 5 a body shot from Palicte hurt Rodriguez, who in agony for a few seconds before taking a knee. He was up at 9 but the refere ruled him in no fit state to continue.
The win saw Palicte 4th straight win, following a very controversial loss to Junior Grandos in 2016 and he's now said to be looking for a world title eliminator in 2018. Whilst it's a good win on paper it does need to be noted that Rodriguez has now lost 3 successive bouts by stoppage and is 4-7 in the last 6 years!
Back in September we saw the US debut of WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], who toyed with Antonio Nieves (17-2-2, 9). Following that bout it was hoped by his team, at the Ohahsi gym, that they would be able to secure a unification bout for late December against IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18).
Sadly Ancajas has different plans and will instead defend his title in Belfast against the exciting, and unbeaten, Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). As a result it's left Inoue in a bit of a frustrating position, as a lot of the top contenders with the WBO at 115lbs are now booked in other bouts, and the champions are all currently occupiued themselves.
Today Mr Ohashi held a press conference to talk about Inoue's future and stated that his next bout would be a normal defense of the title, but that he was having issues getting an opponent for his champion, with many top fighters already having fights set between now and the end of the year.
The WBO rankings have Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25) ranked #1, but he's going the route of the WBC of which he has a mandatory title fight, at #2 they have Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如], who turned down the chance to face Inoue earlier in the year and will face former Inoue victim Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14) [河野 公平] in October. In the #3 position is Conlan, who as mentioned will face Ancajas.
A planned bout with Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) has been the dream bout for Inoue and Ohashi, but the shine got taken off that bout with Gonzalez suffering back to back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], who is mandated to defend against Estrada.
With so many top divisional challengers out of the mix it does seem like Ohashi will need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to get Inoue a genuinely interesting opponent. However there are options out there, and the WBO rankings do show some interesting names for Inoue. They include the big punching Aston Palicte (23-2, 19), who is ranked #4 in the latest rankings, former Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (66-1-1, 27) is ranked #6 and is known in Japan for for wins over Eagle Den Junlaphan, Junichi Ebisuoka, Yasutaka Kuroki and of course his sole loss to Kazuto Ioka, and former WBC champion Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1, 27) is ranked #10 and would be a plausible foe for Inoue, despite recent losses to Gonzalez and Estrada.
It could also be a case that Ohash will look outside of the top WBO top 15 Super Flyweights, and and potentially make an offer to a fighter like Francisco Rodriguez Jr (24-4-1,16), who is #3 ranked at Flyweight, who is known for his exploits in the lower weights and has got some name value, especially with Japanese fans who will fondly remember his bout with Katsunari Takayama.
At the moment Ohashi is said to be looking at his options for Inoue's ring return, though a decision has clearly not yet been made in regards to his opponent.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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