After weeks of waiting we finally receieved some news in regards to the November 23rd Mutoh/Morioka co-promoted card from the Sumiyoshi Ward Center.
Sadly though it wasn't the news of who Hinata Maruta (3-0, 2) [丸田 陽七太] will be defending his WBC Youth Bantamweight title against. Instead it was the announcement of a some of under-card bouts, including one between former world title challengers, and one involving two JBC and OPBF ranke fighters
The more intriguing of the two bouts is a 12 rounder that will see the once touted Hirofumi Mukai (12-4-3, 2) [向井 寛史] face recent world title challenger Inthanon Sithchamuang (30-8-1, 18) [อินทนนท์ ศิษย์ชะมวง].
Whilst Mukai has failed to reach the heights expected for him, hopes that were boosted after early career wins over wins Jin Man Keon and Sonny Boy Jaro, he is still a very solid and technical boxer who has beaten the likes of Mark John Yap and Konosuke Tomiyama in recent years. He has also fought in two world title bouts, facing Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
As for Inthanon, who is listed on boxrec under his birth name of Tanawat Phonnaku, his career includes a world title bout this uear, when he lost a wide decision to Kohei Kono but impressed with his reseilliency. Although that bout will likely be the crowning glory of his career he has also faced IBF champion JErwin Ancajas and former world title challenger Rocky Fuentes.
The other notable bout, also scheduled for 12 rounds according to our source, will see the unbeaten Masahiro Sakamoto (8-0, 4) [坂本 真宏] take on the once beaten Sho Kimura (12-1-2, 6) [木村 翔]. This really is a step up in class for Sakamoto, a graduate from the Osaka city Univercity and very well educated young man, whilst Kimura will be attempting to atend a 14 fight unbeaten run. The bout will likely see the winner pushed to a title fight of some sort in 2017 and is a really excitingly matched bout.
One other intriguing bout will see Japanese novice Naoto Iwai (2-0, 1) [岩井 尚斗] battle Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-27-3, 4) in a Super Flyweight bout over 6 rounds.
We're hoping to see Maruta's opponent named soon but it must be said that the card is strong one with other co-feature bouts being Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-5, 9) [細川 貴之] defending the OPBF Light Welterweight title Yutaka Oishi (13-5, 7) [大石 豊] and Koki Tyson (10-2-2, 10) [太尊 康輝] challenging OPBF Middleweight champion Dwight Ritchie (14-0-0-4, 1).
Earlier today we were informed that Filipino veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) would be off to Japan, for the third time in his career, for a bout with Japanese based Colombian Pablo Carrillo (18-4-1, 11).
The Filipino, who is 0-2 in Japan having lost to Ryo Miyazaki and Ryuji Hara, will be looking to build on a string of positive results, including a shock win over Michael Enriquez in February. That strong of results has seen him score two draws and a win following 4 straight losses in 10 months.
Although an experienced fighter, and one who is better than his record indicates, Mabao is only 27 and has got time left to turn his career around if he can continue to build some career momentum, something that has been a problem though his career with his biggest win, a decision over Florante Condes in 2012, being following by 15 months of inactivity. He can be a handful on his day, but has been matched hard and picked up losses Warlito Parrenas, Wisanu Kokietgym, Kwanthai Sithmorseng, Paipharob Kokietgym, Merlito Sabillo, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and the aforementioned Miyazaki, which have all resulted in leaving him with a messy record.
As for Carillo the bout will also be his third in Japan, following a loss in 2014 to Kazuto Ioka and a win last year against Jaipetch Chaiyonggym. Incidentally Kazuto Ioka's uncle, Hiroki Ioka, is now Carillo's manager in Japan and it will be Mr Ioka who will be promoting this bout, which will take place on April 17th at the EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka. In fact the bout will be one of the key under-card bouts on a show headlined by a Japanese 154lb title fight between Yuki Nonaka (28-8-3, 9) [野中 悠樹], the defending champion and a stablemate of Carrillo's, and mandatory challenger Yuto Shimizu (11-2-2, 4) [清水 優人].
Yesterday Filipino fans got a title studded card at the Taguig Sports Complex. The card, a relatively low profile one despite featuring numerous notable names, features a trio of intriguing title matches with two of those ending in genuine upsets.
The most notable of the bouts, at least for us, was the one title bout that went as expected.
That was a OPBF Flyweight title bout that saw talented Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) record the first defense of his title as he over-came fellow Filipino Jonathan Francisco (8-5-1, 2) with a unanimous decision. On paper this was a bit of a mismatch in favour of the often under-rated champion and it proved to be a confidence build first defense for a man who is likely to face much stiffer tests if his reign is to continue.
Francisco, fighting in his first title bout, did well to survive the 12 rounds but was never likely to over-come the champion, who really is one of the sports genuine gatekeepers at Flyweight.
It was at Flyweight where we saw one of the shows notable upsets. This time it was at the GAB level where veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) managed a shock decision win over Michael Enriquez (11-5-1, 7). Coming in to this one Mabao had gone 0-4-2 in his last 6, dating back more than 3 years, though managed to pull out a career saving performance to over-come Enriquez. Sadly for the loser this was his 3rd loss in 4 bouts, and it seems that his gutsy display against Rex Tso a year ago has essentially taken all he had.
Whilst Enriquez's loss was an upset it wasn't the biggest shock on the card. That was at 108lbs where Jonathan Refugio (15-4-4, 3) shocked former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-2-2, 12) in a bout for the WBC International Light Flyweight title. On paper this looked like a confidence builder for Claveras, who has scored a pair of wins since his sole loss last April, however it turns out that Refugio, who was 3-4 in his previous 7, hadn't read the script. Instead of lying down for the big punching Claveras fans saw a determined Refugio take the fight to Claveras and earn a well deserved decision win.
After the bout it was noted that Claveras was struggling to make 108lbs and it seems likely that he will now move up in weight.
Earlier today we were informed that highly experienced OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) was set to return to the ring on February 20th to defend his title against countryman Jonathan Francisco (8-4-1, 2).
The talented Diale will be making the first defense of the title that he won last December with a decision win over Renoel Pael whilst. That was Diale's second shot an OPBF title after coming up short, in 2014, to Koki Eto in an thrilling war that featured arguable the round of the year. Since that loss to Eto we've seen Diale go a very impressive 7-0 (5) with notable wins against Renerio Arizala, Jenny Boy Bua and Heri Amol.
For Francisco this will be his first title fight of his career and comes after a technical draw against former world chamoion Toshiyuki Igarashi, last November. Although Francisco hasn't got an unimpressive record he does hold a notable win over Jonas Sultan, albeit a split decision very early in the career of both men, and he is current on a 3 fight unbeaten run.
The bout will be one of 5 title bouts on the card, with others including a WBC International Light Flyweight contest between former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-1-2, 12), who is the defending champion, and countryman Jonathan Refugio (14-4-4, 3) and a potential FOTY candidate between Michael Enriquez (11-4-1, 7) and Donny Mabao (21-24-3, 4), who will be meeting for the vacant GAB Flyweight title.
Earlier today Japan's Ryuji Hara (17-0, 10) successfully claimed the OPBF Minimumweight title with a majority decision victory over the under-rated Filipino "Mr Shallow" Donny Mabao (21-21-1, 4).
Mabao, who was unable to win the title following his failure to make weight yesterday, where he was well over the weight, came to fight and made life very difficult for Hara who lacked the power to really hurt the bigger Mabao.
Although Hara's power didn't have the effect it had had on some of his previous opponent he did manage to hurt Mabao with body shots and in round 5 these became the key.
Unfortunately for Hara the bout turned out to be a bit more competitive than he may have expected coming in and although two of the judges had him as the winner with scores of 115-111 a third judge had the bout even at 113-113. Although many viewed Hara as the winner the fact all the cards were so close suggests that Hara isn't yet ready for a world title fight.
Although we don't think Hara is quite ready the fight himself seemed to indicate that he felt he was ready and that a world title was his next goal. At the moment we'd suggest he gets a few more fights under his belt though with Hara being an Ohashi Gym fighter their is every chance he will be getting a world title fight sooner rather than later.
(Photo courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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