Earlier today fans in the Philippines had the chance to catch an interesting looking card in Cebu City. The show, the latest in the ALA "Pinoy Pride" cards, was expected to see a number of young Filipino fighters face significant tests of their abilities. In some cases the local prospects were tested, whilst in other bouts the local hopefuls really had things all their own way.
One of the most testing bouts saw Filipino teenager Melchor Roda (3-1, 3) suffer a narrow loss to former Singaporean amateur star Muhamad Ridhwan (1-0). Ridhwan looked promising in the opening couple of rounds but was given a serious gut check in rounds 3 and 4 with Roda coming on very strong. Despite the loss for Roda he appears to have a lot more upside than the 28 year old Ridhwan who seems unlikely to become a fixture on the professional boxing scene.
Another youngster who got tested was Elmo Traya (11-1, 8) who was given a real gutcheck against former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-12-1, 8), Jakosalem gave a solid performance and although he came up short he proved that he could still hold his own with younger, fresh fighters. For Traya this was a big win, but one that seemed to receive some boos from the crowd, who perhaps felt he didn't deserve the victory.
Talking about gut checks, real credit needs to go to 19 year old Jeo Santisima (9-2, 8) who was dropped in round 2 before fighting back and stopping the much more experienced Marco Demecillo (21-5-1, 16), who turned his back following a well placed body shot. The win for Santisima was a 7th successive stoppage victory and by far his best win to date. For the once touted Demecillo however, this looks to be the continuation of his downfall and was his 4th loss in 6 bouts, and his 5th loss in 8.
Another man who is seemingly seeing his career fade away is former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-10-1, 23), who came up short against the unbeaten Melvin Jerusalem (9-0, 7). The 22 year old Jerusalem "only" got a majority decision win but seemed a clear winner as he made Condes look wild, stupid and crude, in fact at one point Condes missed and threw himself on to the canvas in an embarrassing scene for all involved. This really should be the end for Condes, though if he can still earn money off his name we suspect we'll see him suffering more losses to upcoming fighters.
In a well matched bout, at least on paper, fans saw Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) over-come Tony Rodriguez (3-2, 2). The very well regarded Cataraja was taken the distance for the first time in his young career but always looked too good for Rodrgiuez, who struggled to claim more than a round on the judges scorecards. The 8 round win for Cataraja will have done his development a world of good, but it's now time he was in there with someone trying to win.
When it comes to opponents not trying to win, the description seems apt for Nicaraguan Yesner Talavera (15-4-1, 4), who put up very little offense against Albert Pagara (26-0, 18). Pagara looked in control for 11 of the 12 rounds, with Talavera putting some offensive work forward in round 11, but following a knockdown by Pagara in round 7 the Nicaraguan did little other than survive. The win saw Pagara retain the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title but the performance of Talavera will leave this bout as one to forget.
Pagara's bout was the main event however it's fair to say that Mark Magsayo (13-0, 10) put on the better performance, as he did everything but stop Eduardo Montoya (17-5-1, 13), in a bout for the WBO Youth Featherweight title. The talented Magsayo may have failed to score the stoppage but he's now gone 10 rounds and has proven that he can do the distance at a solid pace.
One other bout on this card saw Esneth Domingo (2-0, 2) blow away Vic Ejercito (0-2) in less than 150 seconds.
We love seeing fighters step up in a big way and on February 27th it seems we'll be seeing just that for unbeaten youngster Melvin Jerusalem (8-0, 7) who is set to leap up in class and face former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-9-1, 23).
The little known Jerusalem, known as "Gringo", turns 22 just days before the fight but will be hoping to continue his rise through the ranks. That rise began on his debut, back in July 2014, but really began to take off last year when he claimed a notable 2nd round TKO win over Crison Omayao, who had taken Xiong Zhao Zhong 10 rounds just weeks earlier in an OPBF title bout.
To date Jerusalem's best win has been the one over Omayao, which occurred last November, and that was his 7th successive stoppage win after being taken the distance on his debut. It was also the 6th time that he has scored a stoppage in the first 2 rounds with only Mark Anthony Florida, last June, going beyond 4 rounds with the heavy handed youngster.
Whilst Jerusalem is looking to record his biggest win to date it's fair to say that Condes is just looking to get some career momentum going again. The heavy handed former champion has been a professional since June 2002 and went on to claim the GAB Minimumweight title in 2005 before later claiming the IBF crown in 2007, dethroning Muhammad Rachman. Sadly Condes's reign didn't last long and he has since gone 7-6. Whilst that seems bad it should be noted that he has suffered losses to Raul Garcia, Nkosinathi Joyi, Wanheng Menayothin, Hekki Budler and Ryoichi Taguchi, all world level fighters, and his only other loss was a controversial majority decision to Donny Mabao.
For fans in attendance at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel & Casino for "Pinoy Pride 35" this really could be the stand out bout on the card and it's a really intriguing match up.
Saturday wasn't all about the OPBF and Japanese Middleweight title fight between Akio Shibata and Hikarua Nishida and the card featured another, arguably more interesting, contest between former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (20-2-1, 8) and former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-9-1, 23), of the Philippines.
The bout, an 8 rounder agreed at a 106lb catch weight, was arguably the show stealing bout and had everything including major drama and competitive action.
It was Condes who scored first blood scoring a knockdown of the Japanese fighter in the second round. Condes, a major puncher, went for the kill as Taguchi got up and the bout could have been stopped had the referee deemed fit to do so, Taguchi was staying in on heart alone before the bell saved from what would have been his first stoppage loss.
Condes continued to be a danger in rounds 3 and 4 though as we entered the second half of the fight the Japanese fighter seemed to begin to take control of the action and did enough to over-come the 10-8 second round. It seemed that Condes, aged 34, simply begin to show signs of his age which allowed Taguchi, the younger man at 27, to come on strong with his younger legs.
Although, at the time of writing, Boxrec.com are stating the result was a split decision with Taguchi winning with scores of 76-73, twice, and losing on the third card by a score of 74-75 we've been informed from our Japanese sources that the scores were all in favour of Taguchi and read 77-74, twice, and 76-75. We're unsure where the confusion has come from but, for now, we'd take the result as out Japanese friends have reported it. Oddly all the cards differ by 2 points which could indicate confusion over the knockdown.
Although Condes lost his manager does seem hopeful of securing him another world title fight somewhere down the line. Unfortunately for him the Minimumweight division is packed with fighters all inking up big fights however if he chooses to campaign at Light Flyweight he might well find openings for himself in some very tasty looking bouts. As for Taguchi, who lasted the schedule in a great effort against Naoya Inoue, this will likely see him reassess his future and we imagine he will be staying at Light Flyweight if not actually moving up to Flyweight. If Taguchi intends to remain at Light Flyweight we would love to see him facing off against OPBF champion Jonathan Taconing in what would be a thrilling contest between under-rated fighters.
For those who are interested in watching the Inoue/Taguchi fight we've uploaded the video here. We hope to add the Taguchi/Condes fight to our library as well, though at the moment it's not become available for ourselves.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today saw Watanabe Gym release the poster for their upcoming show from the Korakuen Hall and in all honesty we've got to admit we like both the poster and the card.
The show, the 526th "Dynamic Glove" card is headlined by Japanese OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (22-8-1, 9) defending his unified crown against Hikaru Nishida (10-6-1, 3). We know many will suggest this is a mismatch but Nishida is much better than his record indicates and he is 6-1 in his last 7 including a win over Makoto Fuchigami and one over Kazuhiko Hidaka, both of those wins being impressive results.
If you look at the poster you would likely recognise more than just Shibata. One of the other fighters you might be able to pick out is former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (19-2-1, 8) who will be in action for just the second time since his loss to Naoya Inoue last year. Taguchi will be fighting former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-8-1, 23) in a bout that we are really looking forward to.
One of the other recognisable fighters on the poster is former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuji Wauke (17-4-1, 8) who will be fighting against Jonel Gadapan (8-6-1, 4) in what should be little more than a stay busy contest for Wauke.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
Earlier today saw an excellent bout announced for the brilliant July 5th card at the Korakuen Hall.
The card, which will be headlined by Akio Shibata (22-8-1, 9) defending his OPBF and Japanese Middleweight titles, has seen the addition of a bout between former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-8-1, 23), of the Philippines, and Ryoichi Taguchi (19-2-1, 8).
Condes is best known for his thrilling victory over Muhammad Rachman in Indonesia back in 2007 to win the title. Unfortunately since then however he's gone 5-5 and been beaten by the likes Raul Garcia, Nkosinathi Joyi, Wanheng Menayothin, Hekkie Budler and Donny Mabao.
As for Taguchi, a former Japanese national champion, this will be his second bout following his decision loss to superstar youngster Naoya Inoue. In that bout he managed to give Inoue more questions than anyone else though was the clear loser despite showing real grit and toughness to see out the 10 round schedule.
This is genuinely one of the most exciting "fringe level" match ups we've seen announced in a long time and we'd expect that the winner will be moved on to an OPBF title fight, if not a world title fight, by the end of the year.
Incidentally Shibata and Taguchi are stable mates at the Watanabe Gym.
(Image, of Taguchi, courtesy of http://watanabegym.com)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!