According to multiple sources a WBO Flyweight world title defense has been arranged for July 27th, with aggressive and exciting champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) [木村翔] set to defend his belt against Filipino challenger Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19), with the bout set to be Kimura's second defense and Saludar's first world title fight.
Kimura, who won the belt last year in a huge upset win over Zou Shiming, became a bit of a minor celebrity in the country after stopping the 2-time Olympic champion. His popularity there has seen Chinese fans clamour for him to return to the country and that appears to have been part of the reason why the Aoki gym fighter will be battling Saludar in the country.
Since winning the title back in July 2017, Kimura has fought just once, stopping Toshiyuki Igarashi last December to retain his title. Interesting his stoppage over Shiming came on July 28th last year and the scheduled date for the Saludar fight is the day before his anniversary of his break out win.
As for Saludar he was once tipped as the next big star of the Philippines, but his career hasn't gone the way many haf expected. Almost a year out of action between September 2012 and September 2013 slowed down the Filipino's rise whilst a knockout loss in 2014 to McWilliams Arroyo totally put the breaks on his charge to the top. He would bounce back from that loss, but was defeated in 2016 by Takuma Inoue and has been matched softly since then whilst going 5-0 (5)
Interestingly just 2 weeks befotre this bout Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) [山中 竜也] will defend the WBO Minimumweight title against Froilan's brother Vic Saludar (17-3, 10), with both of the Saludar brother's looking to become world champion in the space of just 14 days.
Back in late 2015 we saw Vic Saludar (14-3, 9) drop the then WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka, before being stopped a few rounds later by the Japanese youngster. At the time it seemed like the set back would be a learning experience for the big hitting Saludar who looked like a potential world champion in the making. Sadly for Saludar that loss wasn't the start of big things, and yesterday his career took a huge hit as 21 year old Toto Landero (9-1-2, 2) scored a split decision win, and gave his career a huge shot in the arm.
The under-rated Landero, a relative unknown outside of the Philippines, had been stopped last September by Joey Canoy, and was expected to suffer another stoppage loss here. He however ghadn't read the script and continually pressed the action against Saludar, who struggled to get going, and always looked to second guessing himself. It was the aggression, and relentlessness of Landero that simply proved too much, and in the later rounds a tiring Saludar looked like a man who had little left to offer.
At the final bell the scores were 97-93, twice, for Landero, and 96-94 for Saludar.
It wasn't all bad for the Saludar family as older brother Froilan Saludar (25-2-1, 16) scored a 9th round TKO over the brave but out-matched Salatiel Amit (10-3-2, 7) in a supporting bout. Amit was dropped in rounds 1 and 5 before being stopped late due to swelling around his left eye.
Other results from the under-card included a 10 round unanimous decision win for the heavy handed 18 year old Vince Paras (11-0, 9), who out pointed Jimboy Haya (10-4-2, 6), and claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Light Flyweight title, and a 4th round KO win for Robert Paradero (14-0, 9), who stopped Charlie Malupangue (5-3-3, 4) in 4 rounds.
NOTE - The following write up is of a bout being aired on tape delay on Fuji TV - As a result this may feature spoilers for those watching that show.
Through much of his career so far promising Japanese youngster Takuma Inoue (8-0, 2) [井上 拓真] has had things all his own way, being able to out box contenders with ease and making the most of his speed and technical ability. Today however he was given a serious test by Filipino Froilan Saludar (23-2-1, 14), who came up short but saw his stock immeasurably.
The bout saw Inoue enter as a very clear betting favourite. In the eyes of many this was just the next step towards becoming a world champion, like his brother Naoya. What those people forgot was the fact that Saludar was a highly capable fighter with a long and impressive amateur resume before turning professional himself.
The skills and power of Saludar showed early and he dropped Inoue very early in the bout, giving himself an early 10-8 round and putting Inoue in an awful position for what was expected to be an easy win. The Japanese fighter regrouped well and made some defensive adjustments before taking the fight to Saludar in round 2, with the Filipino looking to land powerful right hands.
By the end of round 5 Inoue was in the lead, but he was being forced to fight hard for every round and it was clear Saludar was fighting with a point to prove. The Japanese youngster was looking like a man who knew Saludar was to be respect, and at several points in the second half of the fight he was forcing Inoue to back up. That backing up was however used well by Inoue who dropped Saludar late in round 8 to score a 10-8 round himself.
Having lost a number of the rounds following his early success Saludar tried to turn the bout around in round 9 but suffered a knockdown of his own very late in round 9. The knockdown essentially forced Saludar to go for the KO in the final round, he did go for it, but was unable to land the big shots.
Despite the knockdown in round 1 Inoue was the worthy winner, with scores of 97-90, twice, and 96-91. Whilst he got the win the bout will serve as a serious wake up call to the youngster who was supposed to be getting a world title fight in his next bout, but may be forced to wait after today's performance. For Saludar the loss was a “good one” and keeps him looking like a fringe contender, rather than as a gate keeper and he may just be one or two decent performances from a title fight of his own.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans tuning in to Fuji TV will get the chance to see Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) [井上 拓真] risk his unbeaten record against Filipino Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14). The bout puts two world ranked fighters up against each other and the winner is expected to move into a world title fight in the next 12 months.
On paper the bout looks like a really serious test for Inoue however the youngster is the clear betting favourite, priced at around 1/16 to pick up the win and advance to a world title bout, likely at Bantamweight next year.
Saludar on the other hand is very well priced at around 8/1, though one bookies have him priced as a 13/1, a clear under-dog suggesting that bookies aren't giving him much of a shot.
The Filipino should be the under-dog but given that he was once tipped as a major star he is perhaps worth a small bet, and he does have talent and power, though perhaps lacks the natural strength or speed to compete with the very highly regarded Inoue.
For those who are viewing the bout as being a close one the draw is generally available at 25/1!
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) [井上 拓真] face off against Filipino Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14) in a 10 bout at a contracted 53KG's (116.85lbs).
Today the two men weighed in for their both and both comfortably made the weight.
Inoue came in the heavier of the two men, weighing in at 116.6lbs. The weight was the highest of his career and became another sign that he was possibly looking at developing into a fully fledged Bantamweight in the near future.
The Filipino came in at a much lighter 115.3lbs. Despite being well under the limit it was also a career heaviest for Saludar who looked in good shape but far from exceptional with it being clear he hadn't been forced to dehydrate to make the contracted limit.
The big is a great opportunity for Saludar to get his career back on track against the inexperienced Inoue however the Japanese fighter is said to be viewing this bout as a world title prelude and a win for Inoue is likely to see him rewarded by a world title fight in the very near future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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