We are now just over 1 month away from the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight final between Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), who will battle for the WBA, IBF and Ring magazine titles as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy and training has been amped up.
Today Inoue invited the press in for another media work out, this time sparring with long term sparring partner Genesis Servania (33-2, 16), and spoke about the preparations for Donaire.
Through today's spar Inoue looked fantastic, and it really seemed like he had gone up a gear following similar spars for the press in recent weeks against Sho Nakazawa (12-4, 6) [中澤奨]. The punches from Inoue were razor sharp through out, making thudding noises when he landed, and his movement was fantastic with his footwork coming close to befuddling Servania at times. It was clear that this was Inoue taking things up a level.
It was revealed that Servania is a sparring partner for general conditioning, and that another notable Filipino has been brought into camp to act as a virtual Donaire. That is the role of Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), who Hideyuki Ohashi described as having a similar left hook to that of Donaire. Of course it's Donaire's left hook that is seen as his danger punch, so scouting that against with a similarly thrown one is important for Inoue and his preparations.
Interestingly in the past Pagara has sparred with Donaire and and he praised Inoue for having better power, footwork and speed than Donaire. Ranked #2 by the WBO at Super Bantamweight this is expected to be brilliant sparring for Pagara as well, before be eventually moves on to get his first world title fight.
Than plan is for Inoue to spar regularly until the middle of the month, before cutting down the sparring as he heads into the final weeks of his camp and final preparations are put together for facing Donaire.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
According to reliable Japanese sources former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) has been added to the August 24th card at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena, in Nagoya. Not only has he been added to the card, but we also know his opponent for the show.
The talented, though flawed, Servania was last seen in action back in February, when he was almost shut out by the talented, but light hitting, Carlos Castro in Fresno California. That bout showed how limited Servania was when a fighter moved, and used speed and movement, rather than stood and traded with him, as Oscar Valdez did in their thrilling 2017 WBO world title fight. Sadly the loss to Castro killed all the momentum that Servania had and has left his career in need of a real rebuild from the Kashimi Gym which now manage him.
The first step of that rebuilding process will see Servania take on limited Indonesian journeyman Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3) in an 8 round bout being fought at a contracted 57.6KG's, or just under 127lbs.
As mentioned this will be Servania's first bout since losing to Castro in February. For Deztroyer however it will be his first bout since being dominated in April by Mark Magsayo, who stopped him in 4 rounds. That was Deztroyer's first bout in over a year, and he really took a hammering before being stopped, in what was his second stoppage loss. Interestingly this will be the second time Deztroyer has fought in Japan, and the second time he'll have fought a former world title challenger, having lost to Hiroshige Osawa in November 2017 in Sanda, Hyogo.
The bout has been added as a swing bout on the card which will be headlined by Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending his WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) of Puerto Rico. That card will also feature Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) [畑中 建人]taking on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12).
Back on May 1st we saw a thrilling Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] just retained his title, fighting to a draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. After the bout their was talk about a rematch, and talk about Minamoto potentially moving up. We'll be honest and admit we wanted to see a rematch, the first really was that good, though today the hope of a rematch was ended.
The decision has been made by Minamoto to abandon the division and begin campaigning at Super Featherweight, due to issues making the 126lb weight limit. Whilst that does ruin hope of a rematch it's not a bad thing for fans who are now set to get another hard hitting in the already stacked Japanese Super Featherweight picture and a number of potentially interesting bouts to fill the title void at Featherweight.
For the vacant title we would expect to see Abe fighting for the belt again next, with likely opponent being highly ranked by the JBC. The #2 ranked fighter, behind Abe, is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) and we would certainly expect that to be an amazing match up. Others ranked highly by the JBC include Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], who would look to avenge a 2015 loss to Abe, the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼], former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] and super talented youngster Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太]. Any of those 5 possible foes against Abe would be great.
With Minamoto moving up he will find himself linked to fights against the likes of Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] and former world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪], among others. Though, for now,m he'd be unable to challenge for the OPBF title held by Watanabe gym stablemate Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓], who defends that title in July.
Whilst it's obviously a shame we won't see Abe and Minamoto run it back with a rematch, the move up in weight for Minamoto is better for his health, and really changes the dynamic on the Japanese scene at both Featherweight and Super Featherweight.
Earlier today WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] took part in a 4 round spar in front of the media.
The spar saw Inoue share the ring with former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), as he continues to prepare for his May clash with IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12).
The spar saw Inoue looking super sharp with his jab being particularly crisp, and landing to both head and body of Servania.
Although Servania has often been a sparring partner for Inoue, especially in the last couple of years, he was seemingly playing the role of a "virtual" Rodriguez today, and Inoue stated, “The hairstyle and height are similar to Rodrigues, so it is easy to imagine. I want to confirm what I want to do.” It appears that Servania had a haircut in an attempt to look more like Rodriguez and to imitate him, without Inoue or his team even needing to ask the Japanese based Filipino.
Inoue, who turns 26 years old tomorrow, was wearing new sparring gear, bought for him by promoter Hideyuki Ohashi as a birthday present. The new gear is said to be very similar to what he's planning to wear against Rodriguez in Glasgow.
Inoue's sparring will continue with Servania over the coming days, whilst other Filipino and top amateurs will join in as Inoue continues to sharpen his tools ahead of the Rodriguez clash, in what will be a WBSS semi final.
(Image courtesy off Nikkan Sports)
On Sunday night in Fresno fans were able to witness several upsets, one of which saw former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) suffer a surprise loss to the little known Carlos Castro (22-0, 9) in a contest for the WBC Continental America's Super Bantamweight title.
The bout pitted two of Top Rank's fighters against each other with both knowing a win would open big doors to a potential world title fight later in the year. Going in Servania was the betting favourite, he had impressed on his US debut, losing a competitive fight with Oscar Valdez, and reeled off 3 KO wins since then, including one against fellow world title challenger Carlos Carlson. Castro however refused to play the role of under-dog loser, and made it clear from the off that he wasn't there to play second fiddle to the Filipino.
From the opening moments Castro looked sharp, quick and like a man with the perfect gameplan. He was using his speed to get in and out, firing off and getting away before Servania could respond. Castro's unwillingness to hold his feet made Servania look silly at times, and inactive at others as the unbeaten man racked up the early rounds by fighting smartly.
Servania would look to cut the distance, but struggle to land more than an occasional shot in the early rounds. Those occasional blows became rarer in the later rounds as his legs lost their snap, and even though Castro's output didn't increase late on he was still out working Servania.
After 10 rounds there was no questions as to who won, with Castro taking the decision 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92.
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