Filipino fighter Giovanni Escaner (19-4, 12) showed his value in an exciting bout with touted American Joshua Greer Jr (20-1-1, 12) on Friday night, despite losing in the 8th round from a nasty body shot.
The Filipino, who was riding a good 8 fight winning run, looked to set the pace from the off, pressing the fight and coming forward. That style made the fight tough for Greer, who used his speed well to maintain some distance from the Filipino and landed some solid body shots. The styles gelled brilliantly, with Greer being caught quite a bit against the ropes. The opening round action became more intense in a thrilling second round, that saw more trading, and saw Escaner have more success with his pressure. It was the round of the fight and seemed to force Greer into a change of tactics, as he was tagged more than he would have wanted to be.
In round 3 Greer started to move more, using the ring and his faster feet to neutralise the pressure of Escaner. The tactic was a smart one from the American who fought smartly for around 2 minutes 58 seconds of the round, but was dropped right on the bell as he dropped his hands and was caught. It was proof that Escaner could hurt his man, but also proof that Greer could make his life very easy by moving more and using his brain. Greer would begin to show more intelligence in the ring, continuing to use his movement more, and picking his spots, unloading big combinations when he was comfortable. It seemed like Greer was putting a lot into his combinations, but when he was having his moments he was catching the eye, and managing to get plenty of body shots through. Those body shots seemed to take their toll on Escaner who began to slow down as the rounds went on, and it became harder and harder for Escaner to get their shots off.
By the end of round 7 Greer began to stand toe-to-toe with Escaner. Earlier in the fight this could have caused issues for the American, but a lot of the sting was being lost from Escaner's shots and Greer was beginning to push him back. It felt very much like Escaner was breaking down, and Greer was still there with plenty in the tank. Greer's confidence was high and he went into round 8 with the intention of continuing a phone booth war. Part way through the round, when the two men were both trading, Greer landed a solid body shot. It took a moment or two, but Escaner would drop in agony and take the 10 count.
Despite the loss Escaner certainly showed what he could do and grew his following, likely to the point where he will get another bout in the US. As for Greer this is his 17th straight win, and doors will surely be open to him going forward.
The bout wasn't a FOTY contender, by any stretch, but was genuinely fun to watch, and both men proved that they could be very TV friendly, which is always a good thing.
The next few days are packed with interesting match ups, some of which have gone a bit over-looked. One of those is the Bantamweight clash between once beaten American Joshua Greer Jr (19-1-1, 11) and Filipino Giovanni Escaner (19-3, 12). On paper this is one of the best bouts taking place on Friday, yet in the eyes of many is a mismatch, with the bookies also seeing the contest as a foregone conclusion.
With the UK bookies Greer is a 5/19 favourite to win the bout, and extend his current winning record to 17 fights. Coming in he is unbeaten since December 2015, when he was beaten by the then 7-0 Stephen Fulton, in a result that saw Greer's record fall to 3-1-1 (2). Escaner on the other hand is available at 50/11 to win, and extend his own 8 fight winning run, which has included strong wins over Naoto Uebayashi and Rene Dacquel. The draw is available as high as 33/1.
Interesting the bout has a method of victory market available for it. A Greer decision win is available at events, whilst Greer by stoppage is available at 2/1. A stoppage for Escaner, who has stopped 5 of his last 8, is 9/1. A decision for the Filipino is 12/1.
It's also worth noting that the bout has been priced at 4/7 to go the distance and 11/8 to end early.
On May 8th we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8) [井上 尚弥] defending his title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). Today, ahead of that bout, Inoue took part in a public training session that saw fans being invited to seeing the talented young champion preparing for his upcoming contest.
The session saw Inoue sparring with a pair of Filipino fighters, Giovanni Escaner (14-3, 10) and Raymart Gaballo (12-0, 10), with both giving Inoue a good work out, but the champion did get the better of both of them, whilst displaying his criminally under-rated foot work against them.
After the spar he said he was feeling a little bit tired, bit did seem very confident of beating Carmona and it's obvious that Inoue is still improving as a fighter, and still developing as a young man.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's fair to say almost every boxing fan was focusing on the action in Osaka earlier today, however there was also a show that took place in Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall. This card didn't feature any world title bouts, in fact it featured no title bouts at all, however it did feature a number of really interesting match ups across a variety of levels.
One of those bouts saw unheralded Filipino Giovanni Escander (13-3, 9), who was ranked #3 by the OPBF at Flyweight, battle against touted Japanese prospect Naoto Uebayashi (7-1-1, 4), who was ranked #13 by the OPBF at Bantamweight.
On paper this was supposed to be another win for Uebayashi. He was "the bigger man" and had been hyped from early in his career following a notable amateur career that had seen him compile an excellent record of 88-14 (47) record. On paper Escaner was going to be the smaller, lighter, weaker fighter and the "designated loser" if you will
In reality however things couldn't have been much different to the expectations as Escaner proved his strength and ability. Instead of being respectful of his taller foe the Filipino was bullish and took the fight to Uebayashi. Almost from the off it was clear that Escaner was the stronger and more powerful man, a real worry for Uebayashi who had looked fragile at times in his career, notably being dropped by unknown Thai Imron Lookkhlongtan in his second professional bout and was also dropped by domestic foe Yusaku Kuga just 2 fights later.
Uebayashi was down again here, relatively early on before both men ended up being cut. The knockdown should have served as a reminder to Uebayashi that his chin wasn't the best and that he had to use his length advantage if he was going to win. Instead however Escaner repeatedly got inside and in round 8 he finally finished off the Japanese fighter who really has a lot of rebuilding to do if he's to even reach domestic title level.
For Escaner this was potentially a break out win. It was his second notable stoppage win in Japan, following a 7th round TKO against Junichi Ebisuoka last November. His record may not suggest it but as he proved here he's a fighter with the style, strength and toughness to really be a handful and we'd not be shocked to see him fighting in a title bout next time out, either domestically or at the OPBF level.
Much of the focus regarding tomorrow's boxing is being focused on Osaka where Japanese fans will get two world title fights as well as Japanese title fight and several other bouts of note. Whilst the Osaka card is a really exciting show it's far from the only card of the day and in Tokyo fans get another very good looking show with several intriguing match ups.
One of those bouts is a really intriguing Bantamweight clash between unbeaten Japanese prospect Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) and promising Filipino Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8).
Today the weigh in for that bout took place and we have been informed both men have made the weight, though no specifics have been given to us thus far.
Coming into this bout Escaner is ranked #3 by the OPBF at Flyweight, despite typically fighting as a Super Flyweight, whilst Uebayashi is ranked #13 at Bantamweight by the OPBF. Despite the difference in how they are ranked this bout is still expected to be something very exciting given Escaner's style and power and Uebayashi's fragility, that has already seen him being dropped several times in his short career.
On the same card will also be Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2), a stable mate of Uebayashi's. From what we've been told both Marugame and his opponent, Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2), have made weight for their Super Bantamweight clash.
(Image of Uebayashi and Escaner courtesy of http://box-fitness-gym.com)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!