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)
Unbeaten Japanese hopeful Naoto Uebayashi to battle highly ranked Filipino Giovanni Escaner on April 22nd
We've known for a while that Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) would be back in the ring on April 22nd at the next "Fighting Bee" show. What we didn't know, until earlier today, is who he would be fighting. Given the fact that the show is only 4 weeks away we were fearing the worst and suspect that Uebayashi would be fighting someone with no real value, a brought in journeyman with an inflated record or a Thai body donor.
Thankfully, and surprisingly, we were informed that Uebayashi's opponent won't be a typical lesser foe, instead it will be the highly regarded Filipino punched Giovanni Escaner (12-3, 8). Not only is Escaner a good fighter but he is a man with proven quality, a record of travelling and a #4 OPBF ranking, albeit at Flyweight.
Escaner will be known by hardcore Japanese fans for his surprising 7th round TKO victory over Junichi Ebisuoka last November, giving Ebisuoka just his 5th stoppage loss in 47 fights. Whilst that is the sole standout win on Escaner's record he did run Marco Demecillo very close in a 2013 meeting and managed to go 12 rounds with former world champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai in October 2013.
On paper Escaner has gone 2-3 in his last 5 though he has been competitive in all 3 losses, including his stoppage loss to Jason Canoy and is far from a push over. Not only is her better than his record suggests but he's also a very solid puncher and we've seen Uebayashi go down several times in his career, not a good combination for the unbeaten Japanese fighter who same have tipped as a potential world title challenger.
Although Escaner is ranked at Flyweight he does seem to be a natural Super Flyweight, this bout however will be fought at Bantamweight where the size advantage could be Uebayashi's key to victory.
Promising prospect pair in action on April 22nd!
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