Earlier this month news broke to announce that Top Rank promoted Asian fighters would feature on a card in November, in what is actually looking like a pretty interesting card.
The show, which will take place on November 2nd in Carson California, is little with notable names, even of the card isn't the most competitive, but should provide some explosive action.
One of those Asian fighters is IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21), who looks to make his 8th defense of the title as he goes up against little known Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15). For Rodriguez this will be his first bout since beating Felipe Orucuta, who ended up in a coma following the bout. There has to be questions about Rodriguez's mental state coming in to this bout, which is legitimately a huge step up in class. As for Ancajas the bout sees him continue his current string of bouts against under-whelming challengers, such as recent mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai [船井 龍一], who proved to be the perfect foil for the Filipino.
The other notable Asian on the card is the once beaten Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) [岡田 博喜], who takes on 2008 Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8). This will be Okada's first bout since being stopped by Raymundo Beltran in a thriller back in February, whilst Molina will be hoping to record a 4th straight win. Molina is a technical fighter, who has been in good form after taking more than 2 years away from the ring, but someone who doesn't have much bang on his punches. Okada on the other hand can bang, but will be coming into the bout on the back of losing his unbeaten record.
The card will be headlined by Miguel Berchelt (36-1, 32) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title against Jason Sosa (23-3-4, 16), in what is expected to be an explosive bout, but also a showcase for the champion.
Last month we saw Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) [岡田 博喜] lose his unbeaten record, in a brilliant fight with veteran Raymundo Beltran (36-8-1-1, 22). Following that loss Okada spent a fair bit of time away from the ring, but return to full scale training yesterday as he begins to get back into fighting condition for his next bout.
At the moment there is no details on when Okada will fight again, but it's clear he has not lost his hunger, despite his recent defeat.
Okada is still young enough, and talented enough to rebuild from his loss to Beltran. He would likely be an under-dog to most top 20 fighters, but he does have the skills to pick up the occasional upset, and we wouldn't be surprised to see his next bout being a relatively significant one.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
The final bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend ended up being a fight that swung back and forth in what was a pulsating and genuinely enjoyable contest, even though it saw Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) [岡田 博喜] lose his unbeaten record to former WBO Lightweight world champion Raymundo Beltran (36-8-1-1, 22).
The fight started in competitive fashion, with Okada boxing well behind his jab in the opening round, whilst Beltran brought pressure. It was a great round that saw both have moments, but didn't really serve as any notice for what we were going to get in the second round.
Round 2 saw Beltran pick up the intensity, walking through a number of Okada right hands and land a huge left hand to drop Okada, who seemed to be caught off balance more than actually being hurt. Okada would beat the count but find himself under intense pressure from the restart. That pressure saw Beltran have success, but eat a huge right that buckled his legs and left himself open to a big combination as Okada looked to force a stoppage. It was one of the rounds of the year, and saw both guys hurt badly.
Beltran would bounce back from being rocked to have a fantastic third round, pressurising Okada through the 3 minutes. Both men were cut, with Okada's looking the worse of the two cuts, and Beltran seemed to be easily dictating the fight with his pressure. The following round was another good one for the veteran, who continued to press the fight, cornering Okada several times, whilst neutralising Okada's jab.
Beltran had put a lot into the early rounds and in round 5 he began to look his 37 years of age. He was looking tired, taking his foot totally off the gas and Okada managed made the most of things, establishing his jab, and using his movement to take the round. Beltran again looked tired in round 6, a round that saw him staying on the outside, and almost fighting like he was trying to get his second wind. The pace had completely dropped from the early stages as both men changed tactics. The fight began to turn back around in the 7th round however as Beltran began to come forward again. Beltran's pressure didn't have the same intensity it had had earlier in the fight, but it was almost like he was moving through the gears again. By then Beltran's right eye was starting to swell shut, but he was getting his second wind.
Round 8 was a messy one. Beltran again came forward, but Okada neutralised a lot of the pressure with clinches, he knew it wasn't a good idea to trade on the inside. It was a messy round, but one that began to get more and more exciting as it went on, as as Beltran began to get more success from his pressure. That pressure really went up again in round 9 as Okada completely failed to create distance. Beltran would drop Okada with a hard right hand. This time he was hurt badly, and Beltran knew he had his man, unloading until Okada's team stopped the bout and saved their man, who had shown guts to stay up but had began to take huge shots from the Mexican.
For Okada this will be a huge disappointment. He looked better than he had on his US debut, but was unable to establish his range for much of the fight. For Beltran however this win opens the door to a potential WBC world title fight later in the year.
Later today we'll see unbeaten Japanese fighter Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13) [岡田 博喜] battle former WBO Lightweight world champion Raymundo Beltran (35-8-1-1, 21) in a mouth watering clashing.
Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men came in under the 140lb limit.
Okada was 139.6lbs on the scales whilst Beltran was slightly lighter at 139lbs.
It's worth noting that Okada is lighter than he has ever been, whilst Beltran is the heaviest of his career.
Related - Okada and Beltran set to battle in must win bout!
(Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank).
We are now just a few days away from the anticipated match up between Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13) [岡田 博喜] and former WBO Lightweight world champion Raymundo Beltran (35-8-1-1, 21). Yesterday Okada took part in his public work out and looked in good condition and good shape whilst hitting the pads with trainer Yuta Ishihara. He seemed relaxed and certainly appears to be happy with his preparation for the bout with Beltran.
The public part of Okada's work out was certainly not too intensive, though he did look sharp and fast, and he didn't seem bothered by the press when giving interviews through a translator. Telling the press "It is a very important game and may win a new opportunity if you win, I would like you to expect from my speed and technique," with it being clear that a win here could open the door to a WBC title fight later in the year.
We've been told that Okada has around 2.5Kg's to lose, though weight loss has gone well so far and it doesn't seem like it's going to be any issue making 140lbs for the bout.
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