On Friday fight fans in Shenzhen had a chance to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Wenfeng Ge (11-0, 6) [葛文峰] score his second successive major win, as he over-came talented Filipino foe Ivan Soriano (18-2-1, 9) to claim the WBO International Flyweight title.
Last November Ge put himself on the map, beating Amnat Ruenroeng and getting a sense of revenge for China who had seen Amnat inflict a loss on the then Chinese golden boy Zou Shiming. Today he proved that that win wasn't just a freak win as he defeated Soriano with a clear decision,
The bout started quickly but Ge's superior natural strength and size gave him the upper hand, soaking up the bigger shots of Soriano with no issue whilst landing his own, much more telling, shots. It wasn't until the second half of the fight, where Ge slowed, that Soriano had any major success, with rounds 7 and 10 being two of his best. By then however the Filipino was a long way behind on the score-cards and was unable to keep up the pace, with his legs looking very tired in the final round.
After 12 rounds the judges were all in agreement with Wenfeng taking the win, courtesy of scores of 117-111, twice, and 116-112.
The win pushes Ge one step closer towards a world title fight, though exposed a number of defensive flaws that he'll want to tidy up before facing a world class foe, such as current WBO world champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔], or his upcoming challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成].
Back in September we saw Filipino fighter Edward Heno (11-0-5, 5) travel to Japan and stop Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) [荻堂 盛太] to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title, doing so in impressive fashion following a draw with Ogido earlier in the year. Sadly for the new champion his reign has already come to an end with a report from the Philippines saying that Heno has been stripped, and boxrec also listing a vacant title fight later this year.
Apparently Heno will be unable to defend the belt at the OPBF convention in November, and rather than the OPBF showing some common sense they have decided to strip the champion and set up a bout between Rey Loreto (23-14, 15) and Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8), which will take place on November 10th at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum, in Palawan.
The decision to strip Heno is based on the fighter wanting to spend time with his sick son, and not having enough time to prepare for a fighter like Loreto, especially given that the Heno fight was only a few weeks earlier. The logical idea of having an interim title fight between Loreto and Soriano seems to have passed the OPBF by, despite the fact the same show will have an OPBF "interim" Featherweight title fight on it between Lorence Rosas (8-1-2, 2) and Jelbirt Gomera (12-4, 6), with Gomera getting the shot on the back of 3 successive losses to Asian opponents.
Although the OPBF seem to be hiding behind their rule book, the decision is certainly one that doesn't appear to have been made in great faith and leaves the body open to a lot of questions about their treatment of fighters, like Heno.
(Story originally broken by the fantastic Ryan Songalia of Rappler, with his full story available here)
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