Earlier today in China fight fans had the chance to catch a WBC Silver Flyweight title bout, as under-rated Filipino Jayr Raquinel (10-1-1, 7) took on Chinese local Wulan Tuolehazi (9-3-1, 4).
For the Filipino this was a third straight bout on the road, following back-to-back wins in Japan, and he showed no fear of being on the road once again.
For the local the bout saw him riding a 7 fight unbeaten run, including notable wins over Noldi Manakane and Kwanthai Sithmorseng and he knew that another win here would open the door to a potential WBC world title bout.
The fight started with Raquinel on the front foot and it seemed clear he was the more naturally aggressive fighter, something we'd seen from his bouts in Japan. Tuolehazi seemed to feel his best chance to win was to pick his spots, fight off the back foot and look to counter the Filipino. At times that worked for the Chinese fighter, but he struggled to get the respect of the Filipino who knew how to catch the eye.
As the rounds went on we slowly saw Tuolehazi try to become more aggressive, taking a few more risks and build his confidence. That however saw him being punished by the sharp, hard shots of Raquinel and when he started to take more punishment the Chinese fighter looked like a man who began to question himself. Against Raquinel that's not a good thing to do, and the Filipino southpaw began to land with more consistency, chipping away at Tuolehazi, especially in round 5 as the Chinese fight took a real shellacking.
To his credit Tuolehazi took his knocks and continually looked to try and strike back against the Filipino youngster, with round 6 being a better round for the local, with the crowd regularly getting behind him and roaring his successes. This began a solid fight back from the Chinese fighter, who seemed to have a solid seventh round, with Raquinel simply not letting his hands go enough, something we had seen from his when he defeated Keisuke Nakayama for the OPBF title. Sadly this proved to be the start of real problems for Raquinel who seemed to completely turn off, not letting his hands go enough and allowing Tuolehazi back into the bout. Round after round the Filipino waited for something to happen rather than making things happen and this really turned the momentum, without Raquinel ever taking much punishment, or exerting himself.
Going into the later rounds it felt like Raquinel's early control of the contest was a distant memory. He wasn't being outclassed at any point, but he was giving judges a chance to score rounds in favour of Tuolehazi, something that didn't happen early on. It seemed that even Raquinel began to realise it and in round 10 he showed some flashes of his ability, landing some combinations as he had earlier on, and retaking the center of the ring. Having had a good round 10 Raquinel let Tuolehazi back into the fight in round 11, with the Chinese fighter landing quite a few right hands, without taking much in return. One of those right hands from the Chinese fighter seemed to wobble Raquinel late in the round and made things really interesting as we entered the final round.
With both men likely knowing the contest was close we saw a new found energy from both, with Tuolehazi looking to land his straight right hand and Raquinel looking for his own straight left hand. It was to be the power of the Chinese fighter that would be the more telling as he dropped Raquinel with just over a minute of the round left. That seemed to spur the Filipino on, whilst Tuolehazi looked to protect a 10-8 round, that was until the final 10 seconds when they traded, giving the fans a grandstand finish.
In the end the judges saw the bout as a relative clear win for Tuolehazi, the final round really didn't make a difference. Sadly for Raquinel he only has himself to blame. He was the more skilled man, he looked the better fighter, but mentally he seemed to turn off for much of the second half of the fight, and away from home that was always going to be a big mistake. At 21 this is a learning experience for the Filipino, but it leaves serious questions over his head. For Tuolehazi it was a relatively fortunate win, and proved he isn't ready for a world title fight.
Unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (19-0, 15) [张志磊] will return to the ring on September 28th in Changsha, China, as he looks make his first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title and continue a 6 fight run of opening round victories.
The 2008 Olympic Silver medal winner will be up against fellow puncher Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13), from New York, USA, who will be having his first bout outside of the US.
Zhilei comes into this bout following and impressive 8 fight stoppage run, but has got a lot of questions to answer in regards to his competition, and on paper this is a credible step up in class for "Big Bang".
Although no world beater Haynesworth is likely to be a good test to see how legitimate Zhilei is. To date Haynesworth has been stopped once, by the world class Bryant Jennings, and this bout will give Zhilei a chance to be compared with the former world title challenger.
Another excellent bout on this card will see China's Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) take on OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBC Silver Flyweight title. The 25 year old Tuolehazi lost 3 of his first 5, but has since gone 6-0-1 (4) with notable wins overs Noldi Manakane, Takeshi Kaneko, Kwanthai Sithmorseng and Yokthong KKP, showing that he has got something about him. Raquinel has also impressed, with recent wins in Japan over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka, and is a legitimate puncher on the Oriental level. The winner of this one will find themselves pushed way up into the WBC rankings and will close in on a potential world title fight.
Earlier this year Filipino fighter Jayr Raquinel (10-0 1, 7) announced himself on the Asian boxing scene as he travel to Tokyo and defeated Keisuke Nakayama for the OPBF Flyweight title. Today he was back in a Japanese ring, to make his second defense of the title against 22 year old challenger Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) [小坂駿]. On paper the bout looked pretty interesting, with Kosaka getting his first title fight and Raquinel having his first bout as the champion.
Kosaka looked like he had half a chance in in a competitive close round, it was one that the champion won but was competitive enough for Kosaka's team to feel their man had a chance. Kosaka would again have success in the second round, a round that all 3 judges gave to the challenger.
Sadly though that was as good as things would get for the challenger, with Raquinel taking round 3 as he finished the round strongly, with a big attack just before the bell and a hard right hand to the body.
With the champion knowing he could hurt the challenger he seemed to come out for round 4 with a bit more intent landing a hard southpaw left that dropped the Japanese challenger. Kosaka tried to get up but was unable to beat the count as Raquinel recorded his first defense and again impressed on Japanese soil.
9Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Back in March fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to Boxingraise, saw Filipino youngster Jayr Raquinel (9-0 1, 6) travel to Tokyo and rip the OPBF Flyweight title from the waist of Keisuke Nakayama, stopping the Japanese fight in the 9th round of their bout. The contest with Nakayama's was Raquinel's first outside of the Philippines and he impressed, not only taking the best Nakayama had to offer but also stopping the local fighter, showing good variety, stamina and power..
Now it's been announced that Raquinel will return to Japan for his first defense, as he takes on 22 year old challenger Shun Kosaka (15-3, 4) [小坂駿] at the Big Wave in Wakayama on May 27th.
The champion is only 21 but looks like one of the Flyweights division's best young talents. He's been a professional for just over 4 years and already scored notable wins over Jimboy Haya, Richard Rosales and the aforementioned Nakayama. He has shown all the tools to go a long way, well beyond OPBF level, but still needs time to hone those skills, round off some rough edges and mature physically.
The challenger, from the Shinsei Gym, has been a professional since December 2012 and was runner up in the 2014 Rookie of the Year,where he lost a decision to Kenya Yamashita. The loss to Yamashita would be Kosaka's first defeat and has since been followed by losses to Tetsuya Hisada, the current Japanese Light Flyweight champion, and the under-rated Akinori Hoshino. In regards to his best win that came over Yota Hori, who he beat last November with an 8th round technical decision. It is notable that this will be his first career title fight.
At the moment the details for the rest of the card don't look too enticing, but this is a great main event and the card will also feature former 3-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積] as a special guest.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw the OPBF Flyweight title change hands, as defending champion Keisuke Nakayama (10-3-2, 4) [中山 佳祐] had the title ripped away by unbeaten Filipino Jayr Raquinel (9-0-1, 6), who put himself on the boxing map with an excellent performance.
The Filipino was the naturally smaller man but made up for that disadvantage by simply knowing what he was supposed to do, and doing it. In the first round it was obvious that he was the more skilled, and he used his southpaw jab brilliantly to force Nakayama on to the back foot. The Filipino was forced to take some solid shows, but answered every one with interest and showed a brilliant ability to change the tempo of the fight at his will.
After 4 rounds the challenger was in total control, with the scores being announced as 40-36, and 39-37, twice, in his favour. Things then went from good to even better for the Filipino youngster, as he dropped Nakayama in round 5, showing he had power to go with the skills. He seemed to hurt Nakayama after the knockdown, with the Japanese fighter beating the count, but Nakayama was clearly struggling with the aggression of the visitor.
Amazingly after seeing out a torrid round 5 Nakayama managed to get some success, as he found a home for his body shots. It was just what Nakayama needed, and by the end of round 8 it seemed like he was genuinely starting to turn the fight in his favour, , with one judge having the bout scored very closely at 76-75 for Raquinel, whilst the others had it 78-73 and 79-72 to the Filipino, who was finally starting to take shots.
Sadly for the gutsy Nakayama he had given his all to just get back into the bout, and in round 9 he was forced to take some big head shots from Raquinel, and was dropped, as much from exhaustion as any specific shot, and despite beating the 10 count his corner threw in the towel, as he stumbled. The referee fully aware that the bout needed stopping well before he saw the towel.
After the win Raquinel seemed impressed by his own performance, admitting he didn;t expect to score the stoppage, and stated he wanted to fight again in Japan. Notable Takuya Kogawa was in attendance and would make for a very good bout with Racquinel possibly later this year. As for Nakayama he admitted that Raquinel hit harder than expected and that he was himself struggling to land headshots.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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