The Super Flyweight division promises a lot at the moment, with an interesting mix of fighters. Sadly a number of those fighters, especially those at the top, are taking on less than testing opponents and challengers, whilst waiting to a big fight.
Today we saw Japan's Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22) [船井 龍一] finally secure himself a big fight as he became the IBF mandatory title challenger, winning a world title eliminator against Mexican fighter Victor Olivo (15-3-1, 7) in 2 rounds.
The first round was very much a feeling out effort from Funai, who really did nothing. Olivo managed to take the round with ease, by just boxing, using his movement to get inside and landing body shots as well as 1-2's. It was smart from Olivo, but Funai seemed to be over-patient, ultra cautious and tried to create too much room in what was awkward, rather than effective, movement.
The first 90 seconds of round 2 was very similar to how the opening round had been. Once again Funai waited, and waited, allowing Olivo to land body shots, get comfortable and force the action. It seemed like either Funai was waiting for the perfect moment to strike, or had frozen in such a major career fight. That however changed when he finally let his right hand go, and dropped Olivo with what was pretty much the first punch he connected cleanly with. Olivo stumbled, dropping down a second time before recovering to his feet and being allowed to continue.
The Mexican was still dazed when the fight resumed and Funai pursued his man, dropping him again and forcing the referee to wave off the bout with the Mexican down.
With this win Funai secures himself an IBF world title fight, so he will likely be facing Jerwin Ancajas in the new year. For Olivo he must have wondered what he got his by, as the right really came out of nowhere.
This past weekend we saw Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) narrowly retain the IBF Super Flyweight title with a controversial draw against Mexican foe Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-5, 7). The result was a major disappointment for Ancajas, who was expected to dominate the much smaller Barrios, and saw some more shine being taken off his reign, which has already been strongly questioned.
There had been hopes of his returning to the ring in 2019 to unify against WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], aka Wisaksil Wangek, who is defending his title this coming weekend Iran Diaz (14-2-3, 6) though it now seemed that he could be going another route, and instead defending his title against a mandatory challenger.
According to Philstar there is a chance that Ancajas' next bout will see him face off with #3 ranked IBF challenger Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) [船井 龍一], who claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title earlier this year when he stopped Warlito Parrenas.
The 33 year old Funai has been a professional for 13 years and has faced off with the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, Rolly Lunas and Sho Ishida. Coming in to this he is unbeaten since losing to Ishida in April 2016, and is riding a good 6 fight unbeaten run with wins over Kenta Nakagawa, Takayuki Okumoto, Shota Kawaguchi and Parrenas. This however would be a huge step up in class for the man from the Watanabe Gym.
Ancajas looked like a star in the making when he claimed the IBF title in September 2016 but his reign has failed to really build his reputation, despite scoring 6 defenses. Early in his title reign he looked sensational in taking apart Teiru Kinoshita and took a good pay day against Jamie Conlan in the UK, but this year he has made relatively forgettable defenses against Israel Gonzalez and Alejandro Santiago Barrios, as well as a mandatory with Jonas Sultan. Sadly those defenses have failed to build Ancajas' name and reputation and he now needs a big performance.
Whilst this would be a mandatory it would be unlikely to take place before the end of 2018, with an early 2019 date being the most likely, if a unification bout with Srisaket can't be made.
This coming Saturday WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], aka Wisaksil Wangek, will defend his title against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-2-3, 6) on the upcoming ONE Championship Kingdom of Heroes show.
Today the two men were involved in the build up to that event as they took part in a public work out and a face off, with Srisaket showing off a new look, having cut his hair since he beat Young Gil Bae earlier this year.
The Thai notably did his work out whilst fighting out of the orthodox stance. He looked as heavy handed as ever and very sharp. It's unclear why he didn't work out in his usual southpaw stance, though there is some suggestion that he was trying to confuse the Diaz camp or try to show there was more weapons in his arsenal than he has previous shown. Diaz also looked sharp though seemed more like a fighter who was excited by the occasion, rather than a fighter who believed he could score the biggest win of his career.
It's obvious this is set to be a huge occasion for the two fighters and today there was something to increase the significant of the fight a little bit more, with ONE Championship confirming that IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas would be ringside, with the intention likely being for him to challenge the winner.
Related - Srisaket and Diaz clash at Kingdom of Heroes
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
Later today we'll see Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20) make his 6th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title, as he takes on the relatively unknown Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7) in the US.
On Thursday night the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made weight on their first attempt on the scales.
The champion came in at 114.2lbs and looked in great shape as always. this is the third time in a row that he has come in well under the limit, and the 5th time in 6 fights. Although a strong fighter at 115lbs it's clear he's not a physically imposing one and is a smaller fighter at Super Flyweight, so a move up isn't likely any time soon, which does leave the door open for him to face top Super Flyweights in the future, something we're really hoping he does sooner rather than later.
Barrios was 114.6lbs, which is similar to the weight he came in at last time out against Jose Martinez. He's also a small Super Flyweight, but has fought as high as Super Bantamweight in the past. Like Ancajas he weighed in in great shape and it's clear that he is hungry for this bout, despite being a huge under-dog, and not expected to pose much of a threat.
Related-Ancajas returns to defend title against little known Mexican
This coming Friday we'll see Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20) make his next defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title, as he takes on the pretty unknown Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7) in what is a pretty underwhelming defense for the Filipino fight.
The key to the card however is the strong under-card.
We've known for a while that talented Kazakh prospect Janibek Alimkhanuly (2-0, 1) [Жанибек Алимханулы], will make his US debut as he takes on Carlos Galvan (16-7-1, 15) and that he will be joined by fellow Kazakh Askhat Ualikhanov (3-1, 2) [Уалиханов Асхат], who takes a step up to take on Angel Hernandez(13-10-2 8 KOs).
Now it's been confirmed that former world title challengers will collide on the card, with Filipino Genesis Servania (31-1, 14) taking on Carlos Carlson (22-4, 13).
The talented Servania came to the attention of the western boxing world in September 2017, when he pushed Oscar Valdez hard in a WBO Featherweight title bout, losing a clear but competitive decision to the Mexican champion. Since then he has reeled off two low key wins and taken part in a high profile public spar with Naoya Inoue. Carlson on the other hand is known best for losing in a WBC Bantamweight title fight against Shinsuke Yamanaka in March 2017, since then he has gone 1-2 and really faded to do anything of any interest, making this his second biggest bout to date.
A huge thanks goes out to Ian Melodillar for bringing our attention to this story.
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