Yesterday in Metro Manila fight fans were treat to a brilliantly tactical, competitive and compelling match up, as local star Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1, 15) retained his WBO Asia Pacific title, despite an excellent effort from Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平].
For the first round to the last both men showed excellent technical skills, judging distance brilliant and picking the right shots. Despite the bout being a technical chess match, it wasn't one where both constantly waited for the other, and instead both men legitimately pressed the action, in a calculated and intelligent manner.
Through the first 6 rounds or so there was little to separate the men, despite some cheerleading for Elorde from the commentary team, though in the second half Kawashima seemed to pull his nose in front. The action was never one sided, though there was clear rounds each way, and it seemed like the visitor was the one taking the rounds by slim margins, always an issue on the road. The commentary and Elorde himself seemed to realise what was happening in the final rounds, with the commentary, which had been very confident early on, sounding apprehensive whilst Elorde tried to make sure that he gave the judges a reason to score the final round his way.
In the end we had it incredibly close, at 116-112 to Kawashima, but could easily see a wide range of scores, especially given how Elorde was the local favourite and the grandson of Flash Elorde, who's the reason for the Elorde Awards that this bout took place on. Elorde was also the promoters fighter and the man on the verge of a career defining world title fight.
The officials saw it differently to us, scoring it 117-111, twice, and 115-113 all in favour of Elorde. Although the 117-111 cards were very harsh, a win for Elorde was certainly not out of the question and the 115-113 card certainly was well within the realms of reality.
Tomorrow fight fans in the Philippines will get a chance to see regional champion Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) defending his WBO Asia Pacific title against Japan's Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight with no issues.
Elorde was 121lbs on the scales, whilst Kawashima was 120lbs.
For Elorde, who is very highly ranked, by the WBO the bout is essentially a must win for him to remain on the verge of a world title fight. For Kawashima however it's a chance to gate crash the rankings and get himself in the mix, in a big way.
Related - Elorde and Kawashima battle for region title!
Earlier today we were informed by sources that Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) would be returning to the ring on March 25th to take on talented Japanese fighter Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
This will be the 4th defense from Elorde, who has used the title to climb to a #2 WBO world ranking and is on the verge of a world title fight if he can keep his current winning run going. The 32 year old Filipino, grandson of Flash Elorde, has won his last 17 in a row and whilst his competition hasn't been the best he has managed to put on some solid performances, including a 2018 stoppage win over Lucky Tor Buamas.
At the age of 27 Kawashima is just coming into his physical prime. He turned professional in 2012 and won the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight. In recent years he has proven his ability on the road, beating Jim Wook Lim in Korea and running Cristian Mijares close in 2016 in Mexico. He was surprisingly stopped in 2017 by Gaku Aikawa, but has since bounced back with a couple of wins.
We've yet to see any other bouts for this show being announced, though would expect details to be announced in the very near future.
Earlier today it was revealed that world ranked Filipino puncher Jonathan "lightning" Taconing (21-2-1, 18) would be returning to the ring on September 12th. Sadly however for fans hoping to see him in a world title fight, the news is going to be disappointing.
Instead of getting a long awaited second shot at a world title Taconing will instead be returning to the ring to defend his OPBF Light Flyweight title against fellow Filipino slugger Jomar "Wallopman" Fajardo ( 14-8-2,7), in a bout set to take place in Paranaque City.
Earlier this year Taconing crashed on to the consciousness of the hard core fans as he stopped former world champion Ramon Garcia Hirales, in Mexico. It was hoped that that win would push Taconing into a world title fight but instead it's made him more avoided than ever.
As for Fajardo he is best known for his two fights with former Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr, including holding Rodriguez to a draw. Sadly since those bouts he has fought twice, dropping a decision to Hayato Kimura and suffering a stoppage to Suriyan Sor Rungvisai., however both of those bouts were fought well above his natural weight.
As well as the exciting main event this card will feature a trio of other notable Filipino fighters, Juan Martin Elorde (17-1-1, 7), Juan Miguel Elorde (18-1, 9) and Giemel Magramo (13-0, 10), non of whom have had their opponents announce for this show.
Tomorrow fans in the Philippines will get the chance to see a really good looking card at the Manila hotel. Today saw the fighters involved in that show taking part in their weigh ins and thankfully all the fighters made weight, including the 8 men involved in title bouts.
The highest honour being fought for tomorrow is the OPBF Featherweight title, which will be up for grabs when the experienced Vinvin Rufino (36-16-3, 16) battles the promising Mark Gil Melligen (21-4-1, 12). On the scales Rufino was the bigger man, coming in on the limit at 126lbs, whilst Melligen was a full 1lb lighter than his foe.
Although the OPBF belt is the highest honour being fought for there are two other regional titles on the line, both in the form of the WBO Asia Pacific titles.
One of the WBO Asia Pacific title bouts will see Juan Martin Elorde (16-1-1, 7) defending his belt at Super Featherweight against Japanese challenger Hirotsugu Yamamoto (16-10-2, 2). On the scales Elorde was bang on the limit at 130lbs whilst Yamamoto was well inside the limit at just 127lbs, closer to the limit for Featherweight than Super Featherweight.
The other WBO Asia Pacific title bout takes places at Super Bantamweight and will see Juan Miguel Elorde (17-1, 9) fight Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-2, 12). For this bout it was the Filipino who was well inside the limit with Elorde weighing 120lbs for a bout made at 122lbs. On the other Tabthong was himself wlel inside the limit at 121lbs.
The remaining title bout is a Filipino Bantamweight title bout which will see defending champion Monico Laurente (25-12, 6) defending his title against the very capable Marco Demecillo (20-2-1, 15). For this bout both men came in at 118lbs, bang on the Bantamweight limit.
(Image of Melligen and Rugino courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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