In 2019 we saw one thing that was incredibly consistent, and that was the upsets. Week after week we had some form of upset, at some level. Whether it as at world level, such as when Can Xu shocked Jesus M Rojas or when Ryota Murata gained revenge over Rob Brant or when John Riel Casimero blew out Zolani Tete, to domestic and regional level fights. In fact it seemed to be a regular case of seeing a Filipino fighter, on the road, stopping some unbeaten prospect.
Fighters like Jhon Gemino, who notched 2 upsets in 2019, really left an impression on fans and his November KO over Arnold Alejandro was brutal. Likewise Jhunriel Ramonal knocking Shingo Wake out cold in their rematch, and then stopping Yusaku Kuga later in the year, or Roldan Aldea's uppercut from hell against Mikhail Alexeev
The Filipino's even seemed to be able to pick up decisions when they were much unfancied, such as Landy Cris Leon taking a split decision over Muhamad Ridhwan in March.
There was even some cases of an unbeaten Filipino being on the wrong end of an upset, as we saw in December when Jhack Tepora was stopped in a round by Oscar Escandon.
Even in cases of upsets against non-unbeaten fighters it was again the Filipino's that seemed to hit the shock more often than anyone else. This was also seen in December when Renz Rosia beat Aston Palicte, or in January when Jhon Gemino scored his first upset of the year, stopping the then 22-1 Carlos Ornelas.
Whatever was in the water in the Philippines this year seemed to give us a bizarre number of upsets!
Of course not all upsets were scored by Filipino fighters. We mentioned Can Xu and Ryota Murata earlier, and there was also In Duck Seo's massive KO win over Tysinn Best in Australia.
For us however the biggest upset was none of the above, though it did feature a Filipino scoring a big stoppage on the road. It came back in March when Lito Dante, then boasting a 15-10-4 (7) record stopped the previously 14-0 (9) Tsubasa Koura in the 12th round of their clash. Coming in Koura was unbeaten, world ranked, the OPBF champion, and a man looking like he was on the verge of a world title fight. Instead of Koura taking the next step to a world title, he was out boxed, out fought, out though and eventually stopped in the final round whilst a mile down on the cards. This was as complete a victory as Dante could have wished for. And it turned out to be even more surprising given that the then 1-0 Yudai Shigeoka would beat Dane in his very next fight.
As an aside -the excellent @Fight_Ghost has collated a record of the biggest betting upsets from the year, and for those who do like to gamble on the sport that list is well and truly worthy of a look.
Earlier today Watanabe gym took a huge, yet well calculated, risk with highly touted youngster Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大], matching him with OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8). This bout came around 6 weeks after Shigeoka's professional debut was an attempt by Watanabe and Shigeoka to make a statement., And that's exactly what they happened, with the youngster dominating the world ranked Filipino.
From the opening round Shigeoka looked like a man who belonged at this level. He took the fight to Dante, with good combinations, sharp body shots and nice looking uppercuts. Dante, who has always been a rugged, tough fighter, began to cut the distance in round 2, but struggled to have any sustained success against the much quicker, more mobile and sharp Shigeoka. The Japanese fighter showed great movement when he needed to, and never allowed Dante to dictate the tempo, catching him on the way in and keeping him at the end of his shots.
In round 5 Shigeoka suffered a cut, from a clash of heads, though never seemed that bothered by it, as he continued to out land, out box and out-speed Dante, who came off second best through out the 6 round contest.
After 6 rounds were completed we went to the judges, who turned in cards of 60-54, twice, and 59-55, to Shigeoka.
Typically this sort of a match up, for a prospect with so little professional experience, would be seen as madness, but Shigeoka made it seem easy and has made it very obvious that he'll be chasing titles in 2020.
After the bout Shigeoka seemed to make it clear that there are improvements to make, but it was hard to not be impressed by him essentially shutting out a regional champion as he did here. As for Dante he explained that Shigeoka didn't have much power, and that it was a smart style of boxing, adding that he felt he would catch up with Shigeoka over 12 rounds, and not the 6 they fought today.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese prospect Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡優大] will take on a monster test as he battles OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) in a very tough looking 6 round contest at Korakuen Hall.
The bout, which comes less than 6 weeks after Shigeoka's professional debut, is a serious test for the youngster, and a chance for him to either make a statement, come across as a youngster who has been thrown in to the deep a touch too soon, like countryman Tsubasa Murachi was in September.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in.
On the scales Dante came in at the contracted limit of 48KG's, or around 105.8lbs, and looked in great shape. Shigeoka on the other hand was just under the limit at 47.9KG's, or 105.6lbs.
At the weigh in Shigeoka came across as incredibly cocksure and confident. He stated that he felt lucky because he was fight somebody worth fighter, and someone that can let people evaluate how good he really is. He added that he hadn't seem much of Dante's fighter, knew that he had never been stopped. Even then it seemed like he felt he could do it, and could stop the rugged Filipino.
Dante seemed to know about Shigeoka's amateur reputation, stating he was a great boxing and had won a lot in the amateurs, but did seem confident himself, and wasn't coming across as worried about Shigeoka, then again for a man with his experience we suspect very few fighters will ever worry Dante.
Sadly it's currently unclear whether or not this bout will get TV coverage on TBS's Guts Fighting broadcast later in the week.
Related - Yudai Shigeoka takes on OPBF king Lito Dante in huge step up!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
According to one, often reliable, Japanese source Japanese prospect Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡優大] is set to return to the ring on December 10th in a 6 round bout against a current OPBF champion, albeit in a non-title bout.
The source has revealed that Shigeoka is pencilled in to face OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8), who fights for the first time since scoring a huge upset win in March against Tsubasa Koura.
The talented Shigeoka, the older brother of WBO Asia Pacific champion Ginjiro Shigeoka, debuted at the end of October and looked sensational as he beat Thai foe Manop Audomphanawari. This is, however, a massive step up in class and shows the youngster's ambition to rise through the ranks in an incredibly aggressive way.
Dante on the other hand is pretty a card carrying member of the "who needs him? club". The Filipino might be the OPBF champion but even with that belt he is high risk and low reward, and over 12 rounds he's a nightmare due to his toughness and energy. He can be out-boxed over the shorter distance, as Shigeoka appears to be planning here, but he is still not an easy out for any one.
The bout is said to be pencilled in as the chief support bout for a Dangan card headlined by Shigeoka's stablemate Hironori Mishiro (8-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] defending the OPBF Super Featherweight title against 23 year old challenger Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-1, 7) [木村吉光].
Other fighters now pencilled in for this card include Fumiya Fuse (8-1, 1) [富施郁哉] and Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香], though neither of these two have had opponents reported by our source yet.
Back in March we saw a massive upset as Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) scored a huge 12th round TKO win over Japan's previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], and ended Koura's reign as the OPBF Minimumweight champion. Since then the talented Koura hasn't been in action, and and has sat over over 6 months.
Today we finally saw news break on what Koura next plan was, with the Cassius Gym fighter now set to fight on the November 9th Dangan card, which will feature the God's Left semi final bouts.
At the moment his opponent hasn't been confirmed by name, though is said to be an Indonesian fighter, who is likely there to help Koura re-establish some confidence following a very damaging and surprising loss.
The card will not only feature the God's Left semi-final bouts but also a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], making this a really good card, even if we don't know who Koura will be fighting.
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