Earlier today fight fans in Osaka had the chance to see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) [中谷 正義] record his 9th defense of the title, as he over-came Thai foe Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-3, 18) [AKA Amphol Suriyo] in a 1-sided affair.
The Japanese fighter used his height and reach to dictate the distance from the off, using his jab and movement to keep the much shorter Thai at arms reach. It wasn't an exciting start but one that saw Nakatani control the bout and stay safe, away from the vaunted power of the Thai slugger.
As the rounds went on Nakatani slow broke down the challenger and in round 3 Nakatani began to unload his right hand. The round was one of the few where the Thai had some success, landing some body shots, but it was over shadowed by the better work of Nakatani who again showed off his skills up close when he needed to. The following round a head clash took place, cutting the challenger over the left eye and left him bleeding as well as looking unable to really pressure the champion. Things went from bad to worse for for Pharanpetch in round 5 as he was dropped late in the round. He was then stopped the following round as Nakatani dropped him for the 10 count.
The idea now seems to be for Nakatani to chase world titles, but this seems to have been the idea for quite some time and it's become a bit of a frustrating for fans of the fighter.
On the under-card fans saw former world title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) [石田 匠] score a 3rd round KO win against big punching Thai Lucky Tor Buamas (12-2, 12) [Ratchanon Sawangsoda], who went down for the count following a body shot. There was also wins for Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義] and Kazusa Arai (3-1, 2) [新井一颯], who both scored decisions, however the once touted Futa Akizuki (10-2, 8) [秋月楓大] suffered his second straight loss, losing a shock decision to Takuya Fujioka (8-8-1, 1) [藤岡拓弥].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Almost 2 weeks ago we reported that OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (15-0, 9) [中谷 正義] would be defending his title on February 24th at the Edion arena in Osaka. At the time we had no other details about the card, no confirmation of his opponent or under-card bouts. Thankfully though we have no got some more infomation on the Ioka promoted card.
Firstly we now know that Nakatani will be defending his title against Thai foe Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-2, 18) [AKA Amphol Suriyo], who entersd the bout ranked #7 at Lightweight by the OPBF, 2 places ahead of Nihito Arakawa. Coming in to this the Thai is on a 4 fight stoppage run, albeit against weak opponents in Thailand, following a stoppage loss to Brandon Ogilvie in 2016. It's hard to see what the challenger will be able to do against such a talented champion and we really can't see the challenger having the skills to test the talented Nakatani, though Pharanpetch may have the power to trouble Nakatani if he manages to land clean.
The main supporting bout will be ring return of former world title challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13) [石田 匠], who will be up against big punching Thai Lucky Tor Buamas (12-1, 12) [Ratchanon Sawangsoda], who enters the bout as an OPBF ranked fighter with a lot to lose. This will be Ishida's first bout since his 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK and will be his chance to re-establish himself before beginning to rebuild towards a second world title fight. As for Lucky this bout is a potential platform for him to force his name into the world title picture, if he can pick up the upset.
Others on the card include Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義], who will be seeking a retiurn to winning ways following a draw, and 17 year old Kazusa Arai (2-1, 2) [新井一颯] and 19 year old Futa Akizuki (10-1,8) [秋月楓大], who will both be looking to bounce back from their first defeats.
On Friday Filipino fans in Bacolod City had the chance to watch a trio of OPBF "interim" title fights, two of which resulted in new champions.
One of those new champions is Rene Dacquel (17-6-1, 6), who scored a sensational knockout against the previously unbeaten Lucky Tor Buamas (7-1, 7) to claim the OPBF "interim" Super Flyweight title. The Filipino, who came up short against Takuma Inoue last year for the full OPBF title, iced Lucky with a single right hand and left him flat on his back in what was a KO of the Year contender. Sadly for Lucky, or should that be "Unlucky", it seems the step up in class was far too much and in his previous 7 bouts he had done nothing to prepare for a fighter like Dacquel.
Another new champion was Carlo Magali (20-7-3, 10) who over-came Mark Gil Melligen (21-7-1, 12) to claim the OPBF "interim" Super Featherweight title. This win sees Magali extend an unbeaten run, which now sites at 5 fights, and sees him claiming back-to-back title wins, adding the OPBF interim title to his IBF Pan Pacific title. Sadly however it's hard to see where Melligen goes now, following a third successive loss.
Their was one title bout that resulted in no new champion being crowned. That bout saw Rey Megrino (22-20-4, 19) and Jonathan Baat (30-7-5, 14) fight to a thrilling 12 round draw for the OPBF "interim" Bantamweight title. It was this bout, more than the other two, that intrigued us in regards to the show and our assumption of it being well matched proved to be right. Megrino, who has one of the sports most misleading records, may not have managed to advance his career with a newly won title but he has extended his current unbeaten streak to 9 bouts, whilst Baat bounced back from a loss to Liborio Solis with the draw.
Also on this card was well travelled Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (4-0, 2), who blew away Filipino Gerry Patenio (4-11-2, 2) inside a round. The Venezuelan is now expected to return to the ring later this month, in China as he continues a peculiar Asian tour.
The OPBF title has been the stepping stone between fighters at continental level and world level. They have long been titles that fighters have won on their way to the top and as chance for fighters to prove themselves as being beyond domestic level, and on their way to becoming world class. Modern day fighters like Manny Pacquiao (Flyweight), Takashi Uchiyama's (Super Featherweight) [内山 高志] and Naoya Inoue (Light Flyweight) [井上 尚弥] have all claimed the OPBF title before going on to win world titles.
It's with that in mind that we're rather disappointed to learn that the OPBF will be have a growth in "interim" title fights, devaluing one of the best stepping stone titles in the sport of boxing. That growth seems to have really blown up recently with Naris Highland announcing an OPBF interim title triple header, set for April 1st.
The highest weight being covered by the triple header is Super Featherweight where Carlo Magali (19-7-3, 10) faces Mark Gil Melligen (21-6-1, 12). The issues with this fight are numerous. Firstly the champion will actually be defending the "regular" title later in April, so he need for an interim is questionable, secondly Melligen was beaten in his last 2 fights, so he's hardly a worth contender for an OPBF belt as it is. Magali is a legitimate contender at this level, though it's disappointing that he has been inactive in recent years. It's also worth noting that this will be Magali's first bout since his tragic contest with David Browne Jr.
At Bantamweight we suspect we suspect we're in for a treat as the heavy handed Rey Megrino (22-20-3, 19), who has recently been training with Rex Tso, battles Jonathan Baat (30-7-4, 14). Whilst neither of these two have the greatest of records both are proven fighters with an upsetters mentality. Megrino's record suggests that he's far from special but the 29 year old is on a 7 fight winning streak over the likes of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Myung Ho Lee and Ernesto Saulong, and has done well to turn his career around after being 15-19-3 around 4 years ago. On the other hand Baat holds a couple of wins over Qiu Xiao Jun, a big upset over Kenta Onjo and held Hikaru Marugame to a draw late last year.
Megrino Vs Baat is a genuinely fantastic match up, but the need for an interim title to be attached to the bout is ridiculous given that the "regular" champion will, again, be defending his title in April.
The third of the bouts is, sadly, the most questionable as Rene Dacquel (16-6-1, 5) faces unbeaten Thai Lucky Tor Buamas (7-0, 7) for the "interim" OPBF Super Flyweight title. On paper this one looks fine but Dacquel has lost 2 recent bouts, including an OPBF title bout to Takuma Inoue. Although Dacquel is a capable fighter there is little need for him to be fighting in an OPBF title fight given that he was widely beaten by Inoue in December. On the other hand the unbeaten Lucky has beaten no one of note, and by that we really mean, no one of any note. It's also worth noting that Inoue is expected to defend the title in April or May anyway.
Whilst we would have loved to have gotten behind the announcement in regards to the title triple header the reality is the announcement devalues the OPBF title and follows in the footsteps of the WBA "world" titles, where the "Super", "Regular" and "interim" titles all made a mockery of things.
It should be noted that we have no issue with interim titles in principle. If a fighter is injured then the "interim" title is fair enough, but this announcement comes whilst the real champions have bouts lined up, and follows the the recent created situation at Welterweight, where Suyon Takayama [高山 樹延] claimed the interim title just weeks before Jack Brubaker defended the "regular" title. If the OPBF continue down this slope it's a slippery one that could lead to them quickly losing their significance as a genuine stepping stone title.
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