For whatever reason we tend to think that boxing records show how good a fighters is, the reality however is that the numbers say less about the fighters than we suspect, and instead they say more about the match making and management of the fighters. This can be seen in various ways with some fighters racking up huge winning streaks, whilst facing absolutely nobody of any sort of quality, whilst other fighters suffer losses because they weren't afraid of losing and in fact took losses to good fighters in a positive manner, often improving themselves as a result.
This was shown again on Friday morning when long term unbeaten fighter Paipharob Kokietgym (32-1, 25) [ไผ่ผารบ ก่อเกียรติยิม] suffered his first career loss, in what will go down as one of the 2016 Asian boxing upsets of the year.
Paipharob, who began the day as the WBO Oriental Light Flyweight champion, was expected to see off Filipino foe Jesse Espinas (13-2, 9) with out too many issues, in fact Espinas had been stopped just a couple of fights earlier by the unheralded and unbeaten Christian Araneta. Instead however a determined and spirited Espinas decided he wasn't there to become#33 and it was clear from very early that he was there to win.
In the early stages the bout very close, Paipharob looked the stronger, and naturally bigger, fighter but Espinas showed some lovely sharp shots to both the head and body and his movement regularly left Paipharob out of position, missing, and open to counters.
The misses from Paipharob, combined with the hurtful shots from Espinas, took their toll as early as the 4th round with Paipharob being dropped in the early portion of the round. The knockdown seemed to spur on the Filipino who looked to land some real hayemakers but his lack of composure saw him regularly missing and it seemed like Paipharob had seen off the danger by the end of the round. Despite failing to take his chance in round 4 the Filipino did have a solid 5th round as Paipharob began to look like a fighter who had started to feel the pace and was no longer able to keep up a steady output, something that was also seen in the 6th round with Espinas closing that round big.
In round 7 the two engaged in some solid back and forth but the round's highlights seemed to come from Espinas who was finding the target more regularly than the local fighter, who was struggling to land much clean, and what he did land often came back with interest.
Paipharob got off to a hot start in round 8 but that start was short lived with Espinas landing a vicious series of shots off the ropes, including a body blow that dropped Paipharob for the fight's second knockdown. A follow up attack, with another spiteful body shot, dropped the Thai with the referee waving the bout off almost immediately.
For the Thai this loss leaves his title hopes in tatters and it was a disappointing way for him to lose his unbeaten record. For Espinas however the win puts him in the "shop window", so to speak, and we wouldn't be shocked to see him rewarded with a world ranking in the next set of WBO updates and another big fight, in either Japan or Thailand.
Earlier today we reported that the WBO had ordered their Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) to face off against Mexican rival Moises Fuentes (23-2-1, 12) in a mandatory defense of the world title. That news may be good for Fuentes, who is looking at getting another shot at a world title thanks to the WBO, and even for Nietes who will be very confident of over-coming a fighter he stopped in 9 rounds in 2014. It is however frustrating news for Thai contender Paipharob Kokietgym (32-0, 25) who has been over-looked by the WBO, once again.
Back in November Paipharob was the #1 ranked contender, in fact he had been the #1 ranked contender from July, though was over-looked when it came to last December's world title eliminator between Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez Jr, both of whom, had been beaten by Nietes in recent bouts.
Whilst we can all disagree on the rankings, and the merits of ranked fighters, it does seem like Paipharob has been denied a shot at a belt, or rather a shot at fighting in an eliminator, and his supporters have suggested that he has been badly done by from the organisation.
Paipharob, who is unbeaten since his debut back in 2002, is the current WBO Oriental champion, having won that title more than a year ago, and although he is more than 4 years removed from his biggest win, a decision over Jesus Silvestre, he has been on the verge of a title fight for a prolong period. This snub may well push him in another direction rather than lead to much talked about contest between him and Nietes, a bout that did get some notable attention in Thailand last year.
We're expecting to hear more about this from Thailand over the coming days though the sentiment seems to be one of genuine frustration, annoyance and distrust at the WBO.
Earlier today in Thailand there was a press conference ahead of this Friday's bouts which will feature several notable names.
The most well known of those fighters is the unbeaten Light Flyweight Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20) who will be defending his WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title against a Filipino challenger Lionel Legada (12-7-1, 5).
For Paipharob the key is to win and look good winning here as he hopes to put pressure on the Light Flyweight world champions and get himself a world title fight later in the year.
Another of the unbeaten prospects on this card is Norasing Kokietgym (13-0-1, 10), who we believe will be fighting another Filipino fighter.
Notably there is also a Korean fighter set to be featured on this card, who we believe is the blonde haired Myung-goo Yuh (24-4-1, 19). Though we are very unsure on the details regarding this fight.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)
Earlier today in the Filipino press we saw WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) being linked to fights with several Asian fighters for his next defense, scheduled for March 28th, and it was a huge hint that much mooted bout with Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11) wouldn't be happening, at least for now. The story, reported by the Sunstar in the Philippines, has come after Nietes long term promoter, and the head of ALA Promotions, Michael Aldeguer, was quoted as saying:
“It’s a voluntary title defense. We are looking at someone from Asia. Maybe a Japanese ranked fighter as boxing in Japan recently is doing well. Donnie has been fighting a lot of Mexican fighters already so maybe this time an opponent from Asia as boxing has become more popular because of China,”
Whilst the quote is a little bit confusing in that it hints to China and Japan it does leave us with a very interesting selection fighters, as per the most recent WBO rankings.
Ideally the best choice would be Thailand's Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20) who is currently ranked #2 and has, apparently, had his team make contact with Nietes. This is a fight that we really do like the look of though suspect ALA wouldn't be fans of given that Paipharob is unbeaten, heavy handed and not the type of guy that fighters want to fight unless they have to. It would however be a compelling contest and one that makes sense if Nietes is wanting to prove himself.
Paipharob isn't the only Thai ranked by the WBO but he is the only "realistic" option from Thailand with the unbeaten Petchchorhae Kokietgym (10-0, 7), the WBO #14, being a very unlikely option, especially considering his level of competition so far.
The second highest ranked Asian in the WBO rankings is a Filipino, Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17). Ranked #7 Taconing is one 3 ranked challengers from the Philippines and would make for a sensational opponent for Nietes. Taconing is heavy handed, aggressive and exciting and should make for a compelling bout with Nietes, a much better "boxer". Sadly however this bout looks unlikely with Taconing now expected to go the WBC route and move towards a fight with Pedro Guevara however it is certainly possible for him to go this way and give us an all Filipino bout that would guarantee fireworks.
A second Filipino option would be Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20), ranked #11 by the WBO. Whilst this would look good on paper it's not a bout that would interest us as Asenjo isn't as good as his ranking suggests, and in his only would title fight so far he came up very short, being stopped in 3 by Raul Garcia. On the world scene Asenjo doesn't seem to have it, though he is entertaining and exciting.
The final Filipino option would be the WBO #14 ranked Benezer Alolod (16-5-5, 5), who struggled in December to beat domestic rival Renren Tesorio. Alolod is a more interesting fight than Asenjo and although he was stopped in 9 rounds by Nkosinathi Joyi, he does hold a couple of notable wins including a 7th round technical decision win over Rey Loreto and a 3rd round retirement victory over one time OPBF title contender Jerson Mancio. Those wins however wouldn't make very confident in Mancio being able to be competitive with Nietes.
Going back to Adeguer's statement regarding Japanese and Chinese challengers it's worth noting that both countries have a fighter ranked.
From China we have #9 contender Ma Yi Ming (12-5, 7) who has one of those confusing records. Ming began his career in 2007 and quickly fell to 3-5, including a trio of stoppage losses in his first 3 bouts. Since then however he has scored 7 straight wins, including a notable one this past December against Tommy Seran. Although he is "streaking", so to speak, he has been fighting at a low level and his ranking has been artificially enhanced by the fact he has been holding vario WBO titles over the years, including the WBO China Zone Flyweight title and the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title, which he won against Seran.
As for Japan their ranked contender is the #10 ranked Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2). Kimura is the Japanese national champion and has been eyeing up an opportunity for a world title fight in recent months. On paper he's a much better challenger than Ming and has won at a higher level, with wins over Kenichi Horikawa and Yuki Chinen. He is also a proven tough guy and his most notable loss so far with a TKO loss to current WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi. On paper this would be our "third choice" if bouts with Paipharob and Taconing cannot be made, though we suspect this may be a perfect choice for ALA and it would allow Nietes to be compared to Taguchi.
Earlier today a story emerged from Thailand that struck us as very interesting. The story that emerged suggests that WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) may be heading to Thailand to battle against the unbeaten Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20).
The story mentions that an offer has been made from Paipharob's camp to that of Nietes in the hope of securing the WBO #2 ranked Paipharob a shot at the WBO crown. Although no response has yet been reported by the Thai press it does seem like the offer is a serious one that the hopes of making this fight are particularly high.
Late last year there were similar reports that Paipharob would be getting a WBO world title shot if Nietes was going to vacate the title, something that did seem highly likely at the time. With Nietes cancelling plans to vacate it seems Paipharob has turned his attention to the Filipino fighter in an attempt to get his shot.
Notably Nietes actually beat a Thai, Pornsawan Porpramook, back in September 2007, for his first world title. It's likely that the Thai media would use that bout to form a "revenge" storyline going into this bout. Sadly however if this bout is made it would delay a potential clash between Nietes and former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11).
(Image courtesy of The Champion - Thailand)
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