On December 23rd we'll see a notable show in Japan, featuring 3 world title fights and the return of Roman Gonzalez.
Today one of the fighters on that card, WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) [拳四朗], took part in a media work, ahead of his bout against Filipino Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23).
The champion spoke to the press about the fight and spoke confidently, and no issues preparing for a southpaw, like Petalcorin. He almost seemed like a man who was happy to be facing a southpaw, though we suspect he is still a rather deflated by the fact that he did miss out on a unification bout with IBF champion Felix Alvarado who fell ill in the build up to the bout.
As for the actual work out he looked sharp, especially with his foot work, and it was clear that his focus is on using his feet to open up angles against Petalcorin. This can be seen in short clip released by Boxingnews.jp below. Other part of the work out saw him working more intensively with the mitts, though it is clear that he's becoming more aware of his footwork, and how that can strengthen his arsenal.
The smiling youngster, known for his "V" pose also showed off a new pose today, a "Teraji T" pose, and this will actually be the first bout of his professional career where he fights under his full name, instead of "Kenshiro".
(Image and video courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Just moments ago our Japanese sources have informed us that Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39) has had his next bout announced!
According to the source Teiken have announced that Gonzalez will be in the ring on December 23rd, as part of the Fuji TV show featuring a trio of world title bouts, and will be up against Filipino Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4) in a 8 round bout at 116lbs.
The 4-weight champion, and a man who was long considered one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet, hasn't fought at all since September 2018, when he stopped Moises Fuentes in Las Vegas, and hasn't fought in Japan for over 5 years, going back to when he beat Rocky Fuentes in November 2014.
Given Gonzalez's inactivity we weren't anything too interesting, though it does seem odd that they've announced the bout less than 3 weeks before the contest is set to take place. They clearly don't see Diocos as a test, and if Gonzalez is even 25% he once was he should walk through the Filipino with no ease at all.
Whilst Gonzalez has been on the sideline Diocos has been active this year and this will be his 5th bout of the year. Sadly for him he has gone 1-3 in his previous 4 bouts, with losses to Hayate Kaji, Mirco Martin and Ricardo Sueno. Notably he has only been stopped once, and Teiken likely see him as being a durable foe, but that stoppage was in a previous visit to Japan against a fighter with a similar aggressive style to Roman Gonzalez, Daigo Higa.
Sadly the bout is unlikely to receive any TV, at least in Japan, but for fans wondering when the great "Chocolatito" will be back in action we now know!
Gonzalez's return will come on a card that also features WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] defending his title against Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) [拳四朗], defending his title against Filipino Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23) and Akira Yaegashi's (28-6, 16) [八重樫 東] challenge against IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25)
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
It's been an odd week for WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗], who saw a planned unification bout with IBF champion Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30) fall through due to health issues with Alvarado. Thankfully as the bout was scheduled for December 23rd things were able to be put in motion to get Kenshiro an alternative opponent.
Today the alternative opponent was announced, and whilst it's not an opponent as good as Alvarado it is still an excellent opponents for less than 5 weeks notice.
The opponent who was named today was Filipino Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23), who is a former Alvarado opponent himself.
The Filipino fighter is ranked in the top 10 by the WBA and IBF, though isn't currently ranked by the WBC however we expect that to change when the rankings are updated in early December.
Petalcorin is a former WBA interim champion who is probably best known for his loss to Alvarado in October 2018 and his controversial decision loss to Omari Kinweri. Despite those defeats he has been in and around the world rankings for years and was once tipped to be a major force in the division, something he would be if he can score the upset in December.
Despite the change of opponent it's hard to imagine Kenshiro losing here, as he looks for his 7th defense.
It's also worth noting that Kenshiro will being going by his birth name Kenshiro Teraji going forward, with the belief being that it will be easier to get attention in the West. We'll admit we doubt the name change will help there.
The baby faced "Amazing Boy" revealed that he wants to fight not only in unification bouts in 2020 but also fight overseas. It seems that that is his real motivation going forward, despite the fact the planned unification bout has fallen through.
Just moments ago we saw former world title challenger Randy Petalcorin (30-3-1, 23) get on the comeback trial, as he scored a 3rd round win over Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (14-22-1, 13), aka Phupha Por Nobnom.
The match, Petalcorin's first since losing in an IBF world title fight to Felix Alvarado, was a mismatch from the off and the Filipino showed no real sign of being gun shy as he quickly figured out the Thai.
Worawatchai was dropped in round 2, as Petalcorin began to hunt an early finish, and finished off the following round, being dropped again and looking very sorry for himself.
Although this was clearly a confidence building match up for Petalcorin he did what he was supposed to do, and it clearly going to be moved into bigger fights going forward. For the Thai he did his job of losing, and making Petalcorin look great. Fingers crossed Petalcorin steps up quickly and gets better tests than this before fighting at world level again.
Yesterday Filipino promotional outfit Sanman Promotions announced their next card to feature on ESPN5 in the Philippines, set for June 8th, and it's a pretty interesting one with several notable names, mixing top Filipino prospects with a former world title challenger and a former world champion.
The most notable fight on the card will see unbeaten Filipino Jayson Mama (12-0, 6) take on former WBA Minimumweight champion Ekkawit Songnui (49-6-1, 26), aka Kwanthai Sithmorseng, in a 10 round bout. This looks interesting on paper, given the gulf in experience, but it's hard to see past the younger, bigger, fresher Mama.
Another world level name on this show is Randy Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22), who is taking on Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (14-21-1, 13), aka Phupha Por Nobnom.
For Petalcorin this will be his first bout since losing to Felix Alvarado in an IBF Light Flyweight world title fight last October, whilst the visitor will look to end a 2-fight losing streak.
Another of the top prospects on this card is the all action Carl Jammes Martin (12-0, 11), who returns to the ESPN5 screens as he takes on unbeaten Indian visitor Rakesh Lohchab (6-0, 2). Martin made his TV debut last time out, stopping Petchchorhae Kokietgym in thrilling fashion and looks like a true "made for TV" fighter, so fingers crossed he puts on another showcase here.
One other bout set for TV is an all-Filipino show down between the unbeaten Dave Apolinario (10-0 6) an the once promising, though now very much faltering, Dexter Alimento (13-6, 9). Apolinario has shone on ESPN5 shows in the past, and looked an elite level prospect earlier in the year when he defeated Romshane Sarguilla, and he appears to have all the tools to go a very, very long way. Alimention on the other hand has been stopped in his last 3, is win-less in in his last 4 and is 2-6 in his last 8.
As with the other ESPN5 cards this is expected to be streamed around the globe courtesy of ESPN5's youtube account.
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