Back in September we saw Filipino fighter Edward Heno (11-0-5, 5) travel to Japan and stop Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) [荻堂 盛太] to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title, doing so in impressive fashion following a draw with Ogido earlier in the year. Sadly for the new champion his reign has already come to an end with a report from the Philippines saying that Heno has been stripped, and boxrec also listing a vacant title fight later this year.
Apparently Heno will be unable to defend the belt at the OPBF convention in November, and rather than the OPBF showing some common sense they have decided to strip the champion and set up a bout between Rey Loreto (23-14, 15) and Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8), which will take place on November 10th at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum, in Palawan.
The decision to strip Heno is based on the fighter wanting to spend time with his sick son, and not having enough time to prepare for a fighter like Loreto, especially given that the Heno fight was only a few weeks earlier. The logical idea of having an interim title fight between Loreto and Soriano seems to have passed the OPBF by, despite the fact the same show will have an OPBF "interim" Featherweight title fight on it between Lorence Rosas (8-1-2, 2) and Jelbirt Gomera (12-4, 6), with Gomera getting the shot on the back of 3 successive losses to Asian opponents.
Although the OPBF seem to be hiding behind their rule book, the decision is certainly one that doesn't appear to have been made in great faith and leaves the body open to a lot of questions about their treatment of fighters, like Heno.
(Story originally broken by the fantastic Ryan Songalia of Rappler, with his full story available here)
Tomorrow fight fans in Thailand will see WBA Minmumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] battle against mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (23-13, 15). The bout is set to be a really interesting match up and a genuinely tough looking defense for the Thail world champion, despite the record of the upset minded Loreto.
For fans interested in gambling, or in odds, it's worth noting that Knockout, listed on betting websites under his birth name of Thammanoon Niyomtrong, is a clear favourite priced around 1/3 with a number of bookmakers. Those odds are showing he's a favourite but this isn't a clear cut outcome, and the bookies do think he'll have some problems over-coming the Filipino.
As for Loreto he's priced at a very attractive 2/1 to score another upset, womething he has now built his reputation on. His record may not show it but he's a very dangerous and is currently in the form of his career, having won his last 7 and having stopped his last 6.
For those unaware this bout will be on Thai channel channel 7 between 16:00 and 18:00 local time.
Related-Rey Loreto looks to continue upset run as he takes on WBA champion Knockout!
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
In April we reported that the WBA had ordered their minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] to begin negotiations to face WBA #1 ranked contender Rey Loreto (23-13, 15) in a mandatory title fight.
Although things went quiet on that front, with speculation that Loreto may have been offered step aside money, there was noise again today with the bout being reported by the Thai media as a done deal.
The bout is now set to take place on July 15th in Chonburi, Thailand, and will be aired on Channel 7, who continue to work with Knockout.
The bout will be the first world title bout for Lorteo, barring minor world titles, and will see him return to the country fight in Thailand for the 8th time, with the country also playing host to one of his biggest wins to date, a technical stoppage against Pornsawan Porpramook in 2013. That win over Porpramook began Loreto's current 8 fight winning streak, which has seen him stop his last 7 foes, including Nkosinathi Joyi, twice.
For the Thai the bout will mark his third defense of the title, a title he won last June when he beat Byron Rojas. Although Knockout has impressed, beating the likes of Carlos Buitrago and Rojas, his last two bouts haven't been the most impressive as he over-came the Japanese pairing of Shin Ono and Go Odaira. On paper this isn't a step up, but the reality is that Loreto is much more dangerous than Ono and Odaira and should be a very tough out for the unbeaten Thai champion.
(Image courtesy of The Champion-Thailand)
Earlier this year saw Thai sources report that WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi's (25-2-2, 11) [田口良一] was likely to face Thai challenger Palangpol CP Freshmart (12-1, 7) [คู่เอก พลังพล ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] in what would have been the Watanabe fighter's next defense of the title. It now appears that the bout is off, unless a deal can be made for a Watanabe product to fight on the same card in another world title bout. Although the reasoning for this is currently unclear it does seem plausible that the issue is Tokyo TV, who would struggle to defend having a single world title show on their channel, especially given what TBS and Fuji TV are giving us this year.
It seems like one possibility which is being considered is for OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6) [京口 紘人] to get a world title fight on the same card, builing on his fast track to the top. The logical option for the show would be to have Kyoguchi battle with WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท]. Sadly however at the moment Kyoguchi is unranked by the WBA, who are the only organisation not to rank him, and Knockout has just been ordered to negotiate with WBA #1 ranked contender Rey Loreto (23-13, 15) in a mandatory title fight.
There is a chance that Watanabe will offer Loreto a step aside payment, to get their televised doubler header and as a result for TV Tokyo to back the show, however Loreto would certainly be looking for the first shot at the winner of Knockout Vs Kyoguchi.
Another story is that the Taguchi Vs Palangpol bout has been scrapped and instead Taguchi's team will be looking to have their man defend the title against mandatory challenger Robert Barrera (18-1, 12), from Colmbia. The Colombian press has reported that this bout could potentially be taking place in either June or July in Japan, likely acting a mandatory defense for Taguchi. If that takes place it would still only give Watanabe one set world title bout, but could give them some extra time to scramble for a second world title bout or to agree a deal with Loreto and Knockout.
At the moment it's looking like 2017 is a strange year for the Watanabe gym. Their star man, Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) [内山 高志] as well as former 2-time champion Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13) [河野 公平] haven't yet announced their future plans and with Taguchi sat waiting for a fight things are frustrating at the top. They have however seen a number of success on the domestic and regional scenes, with Kyoguchi, Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) [久我 勇作], Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人] and Ryuichi Funai (27-7, 19) [船井 龍一] all winning titles so far this year.
Again we need to report that it's unclear what's next for Taguchi, but it does seem like his broadcaster is wanting a multi-title broadcast and that he won't be in action until the summer, at the earliest, with Barrera now looking like his most likely opponent.
*Note although NTV have done single world title shows in recent times WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19) [山中慎介] is a much bigger draw than Taguchi and comparing their populairty and drawing powers really isn't fair.
At the start of this week the WBA ordered their Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] to begin negotiations to make a mandatory defence of his title, with the unbeaten Thai ordered to negotiate with WBA #1 ranked contender Rey Loreto (23-13, 15), of the Philippines. The two teams had 30 days to negotiate a deal, starting this past Monday, before the WBA will order purse bids.
For Knockout the bout will serve as his third defense of the title and see him facing his first Filipino foe since his 2014 win over Cris Alfante, who was stopped in 5 rounds by the Thai. Although this will only be his third defense of the WBA title he did make 3 interim title defenses before winning the regular title in June last year, when he out pointed Byron Rojas. That bout with Rojas was the last mandatory title bout for the title with Knockout staying busy with two voluntary defenses.
For Loreto the bout ends a long wait for a big fight following big upset wins over Pornsawan Porpramook in 2013 and wins over Nkosinathi Joyi in 2014 and 2015. Although he lacks he pretty looking record he has won his last 7, with 6 TKO's, and been matched hard through his career, with losses against the likes of Paipharob Kokietgym, Wisanu Kokietgym, Jason Canoy and began his career 0-4. Since that bad start he has turned his career aroudn and proven to be a tough and heavy handed fighter who has been one to avoid.
Although it's not yet been decided it does seem likely that the bout will be held in Thailand and will occur in the summer, with an outdoor venue likely as Knockout's team do all they can to get their man all the advantages they can.
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