Filipino contender Rey Loreto (25-14, 17) might have lost some of the momentum he had a few years ago but at 28 years old he still has real time to rebuild and earn another world title fight. This week Loreto's hope of getting another big fight was given a huge boost as he signed a new promotional deal, this time with the Japanese Taisei Gym.
Loreto really made his name a few years ago, when he beat Pornsawan Porpramook and Nkosinathi Joyi, twice. The Joyi win, or the first of them at least, was one of the big upsets of 2014 and one of the best KO's of the year. More than 3 years after his first win over Joyi he finally got a world title fight, losing to Knockout CP Freshmart in Thailand.
Since losing to Knockout, more than 2 years ago, the Filipino banger has fought only twice, scoring low level wins.
In recent times Loreto has been training in Japan, being a sparring partner for WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成].
The Taisei gym is run by former OPBF Welterweight champion Taisei Marumoto. Marumoto spoke about signing Loreto and stated that he had spoke to Loreto team who have seemingly convinced him to sign the "Hitman" who has a stated a hope of becoming a world champion in Japan.
Loreto's next bout hasn't yet been confirmed, but it is known that Taisei are doing a card in November, and there is a chance he will be added to that. If not we would expect him to fight in December though again, nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
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.
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