Japan's Olympic hero Ryota Murata (3-0, 3) continued to impress as he took a big step up in class and defeated former world title challenger Carlos Nascimento (29-4, 23)
The fight started slowly with little thrown in the first 30 seconds though the fight started to heat up and after a minute both were taking it in turns to fire off shots. Unfortunately for the Brazilian his shots didn't have the power or accuracy to make Murata respect him whilst Murata's shots seemed to shake Nascimento almost every time they landed.
Worryingly for Nascimento it was clear Murata was merely fighting in first gear. He was cruising through the opening round and trying to see Nascimento really had and whether the Brazilian was as much of a puncher as his reputation indicated.
The second round of the fight looked like a public sparring exhibition from Murata who put his foot on the gas slightly and started to punch Nascimento around the ring. By the early stages of round 3 it seemed clear that Nascimento was getting beaten down and Murata could feel it as he began to unload shots at will on Nascimento who was eventually dropped.
Despite Nascimento having managed to see out the third round the ending seemed inevitable and a follow up attack early in round 4 forced the referee to step in and wave it off. By the point of the stoppage it had began to look like Nascimento was little more than a human punch bag taking big shots with out throwing anything back at all.
Although Murata had travelled from Japan he did seem to have a huge following in Macau and got huge cheers at both the start and end of his fight. We're going to assume that they were Japanese fans who followed Murata over to Macau showing just how big his draw is even at this early stage of his career.
(Photo courtesy of TopRank and Chris Farina)
Just a few hours ago saw the official weigh-ins for this weekends "Ring of Gold" card in Macau and everyone, unsurprisingly, weighed inside their allowed weight.
The fighters in the main event, Zou Shiming (3-0) and Yodthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11) were both inside the Flyweight limit. Shiming was the bigger man weighing 111.8lbs whilst Yodthong was 110.6lbs. This was the heaviest weight that Shiming has weighed, though only marginally.
The IBF Lightweight world title fight between Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) and Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18) saw both fighters weighing the exact same at 134.8lbs. The surprising thing here was that Vazquez didn't appear to be the 6" taller than the Russian as was widely reported. From what we saw it was, at most 4" and may well have just been 3". Surprising consider that much of the talk was about the Vazquez's impressive height advantage.
In the regional Super Flyweight unification bout between Rex Tso (11-0, 7) and Mao Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3) both men were again comfortably inside the limit. Tso, the heavier man was 114.6lbs whilst Matsuyama was 114.4lbs. Likewise the WBO International Featherweight title fight between Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14) and Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) also saw both fighters coming in in similar weight. Sonsona was 125.6lbs whilst Shimoda was 125.8lbs. For Shimoda, who made his name at Super Bantamweight, this was a career highest whilst Sonsona weighed his lowest since defeating Carlos Joan Gaspar Jacobo in 2011.
Sonsona's compatriot, and Japanese boxing star, Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) weighed a career highest 161.4lbs for his contest with Brazil's experienced Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23) who was just less than a lb lighter weighing in at 160.6lbs. We believe this is Nascimento's heaviest weight since 2004 though it likely won't help him in what we view as being a bit of a mismatch.
The biggest difference in weight between fighters on the card was in the swing bout which saw Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) weighing in at 154.2lbs, his career high and some 3lbs heavier than when we last saw him. Kuok's opponent Rocky Alp Alp (5-10) was over 4lbs lighter standing at 150lbs on the scales. This difference was given a good run for it's money by Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) who was 3.6lbs heavier than Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). Mekhontsev came in at 177.2lbs whilst Attahporn was well inside the 175lb limit weighing just 173.6lbs.
One other bout with a notable weight difference was Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) having more than 3lbs on Yakobus Heluka (7-5). De La Torre came in at 131.4lbs whilst Heluka was 128lbs.
In the one remaining bout, the contest between Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) and Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11) was saw Ancajas having a small but notable advantage. The once beaten Filipino weighed 115.6lbs whilst the Thai was 114.6lbs.
(Picture, courtesy of Top Rank's twitter features Ryota Murata and Carlos Nascimento).
Earlier today all the fighters on the "Ring of Gold" card were paraded in front of the press ahead of the big show this coming Sunday.
Amongst those on show were Olympic gold medal winning trio Egor Mekhontsev, Zou Shiming and Ryota Murata, pictured, Denis Shafikov, Rex Tso, Kuok Kun Ng and Akifumi Shimoda.
It seems that all the fighters have made it over well and look in fine condition ahead of their fights though a few final touches will be put to their preparation as will very light training. The key for the next few days will be to make sure they weigh in correctly and that they've adapted to the conditions. It'd be a shock if any of them did fail to make weight though we did hear that the contracted weight for Murata's fight with Carlos Nascimento has been increased slightly from the originally contracted weight.
Today, for the first time, we've seen odds for much of the "Ring of Gold" card published.
The one bout that had been priced up for a while was the IBF Lightweight world title fight between Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) and Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18). This bout had been priced for a few weeks and saw Shafikov open at around 9/4, his odds have now shortened to just 6/4 leaving him a small under-dog. Vazquez, the betting favourite, is currently 4/6 though was much shorter a week or two back.
We had predicted a victory for Shafikov and Taka's tip was for Shafikov when he was 9/4, at the closer odds however the bout is priced much more accurately than it was originally.
The next closest bout on the card is the WBO International Featherweight title bout between Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) and Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14). Shimoda, of Japan, has been instilled as a notable favourite priced at 1/2 though Sonsona is nicely priced at 7/4 if you like the upset. We do view this as a pretty even bout so could see some punters lean towards Sonsona who does, as we said, look nice priced.
Unfortunately it's only really those two bouts which are even competitive looking on the books, though they do carry 3 other bouts.
Japanese star Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) is set as a clear 1/12 favourite against Brazilian puncher Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23) who is 8/1. There are no odds currently available on this one ending by stoppage though that is what we're expecting.
China's very own Zou Shiming (3-0) is an unbackable 1/33 favourite to beat Thailand's Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). Although more experienced as a professional Yokthong is the big the underdog priced at 10/1 and we'd not be that shocked to see one or two people a nibble at that.
The only other bout priced at the moment is that of the "Wonder Boy" Rex Tso (11-0, 7) who is a clear favourite priced at 1/18. Although we weren't impressed by Tso the first time we saw him fight in Macau, struggling to hold a majority decision over Rusalee Samor, he should really have more than enough for Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3) who is a big underdog at 17/2.
Although a lot of the bouts are mismatches we have certainly seen some value in there and placed our own personal bets. The most interesting of which features Shafikov, Sonsona, Murata, Yokthong and Tso in an accumulator and trust us, if that wins drinks are them!
*Please note-All odds are correct at time of writing, all odds are win only and all odds are available on UK betting websites. We are not advocating gambling but merely using the odds to demonstrate who is the favourite and how much of a favourite they are. All bets are at a risk and are taken at the individuals own choice we are not advocating gambling and it is addictive.
Top Rank's exciting looking "Ring of Gold" card has been fully announced and will feature and impressive 10 bouts, including 3 title bouts, 3 Olympic gold medal winners, 4 former world champions and 9 unbeaten fighters.
The card, at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort in Macau is expected to kick off with a 4 rounder between local fighter Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although Kun Ng is still a novice we do really like him and with him being the "Macao Kid" we do see the future potential in him as a local star.
Kun Ng/Alap Alap is the only 4 rounder on the show, though is joined in the under with 3 bouts scheduled for 6 rounds.
The 6 rounders include the first of the Olympic champions in the form of Russian Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) who takes on unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). Mekhontsev, who won gold in the Light Heavyweight division, is regarded as a fighter with all the tools needed to be a superstar and we'd expect them to be on show against Atthaporn who, although unbeaten, hasn't faced anyone of any note.
Another of the 6 rounders is set to see Filipino prospect Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) take on the limited Indonesian Yakobus Heluka (7-5). We like what we've heard about Dela Torre but, as with many Filipino prospects it's hard to know just how good he will end up being. Despite the questions marks are Dela Torre it'd be a huge upset to see him beaten.
The remaining 6 rounder will see China's Ik Yang (14-0-0-1, 9), real name Yang Lian Hui, fighting against Thailand's Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1). We do like Yang and think he has a very fan friendly style though we've got to admit that Petchsamuthr impressed up last time out going 6 hard rounds with Felix Verdejo. Although this isn't a marquee bout we do expect it to be very enjoyable to watch.
As with the 6 rounder we also have a trio of 8 rounders. Of those the leas interesting to us is one between Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) and Thailand's Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11). On paper this looks pretty interesting but Inthanon's chin has been cracked when he's faced good foes in the past, including both Rocky Fuentes and Mark Anthony Geraldo. We'd expect Ancajas to do the same.
One of the other 8 rounders sees Chinese icon Zou Shiming (3-0), another Olympic gold medal winner, taking on Thai Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like an amazing test for Shiming though Yokthong has been stopped twice, including 2nd round KO to Ryuji Hara, and has never beaten anyone of any sort of note. Shiming may not manage to score a stoppage but should really be able to over-come his Thai rival.
The most interesting of the 8 rounders sees Japanese Olympic champion Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) taking on Brazilian veteran Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23). This bout shouldn't be difficult for Murata though should allow him another stoppage and a few more rounds at a decent level. Nascimento, once a world title challenger, isn't as big or strong as Murata though could use his experience to give Murata a few questions before finally being stopped.
The first title bout, fought over 10 rounds, will see Hong Kong's sensationally popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) attempt to unify his WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title with the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Unfortunately for Tso a victory won't actually mean a lot as he attempts to take on Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3) a very limited Japanese fighter who has won just 3 of his last 8.
In the most recent bout to be announced on the card, and the second title fight, we will see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) taking on fellow former world champion Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14). This bout, for the WBO International Featherweight title, has been made in the last day or two and keeps Shimoda on the card after Simpiwe Vetyeka was taken from the card due to the WBA. This bout, one we favour Shimoda in, is a good bout on paper, though we do feel that Sonsona probably isn't big enough or strong enough to test Shimoda at Featherweight.
The only world title bout on the card will see Mexico's talented, though unexciting, Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) defending his IBF Lightweight title against Russia's Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18). This is the hardest bout on the show to call with Vazquez being a very slippery customer though Shafikov is strong as a bull and will always come forward. Great bout and one we can't wait to see.
We hope to have more details on the actual running order sooner rather than later though we'll admit we're really excited about this card.
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