Boxing can be an odd sport at times for many reasons. Last night, or rather this morning as it turned out to be, we had one clear case of poor promotional activity as the PBC show the Microsoft Theatre in LA ran into the early of Sunday, local time. Not only did it run to a stupid time, but many of the most interesting match ups were off air. In fact a full shows worth of good fights went unaired and took place after mid-night in what could go down as one of the most bizarre and stupid promotional decisions of the year so far, and this is a year where the WBSS has ended up putting Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] against Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) in Glasgow!
Among those unaired yet compelling match ups was an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator pitting former champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] against the always exciting Cesar Juarez (23-7, 17). It was a match up that promised so much, and deserved an audience based on the reputation of the fighters alone. Sadly it came after the main show, fans had mostly left and media were the key source of information on the bout.
The fans, the fighters and the media had all predicted a war. The styles should have given us something special, something worthy of a TV audience, or at very least a streaming audience on the promoters own website. Sadly though there was nothing, nothing other than the reports, tweets and news from journalists, for what was a significant bout for both men, and for the Super Bantamweight title.
According to most the fight was action packed early on, but messy and a headclash in round 2 left both with cuts around the eyes. Iwasa looked to control the distance but instead it was Juarez who had managed to set the early pace, and setting it high. He was getting inside and forcing Iwasa to have problems, but the success took a toll on the Mexican who began to feel the tempo earlier than Iwasa. By the middle rounds Iwasa was starting to take advantage of the tiring Mexican, landing left hands and began to pick his spots better, turning the tide and taking advantage as Juarez began to flag more. Then both began to tire in what was becoming a messy, gruelling affair between the determined warriors. As the action got messier, the cuts got worse, and forced an early conclusion to the bout, due to Juarez's cut.
They went to the scorecards which had Iwasa winning 97-93 and 98-92, to over-rule a 95-95 even card. Given the details reported by various journalists and sources, it seems the cards were debatable, though the media at ringside media do seem to have been relatively split. Though questions have to be asked of the promotion again, in having the judges working 4 or 5 bouts on the same night, split by several hours and whether fatigue of judges is a good thing. Judges doing multiple fights is no problem, but having them spread over such a length of time is a big worry in terms of consistency.
Also on the card, in regards to an Asian interest, was former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (32-2, 15), who stopped Fernando Vargas Parra (34-15-3, 23) in the 5th round to continue his climb towards a second world title.
A lot of respect for the likes of Gabe Oppenheim and Steve Kim for giving updates on the card via twitter through what appears to have been a marathon night of boxing, frustration and peculiar promotional planning. A loss of respect however for the promoter, who had the talent to run two different shows here.
On Saturday in the US former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] and the often entertaining Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17) will clash in a world title eliminator, in what could be the bout of the weekend. On Friday the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight for the contest.
On the scales the slightly taller Iwasa was 121.6lbs, comfortably under the 122lb limit for the division. He looked power, strong and confident, and stated that "I think that I will feel a different atmosphere from the usual because I am overseas" [Translated] and "I would like to repay those who support this opportunity to support. I will win and return home with a smile. " [Translated] It is worth noting that Iwasa is 0-1 outside of Japan, having lost in the UK to Lee Haskins, but has seemed confident here and will realise he needs a win to keep his career alive here.
Juarez was 122lbs, the division limit, and looked powerful and strong. He is certainly not there to pick up another loss and with 6 defeats on his record it could be very difficult for him to bounce back from another defeat here. He comes into this bout full of confidence, having won 3 in a row since his loss to Isaac Dogboe in January 2018, and will know that a win here gets him another world title shot.
Related - Iwasa and Juarez meet in IBF eliminator!
(Image Sean Michael Ham / TGB Promotions)
This coming weekend we see a number of fantastic match ups. One of those is the IBF Super Bantamweight title eliminator between former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] and the often entertaining Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17), with the two men battling to get a shot at the IBF title currently held by the unbeaten TJ Doheny.
Interestingly Iwasa has been made the favourite for the bout, which will be his US debut. The Japanese fighter, who is managed by former world champion Celes Kobayashi, has been priced at 11/25 to win the bout and move a step closer to getting a chance to reclaim the title he lost to Doheny last year. Juarez on the other hand is 12/5 to come out on top, and earn a shot at IBF belt. The draw is priced at 25/1, in what is expected to be a competitive bout.
The bout has the "Method of Victory" market available, with Iwasa by decision seen as the most likely outcome, priced at 5/4 whilst an Iwasa stoppage is 3/1. A stoppage for Juarez is widely available at 5/1, a very attractive price, whilst a Juarez decision is as high as 7/1 with some book makers.
The fight is 8/11 to go the scheduled distance and 5/4 for it to end early. Give the power of the two men this could well end up being a very brutal and testing affair, and we wouldn't be surprised to see both men busted up at some point during the contest, so a stoppage based on accumulation or damage for either man wouldn't be the biggest surprise.
Related - Iwasa and Juarez meet in IBF eliminator!
Later this month former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] will battle against Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17) in an IBF world title eliminator.
Today Iwasa worked out for the press, working with Celes gym chairman, Celes Kobayashi, and active Japanese fighter Dai Iwai (23-5-1, 7) [岩佐 亮佑].
The work out saw Iwasa sparring 4 rounds with Iwai, and looking sharp through the session as well as relaxed. As for the work with Kobayashi, things were simple pad work between the fighter and his mentor.
This will be Iwasa's US debut, however he did famously travel over to the US to face Luis Rosa in 2016, before Rosa failed to make weight in what was a world title eliminator. Iwasa seems confident that his experience of making weight for that bout will help him here.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
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