Yesterday in Metro Manila fight fans were treat to a brilliantly tactical, competitive and compelling match up, as local star Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1, 15) retained his WBO Asia Pacific title, despite an excellent effort from Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平].
For the first round to the last both men showed excellent technical skills, judging distance brilliant and picking the right shots. Despite the bout being a technical chess match, it wasn't one where both constantly waited for the other, and instead both men legitimately pressed the action, in a calculated and intelligent manner.
Through the first 6 rounds or so there was little to separate the men, despite some cheerleading for Elorde from the commentary team, though in the second half Kawashima seemed to pull his nose in front. The action was never one sided, though there was clear rounds each way, and it seemed like the visitor was the one taking the rounds by slim margins, always an issue on the road. The commentary and Elorde himself seemed to realise what was happening in the final rounds, with the commentary, which had been very confident early on, sounding apprehensive whilst Elorde tried to make sure that he gave the judges a reason to score the final round his way.
In the end we had it incredibly close, at 116-112 to Kawashima, but could easily see a wide range of scores, especially given how Elorde was the local favourite and the grandson of Flash Elorde, who's the reason for the Elorde Awards that this bout took place on. Elorde was also the promoters fighter and the man on the verge of a career defining world title fight.
The officials saw it differently to us, scoring it 117-111, twice, and 115-113 all in favour of Elorde. Although the 117-111 cards were very harsh, a win for Elorde was certainly not out of the question and the 115-113 card certainly was well within the realms of reality.
Tomorrow fight fans in the Philippines will get a chance to see regional champion Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) defending his WBO Asia Pacific title against Japan's Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight with no issues.
Elorde was 121lbs on the scales, whilst Kawashima was 120lbs.
For Elorde, who is very highly ranked, by the WBO the bout is essentially a must win for him to remain on the verge of a world title fight. For Kawashima however it's a chance to gate crash the rankings and get himself in the mix, in a big way.
Related - Elorde and Kawashima battle for region title!
Earlier today we were informed by sources that Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) would be returning to the ring on March 25th to take on talented Japanese fighter Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
This will be the 4th defense from Elorde, who has used the title to climb to a #2 WBO world ranking and is on the verge of a world title fight if he can keep his current winning run going. The 32 year old Filipino, grandson of Flash Elorde, has won his last 17 in a row and whilst his competition hasn't been the best he has managed to put on some solid performances, including a 2018 stoppage win over Lucky Tor Buamas.
At the age of 27 Kawashima is just coming into his physical prime. He turned professional in 2012 and won the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight. In recent years he has proven his ability on the road, beating Jim Wook Lim in Korea and running Cristian Mijares close in 2016 in Mexico. He was surprisingly stopped in 2017 by Gaku Aikawa, but has since bounced back with a couple of wins.
We've yet to see any other bouts for this show being announced, though would expect details to be announced in the very near future.
At the Sambo Hall in Kobe today fight fans had the chance to see local hopeful Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平] score one of his most eye catching wins today, as he took out Filipino foe Ronnie Campos (8-4-3, 5).
The bout started slowly, with the two men each looking to control the range of the bout, though. Both men managed to land solid shots, and despite neither being a big puncher it did seem unlikely that the bout would go the distance, with both lining up big shots.
Fortunately for the local fans it was Kawashima's right hand would that end the bout, as he cracked Campos clean in round 5, dropping the Filipino. The referee quickly waved the bout off with the visitor having hit the canvas hard.
Following the bout the victor spoke about moving into a Japanese title fight in 2019. At the moment we wouldn't favour him against any of the top domestic fighters, but this was an impressive win and saw Campos being stopped for just the second time in his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In August former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] announced that he was retiring from boxing, at the age of 23, due to a subdural hematoma. The injury, suffered in his title loss against Vic Saludar, ended what was looking like a very bright career for a very talented young man.
Now it's been confirmed that he will step in the ring one more time, taking part in a public retirement ceremony on October 13th at the next Shinsei Gym promoted card, which will be held at the Kobe Sambo Hall.
The ceremony will be held to honour his career and wish him the best for his post-fighting career.
For those outside of Japan the ceremony's really don't have a Western equivalent. It's a chance for the fans to say good bye to fighters and a chance for the fighters to thank the fans and supporters they've had through their career. In some cases this comes after a long career, with the fans supporting a fighter for over a decade. Sadly in Yamanka's case his short career didn't allow a long relationship with the fans, but it was still a strong one, with the fans in Kobe being their for a local fighter.
The October 13th card will also feature Yuki Yamauchi (1-0, 1) [山内祐希] competing in a 10 round bout against Filipino puncher Alvin Medura (8-2, 7) and will actually be headlined by a bout between Shohei Kawashima (16-2-2, 3) [川島翔平] and Ronnie Campos (8-3-3, 5).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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