Last year Japanese fighter Ryo Takenaka (13-3-1, 7) came amazingly close to claiming the OPBF Featherweight title. The 30 year old form the Misako Gym was just 2 minutes from defeating Hisashi Amagasa before being stopped by the man who later went on to challenger Super Bantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Given how close he was to winning that bout Takenaka may have felt he deserved a shot at the vacant title when Amagasa vacated the belt. Instead the vacant was picked up earlier this year by Vinvin Rufino (37-17-3, 16), who had beaten Mark Gil Melligen for the title in March. Rufino, like Takenaka, had come up short against Amagasa, but had given a spirited effort.
Today Takenaka got his second shot at the title as he became Rufino's first challenger, and unfortunately for Rufino he was simply too powerful.
The first was quiet with Takenaka doing enough to win it, but it was the typical feeling out round. The second round however saw both up the ante and unfortunately for Rufino that saw him step in to a monstrous right hand that dropped him hard. The Filipino veteran, who has been down in the past, showed his toughness and experience by getting back to his feet but it was a wake up call and showed that Takenaka had nasty power, something his record didn't really suggest.
The knockdown secured a 10-8 round for Takenaka who looked for the finish in what was left of round 2. Although Rufino saw out the round it was clear that Takenaka was smelling blood and he took the fight to Rufino in rounds 3 and 4. Whilst a lot of the eye catching shots were right hands up stairs the challenger also landed plenty of draining body shots that seemed to slowly beat the fight out of Rufino.
The champion knew he was in a huge hole at the start of round 5 as the open scoring had the challenger up on all 3 cards, with the score of 40-35 across the board.
Despite being in the lead Takenaka wasn't going to let his grasp on the bout go and instead came out firing for round 5. A right hand early in the round caught Rufino clean and sent the Filipino down for the second time. This time the referee stopped the bout immediately, waving off the bout and saving the Filipino from any more potential harm.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today in Japan saw the official weigh in for tomorrow's OPBF Featherweight clash between defending champion Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16), who will be making his first defense of the title, and Ryo Takenaka (12-3-1, 6).
On the scales Takenaka made weight at the first attempt and looked in solid shape. It was however a tougher ask for Rufino who failed weight on the first attempt and had to come back, more than an hour later, to make the divisional limit.
For both men this is a huge fight. For Rufino, who won the title earlier this year, this is the first defense of his title and a chance to really make a statement as he returns to a country where he has twice come up short in OPBF title fights, As for Takenaka it's his second shot at the title having come up just short last year against Hisashi Amagasa, when he was stopped in the final round whilst up on the cards.
The bout promises to be a great fight and the fans at the Korakuen Hall will get a treat. For those not at the venue they will have to wait a week until the show is broadcast on Fuji TV, on Saturday night.
Vinvin Rufino returns to Japan to battle Ryo Takenaka in OPBF title defense
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today it was announced that OPBF Featherweight champion Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16) would be making the first defense of his title on August 10th on a Dangan show in Tokyo. In the opposite corner to the Filipino title holder will be talented Japanese challenger Ryo Takenaka (12-3-1, 6).
Rufino won the title earlier this year when he beat countryman Mark Gil Melligen, via 8th round technical decision, to win the then vacant belt. Prior to the belt becoming vacant it was held by Hisashi Amagasa who managed to notch up defenses over both Rufino and Takenaka.
Rufino is a true veteran who has been there, seen it, taken the pictures and gone back for seconds. His record may not look the most attractive but he really is much better than the numbers suggest. He has been unfortunate on the road in the past, notably a close loss to Naoki Matsuda in 2010 and a pair of defeats to Sipho Taliwe, but he seems to be a fighter who now knows any fight could be his last and that he needs to fight to his best if he's to retire with some money in his pocket.
As for Takenaka he came within 2 minutes of beating Hisashi Amagasa last year, suffering a late stopped to the incredibly tall Amagasa. Had he won that bout he'd have claimed the OPBF title, and we probably wouldn't have seen Amagasa's break out bout against Guillermo Rigondeaux. A tidy boxer with solid skills Takenaka will feel that this is a great opportunity for him, and if he wins, he'll perhaps feel that he could move on to a world title fight over the next year or two.
Whilst neither fighter is a fringe world level fighter this really is still a must win for both men who, at 33 in the case of Rufino and 30 in the case of Takenaka, don't have time to waste rebuilding from another set back.
Earlier today Filipino veteran Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16) claimed the OPBF Featherweight title at the third time of asking as he defeated fellow Filipino Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12) courtesy of an 8th round technical decision.
Rufino first challenged for an OPBF title back in 2010 when he narrowly lost to Naoki Matsuda. He again got a shot at the title last year when he was stopped in 8 rounds by Japan's Hisashi Amagasa. At the end of last year Amagasa vacated the belt to challenge Guillermo Rigondeaux and that opened up the opportunity for Rufino to get a third, and potentially final, shot at the belt.
As for Melligen this was his first shot at this level and at times it really showed as he seemed unable to cope with the power and ability of the 33 year old Rufino.
In the second round Rufino's power took it's toll on Melligen who was dropped for the first time, the following round Melligen was down again as he fell into a big hole on the cards.
Following the poor start Melligen finally found his way into the fight and mounted a small fightback. It was a spirited effort from the 27 year old though the hole he was in was a deep one and one that he couldn't climb his way out of before a headclash caused an early conclusion to the bout at the end of round 8. With the bout having ended early it was clear that Rufino was going to be crowned the new champion when the cards were announced, which he was with cards of 77-73 and 77-74 in his favour, whilst the third judge had it 75-75.
Tomorrow fans in the Philippines will get the chance to see a really good looking card at the Manila hotel. Today saw the fighters involved in that show taking part in their weigh ins and thankfully all the fighters made weight, including the 8 men involved in title bouts.
The highest honour being fought for tomorrow is the OPBF Featherweight title, which will be up for grabs when the experienced Vinvin Rufino (36-16-3, 16) battles the promising Mark Gil Melligen (21-4-1, 12). On the scales Rufino was the bigger man, coming in on the limit at 126lbs, whilst Melligen was a full 1lb lighter than his foe.
Although the OPBF belt is the highest honour being fought for there are two other regional titles on the line, both in the form of the WBO Asia Pacific titles.
One of the WBO Asia Pacific title bouts will see Juan Martin Elorde (16-1-1, 7) defending his belt at Super Featherweight against Japanese challenger Hirotsugu Yamamoto (16-10-2, 2). On the scales Elorde was bang on the limit at 130lbs whilst Yamamoto was well inside the limit at just 127lbs, closer to the limit for Featherweight than Super Featherweight.
The other WBO Asia Pacific title bout takes places at Super Bantamweight and will see Juan Miguel Elorde (17-1, 9) fight Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-2, 12). For this bout it was the Filipino who was well inside the limit with Elorde weighing 120lbs for a bout made at 122lbs. On the other Tabthong was himself wlel inside the limit at 121lbs.
The remaining title bout is a Filipino Bantamweight title bout which will see defending champion Monico Laurente (25-12, 6) defending his title against the very capable Marco Demecillo (20-2-1, 15). For this bout both men came in at 118lbs, bang on the Bantamweight limit.
(Image of Melligen and Rugino courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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