Late last year we were hoping for a number of big international fights involving an Asian fighter against a Latin American fighters. Unfortunately however those fights appear to be something that we will have to wait for.
The biggest of those fights was a mooted battle between Japan's unbeaten WBC Bantamweight Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2, 15) and WBA "super" champion Anselmo "Chemito" Moreno (34-2-1, 12). The bout would have been the fight fight in the Bantamweight division though instead it appears Moreno will be kicking off the year with an easy defense.
We had originally anticipated Moreno to fight WBA #2 ranked challenger Juan Carlos Payano (14-0, 8) from the Dominican Republic, Unfortunately it seems that Moreno isn't even going to fight Payano but will instead meet limited Argentinian Javier Chacon (19-1, 4), who is unranked by the WBA and holds only a WBC Super Flyweight ranking (#5).
It appears that Chacon was easy to deal with, willing to travel to Panama for the fight and available for March 15th. It seems those are the only reasons why he is getting this fight because he has no notable wins, nothing stands out on his record and, with out try to sound harsh he's simply not good enough to share a ring with Moreno.
Another fight we were looking forward to was a possible contest between Naoya Inoue (5-0, 4) and WBC Light Flyweight champion Adrian "El Confessor" Hernandez (28-2-1, 17). It appears however that Hernandez will be busy early in the year with a fight arranged for February 8th between himself and Janiel Rivera (10-1-2, 6).
Rivera, a Puerto Rican who has been in gym with Miguel Cotto, is ranked #5 by the WBC at Minimumweight. Unfortunately he's gotten that ranking due to stopping Omar Soto and Juan Lopez at 105lbs, rather than Light Flyweight where he is challenging for the title. What makes this situation even more disappointing is that Rivera was beaten just 2 fights back by journeyman Miguel Del Valle.
Inoue, ranked #9 at 108lbs by the WBC of course won't be the only Asian fighter feeling frustrated by this move with both Jonathan Taconing (#3) and Shin Ono (#6) also being over-looked for this opportunity. Unfortunately it seems all 3 men will feel they are being made to wait whilst undeserving challengers get opportunities ahead of them, as seen with the IBF's decision to allow their champion Johnriel Casimero (19-2, 11) to defend against the undeserving Colombian Mauricio Fuentes (16-2, 10).
Hopefully quick wins for Moreno, Hernandez and Casimero will lead to much more interesting bouts than the ones they appear to have lined up which are all very poor for world title fights.
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