I am reeling from absorbing too much good news in such a short space of time. Suddenly the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight has moved from possible to probably probable (my native caution kicked in there). We had a glimpse of the long term plans of Al Haymon to put boxing back on main stream TV in the USA with NBC. We had a heavyweight title fight which produced a new champion with the potential to really threaten the dominance of Wlad Klitschko and we had the WBC, IBF and WBA discussing standardisation of procedures for weighing, dope testing and unification fights.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao has so many barriers to overcome. You have the fighter’s respective purses, their egos, promotional ties, drug testing standards, spurious offers of dubious practicality, fight dates, opposing sanctioning bodies and above all you have the respective paymasters in Showtime and HBO. It is beginning to look as though all of these obstacles have been overcome with exception of the last. Last, but not least. There are egos involved here as well with both parties naturally wanting the lead role and the biggest share of the pie. They will both have minimum conditions of satisfaction which will have to be agreed and met before they will work together on the biggest money fight in the history of boxing and neither is going to want to look weak in the negotiations so this is no minor bump in the road. There is plenty of fan pressure on all parties but there is also a whole load of money involved so it is still a probable probable until all of these hurdles are cleared.
For a while Haymon seemed to be gathering fighters for the sake of it with no clear plan, a bit like gathering friends on Facebook just for the sake of having them until you get to a point that you can only communicate with a small percentage with the rest just names. You had to question what Haymon was going to do with such a large stable of fighters. Well it looks as though his plan was to assemble an impressive list so that he could do a deal with NBC and get them much more exposure than they would get on cable. Haymon has a 20 fight deal for a prime-television show entitled “Premier Boxing Champions” which will kick-off on March 7 in Las Vegas where Keith Thurman defends his secondary WBA welter title against Robert Guerrero, Adrien Broner fights John Molina at light welter and Abner Mares is also on the show. Guerrero gets the title fight after tasting some of the marvelous “WBA Ratings Elixir”. A miracle ratings booster which has allowed him to go from being unrated in their November ratings to No 4 in their December ratings. You can’t get this elixir in food supplement shops. Supplies can only be purchased from the WBA on payment of a sanctioning fee. Other sanctioning bodies have similar arrangements.
His second show will see Danny Garcia the WBA/WBC light welter champion against IBF champion Lamont Peterson with April 11 in New York currently the favourite date/venue. However it does not look destined to be a unification match as it is being made at 143lbs.
Back to Haymon. If this work then it will be good for TV fans in the USA and there might even be the possibility of onward sales to other countries. The only problem I can see is that these shows cannot match the purses earned from cable. With another two or three good wins a fighter such as Thurman has the potential to become a pay-per-view draw which would put a lot more money on the table. Nevertheless if it gives some of the young prospects in Haymon’s stable exposure and a chance to build their reputations than boxing will benefit.
I was a harsh critic of the means by which Wilder was maneuvered into a title shot without facing any fighter of quality, but I guess it is a case of the end justifying the means. Wilder showed that he was for real and opened up the possibility of a unified heavyweight title. He is talking of a fight with WBC No 5 Tyson Fury. With Wlad Klitschko defending his titles against Bryant Jennings on April 25 at the MSG then the winners of these two fights could be fighting to unify the heavyweight title later in the year. There has also been talk of an Alex Povetkin vs. Mike Perez fight with the winner of that joining the end of the queue which would mean that almost all of the top heavyweights will have been accommodated, but Povetkin vs. Perez has not been firmed up. A re-birth of the heavyweight division? Maybe not yet but a good start.
Purses for the fight saw Stiverne getting $900,000 and Wilder $1 million which seems the wrong way around. Other purses for the title show saw Leo Santa Cruz take down $750,000, Jesus Ruiz $50,000; Amir Imam paid $45,000 and Fidel Maldonado $50,000.
One big positive out of the Wilder win is that it put to bed the Don King proposal of a Stiverne vs. Mike Tyson fight in Moscow in May. The frightening thing is that the way this sport is run someone would have been keen to put it on.
Shannon Briggs was being considered as an opponent for Klitschko when Jennings looked to be pricing himself out of the fight with a demand for $2 million. Briggs was reported to be asking for $800,000 but the fight could not be sold so luckily that idea died and Jennings reduced his asking price
One heavyweight who won’t be figuring is Cuban Luis Ortiz. He tested positive for a banned substance when winning the interim WBA title with a first round stoppage of Lateef Kayode in September. The Nevada Commission completed the review of his test this month and banned him for eight months from the date of the test and fined him $8000. The WBA stripped him of the title but Nevada’s relatively short ban and a fine that is only 10% of his purse seems no more than a slap on the wrist and is not what I would term a strong deterrent compared to those handed out by other sports.
A pity that the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez fight fell though. Cotto did not feel it was right for him. Perhaps he is hoping that the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight does not come off and he gets the call to fill against either fighter. If Mayweather vs. Pacquiao does fly then Cotto has left himself with very few options with Gennady Golovkin probably the only big money fight for him.
Not too many people can say they beat Usain Bolt but WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters managed that. He came out ahead of Bolt in the voting as Sportsman of the Year in Jamaica. The only other boxers to have won this award are Bunny Grant, Percy Hayles and Mike McCallum. Coincidences? Bunny, who won it in 1961, was managed by Jacques Deschamps. Nick is managed by the son also Jacques Deschamps. Quality is in the blood.
It was a good night for boxing at the awards as former WBC Female super bantamweight champion Alicia Ashley picked up the Chairman’s Award. Walter’s has been appealing for gyms to be set up in Jamaica and named after famous Jamaican boxers such as Lennox Lewis, Mike McCallum, Richard Clarke etc. to nurture the next generation of Jamaican boxers.
Vasyl Lomachenko has been named as a possible opponent for Walters in the future but that won’t happen soon as the WBO champion is recovering from a hand injury and will probably not be fit to fight until April at best.
It looks as though Jermain Taylor’s career will be coming to an abrupt halt. The IBF middleweight champion is facing further charges and a judge revoke his bail for violating the terms of his original release on firearms charges. These are serious crimes he is alleged to have committed and if found guilty he could be looking at a long prison term.
Former WBA super bantamweight champion Loris Stecca is also in trouble. The Italian had been detained on charges alleging attempted murder with aggravating circumstances dating back to 2013. His lawyer has successfully arranged for Stecca to be released to house arrest.
Another fighter in trouble is Ghanaian Braimah Kamoko with the Ghana Boxing Authority reportedly summoning him to appear before their disciplinary committee over a couple of alleged assault cases so if the charges are proven he could face a ban and/or a fine.
Still on Africa but on a more positive note boxer Charles Manyuchi won the Sports Person of the Year award in Zimbabwe. The WBC International welterweight champion has not fought in his own country since 2012 and is based in Zambia. He stated that “In Zimbabwe we don’t have promoters, we don’t have equipment and we don’t have people with the love of sport in terms of boxing” A sorry state and one that won’t be changing anytime soon in Zimbabwe. It is amazing what African fighters achieve when you consider the hardships they have to overcome.
Going back to Ghana I received details of a couple of fights I missed reporting (incredible though that may seem). On December 27 in Accra Emmanuel “Gameboy” Tagoe (23-1) halted Tanzanian Sidiki Momba in six rounds to win the WBA Inter Continental title in his first fight for 16 months. Momba retired with an arm injury but Tagoe was already well on his way to victory. After losing his first pro fight Tagoe has won 23 on the bounce and if he stays active can be a real threat. He is managed by Asamoah Gyan one of the greatest football stars in Ghana. He played for Ghana in the 2006 Olympics and the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups and also played for Sunderland in the Premier League. He is an enthusiastic supporter of boxing who is plowing his own money into the sport to support fighters such as Tagoe.
The other show was also in Accra on January 3rd where veteran Ayitey Powers halted Benin’s Anicet Amossou in four rounds. Amossou was down twice before the fight was stopped. Former Commonwealth title challenger Powers needed the win after 7 losses in a row. His age is given as 34, but local sources give it as 38. On the same show light heavyweight Emmanuel “Kwahu Tyson” took his record to 21-1 as he wiped out Nigerian Basil Ossigwe in just 18 seconds, bantam Isaac Sackey drew with Benin’s Fatiou Fassimou, Habib Ahmed (18-0) decisioned Atoli Moore at super middle and lightweights Ben Lamptey (8-0) and Justin Savi drew over eight rounds. Savi from Benin is a former WBC Silver featherweight champion.
Terrence Crawford is wasting no time. Having moved up to super lightweight he is going straight fore the vacant WBO title in the new division. He will face Chris Algieri in Omaha on 18 April.
January 31 sees a good scrap between former WBA and IBF super feather champion Juan Carlos Salgado and Jairo Lopez and Dante “Crazy” Jardon looking for a needed win against Patrician Moreno. This will be at the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City. Many more years ago than I care to remember, or admit to, I went to the famous little Mexican cockpit with Mickey Duff and Harold Lederman. The atmosphere was terrific but I was not too keen to notice the wire barrier above out heads to catch any bottles, furniture and debris that might shower down from the balcony. The main attraction was a newcomer from Acapulco Marcos Villasana. I was impressed but Mickey dismissed him and reckoned that Jimmy Flint would knock him out if they met. I think a large dollop of bias crept in there.
The initiative started by Mauricio Sulaiman is continuing with the WBC, WBA and IBF sitting down to devise bringing into line their respective procedures and processes for weigh-ins, drug testing and other health and judging matters. They are also continuing to try to work out a method of arriving at having just one world champion in all divisions and are looking at the criteria that would apply to unification fights. Title unification is going to be the most difficult aim to achieve. If I can paraphrase an old joke. The sanctioning body representative find an old lamp and when they rub it a genie appears and gives them one wish. They decided it would be great to have a bridge from California to Hawaii so they could drive there for their vacations. The genie says that’s totally impossible and tells them to make a second wish. They say they want a universally recognized champion in all 17 divisions. The genie says how many lanes do you want on the bridge? It is going to be that difficult.
One thing they have standardised is the nomenclature for the weight division which henceforth the three bodies will call: Heavyweight, Cruiserweight, Light heavyweight, Super middleweight, Middleweight, Super welterweight, Welterweight, Super lightweight, Lightweight, Super featherweight, Featherweight, Super bantamweight, Bantamweight, Super flyweight, Flyweight, Light flyweight and Minimumweight.
February 7 in Frederikshavn, Denmark Joey Gamache trained Micki Nielsen faces Brazilian Julio Cesar Dos Santos for the vacant WBC International cruiser title. Nielsen is 16-0 and will be looking to crack the world ratings with a win. On the same show Dennis Ceylan (12-0-1) will be looking to clean up his record by beating Spaniard Cris Montilla who held him to a draw in April. Swedish hope Anthony Yigit tackles Kim Poulsen for the vacant WBC Baltic super lightweight title.
Promoter Ahmet Oner is looking at a show in Budapest on 27 February for the return match between Tony Thompson and Odlanier Solis. Thompson won a split decision last March in a dire, boring fight which did neither fighter much good so Oner will be hoping for a better fight and a win for Solis.
Orlando Salido will defend his WBO super feather title against former champion Roman Martinez in San Juan on 11 April. Martinez will be trying to become champion for the third time.
As a result of the terrorist attacks in France the EBU super middleweight title defence by Frenchman Hadillah Mohummadi against Spaniard Mariano Hilario has been put back to 14 March in St Quentin en Yvelines. The following month on April 24 in Calais unbeaten local hero Rene Jacob faces a tough defence of his EBU super feather title against former champion Ermanno Fegatelli.
Italian Michele Di Rocco makes a voluntary defence of his EBU light welter title against Dane Kasper Bruun on 28 February in Milan. Europe has its own brand of elixir as Bruun had announced his retirement after losing to Anthony Yigit in April but now he has un-retired. I guess smelling salts are still banned but a snort of Euros seems to have worked their wonder on Bruun.
Somebody did a good bit of work for my fellow Scot Willie Limond. Without even the sniff of a sanction fee Willie jumped from No 26 to No 15 in the December WBC ratings despite not having fought since June. No mention of a title shot so it looks like someone got off their backside, went to the WBC Convention and did some hard lobbying. That usually works.
Statistics from Argentina showed that their fighters took part in 73 contests outside of the country with 18 wins, 51 losses, 3 draws and one no contests which shows how hard it is to win on the road, unless you are Lucas Matthysse. The figures are not surprising as no promoter imports a foreign fighter to beat his local draw card. Out of curiosity I had a look at how Latvian fighters fared overseas but only had time to look at the four heaviest divisions and Latvian’s were 21-63-1 which does not look too bad until you take out the 14 wins by world rated Mairis Breidis which leaves the others at 4-63-1! No surprise as they often come in as late substitute and are overmatched. What did surprise me is that there are 147 active professional fighters in Latvia. Much more than I thought.
AsianBoxing.info- The Site for Asian Boxing News, Results and Profiles
The brilliant Eric Armit has sent us another of his amazing Snips and Snipes, enjoy below.
When the excellent Eric Armit first contacted us late last year we were amazed that he had actually wanted to submit to ourselves. The reason we were amazed was that we were huge fans of his "Snips and Snipes" articles that had been one of the staples on boxrecnews. This past week we were amazed, and joyous, to see he had sent us the most recent version of his "Snips and Snipes" article. Thank you Eric and we hope you don't mind us sharing it. (All words are those of Mr Armit)-
Like everyone else I would like to think the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao fight comes off this year. There is all sorts of pressure being heaped on Mayweather to take the fight including a $120 million offer but in the end it will be up to Mayweather whether it happens or not. I am not sure if money is the answer. The answer to what do you give a man who has everything is not more money. He may not see it as others do but if he does not fight Pacquiao then that will forever be a blot on his legacy. No one will be able to talk about how great Mayweather was without adding …..”yes but he ducked Pacquiao” and let’s hope that he values his legacy enough to avoid that footnote.
If 2014 gave us anything it gave amazing fights. A result of having great fights is that we get great rounds, in fact we got some genuinely amazing rounds. Here run through some of the best, and we believe many people may not have had the opportunity to watch some of these, which is a real shame.
Koki Eto Vs Ardin Diale (Rd8)-The Koki Eto Vs Ardin Diale fight was a good old fashioned “slobber knocker” that saw both men letting their hands go through out. Early on however it was Diale on top as used his more technically correct boxing and speed to take a clear over Eto. Round 8 however was a little bit different with Diale being too tired to box and move. Instead we got a slug feast of epic proportions with Diale going down twice before trading with Eto who eventually forced a stoppage. What made the even more dramatic is that an exhausted Eto was then shaken by corner men who did what Diale couldn't and actually knocked him out! Amazing action that finished in completely bizarre manner. (Full fight here)
Katsunari Takayama Vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr (Rd12)-Unification bouts are almost always a special occasion but they are even better when the styles of the fighters involved gel perfectly. We got such a fight when Katsunari Takayama and Francisco Rodriguez Jr went to war. The war was a true FOTY contender though it was the final round that truly stood out as the two went hell for leather in a round that really summed up what the fight meant to both men. There trading, boxing, both men unloading and although both were tired they both managed to summon up the devil inside to give us some of the most dramatic and exciting action we managed to see in 2014. Brilliant stuff from both, especially in the last 40 seconds. (Full fight here)
Takuya Kogawa Vs Hirokyuki Hisataka (Rd8)-We've been lucky this year that some Japanese cards have been stream free and legally world wide. One such card was Dangan 112 which was headlined by an all Japanese bout between Takuya Kogawa and Hiroyuki Hisataka. The bout was great fun throughout but the final round was something else as the two fought a phone booth war which was violent, exciting, action packed and nothing short of amazing. Again the two men showed signs of being exhausted but both found something else in the gas tank to unload numerous monster shots on each other. Had this bout received air time on a major channel this round would have become a youtube classic. (Full fight here)
Kongfah Nakornluang Vs Den Sithsaithong (Rd3)-Sometimes it's easier to enjoy a fight when the skills and “boxing” go out the windw and we just get a good old fashioned pier 6 brawl. This was certainly the case in Thailand when Kongfah Nakornluang traded blows with Den Sithsaithong. The fight never really let up at any point in it's 6 rounds. For us the best round was round 3 though any of the rounds could have been selected with them all looking very similar to each other with punches being swung in and defence being neglected. (Full fight here)
Jaesung Lee Vs Takuya Watanabe (Rd 9)-For us the blood bath of the year came from South Korea as Japan's Takuya Watanabe gave a huge blood donation in his bout with Jaesung Lee. Not only did Watanbe fight whilst having blood pulsating out of his head but he fought hard and this was seen in the brilliant 9th round that saw both men trading shots in some of the most eye catching and alarming sequences seen this year. One moment it was one man looking like he was hunting the stoppage and then, moments later, the other seemed to come back. The blood from Watanabe made the action look even better and by the end of the round it looked like we may have had a stabbing victim. This round wasn't for the faint hearted but was exceptional and everything a fight fan could possibly want in a fight. (Full fight here)
Takuya Kogawa Vs Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (12)-Takuya Kogawa becomes the only man with 2 entries on this list though with good reason, the Japanese Flyweight is an exceptionally fun fighter ti watch and that was on show again as he battled Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep for the WBA interim Flyweight title. A lot of these rounds were very good to watch as Kogawa's insane engine saw him throwing hundred of punches but something about the final round just seemed even better than the others. Kogawa seemed to feel he needed to win every round, big, and Yodmongkol seemed to feel he would need a KO in the final round. This lead to Kogawa trying to break down the champion in the final 3 minutes whilst the champion loaded up on bombs. This combined for a sensational 3 minutes of action and near-non-stop punching from the Japanese dynamo. (Full fight here)
Due to the fact we had 6 amazing contenders we've decided that the round of the year...is too difficult to pick just 1 so treat yourself and watch all 6 contenders together below and decide for yourself which you prefer.
In the west we've see a lot of fight fans complain about the poor quality of matches that they've had to endure from promoters who seemed more interested in matching their men softly than giving fans value for money. Whilst some fights in the west did end up being unexpectedly good, for example the Lucas Matthyse Vs John Molina bout or the Tommy Coyle Vs Daniel Eduardo Brizuela, it's fair to say they were unexpected treats as opposed to bouts that always looked like sure fire hits. In the west however we had a bit of everything with unexpected treats, dream match ups and bouts that lived up to all our hopes and expectations.
Unfortunately as there were so many brilliant bouts it was really hard to decide on the fight of the year, and infact there were 2 very good bouts outside of Asia that featured Asians and a host of top bouts that deserve a notable mention.
Terdsak Kokietgym Vs Orlando Salido-In September we had a bout that was more up-and-down than a yo-yo with Thailand's Terdsak Kokietgym dropping Orlando Salido 3 times whilst being dropped himself 4 times, including a staggering KO in the 11th round. This bout was one of the best bouts fought in the west though at times it did seem a little bit one sided, and that was reflected somewhat in the scorecards which read 96-91 in favour of Salido at the time of the stoppage. A great bout with a lot of drama though one that had become one-sided by the end.
Katsunari Takayama Vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr-In August we had another thriller in Mexico as Katsunari Takayama traded blows with Francisco Rodriguez Jr in a bout to unify Minimumweight titles. If you enjoy wars, toe-to-toe slug fests, action, heart and mindless bloody violence this is a must watch. It had everything a fight fan could want with both drama in the ring and real significance. Unfortunately it also had a blind man, John Madfis, at ringside turning in a repulsive 119-108 scorecard that really was unbelievably bad.
Akira Yaegashi Vs Roman Gonzalez-Another bout of major significance saw the all action Akira Yaegashi battle against Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez. The bout was brilliant in a lot of ways though in the end the brave Yaegashi was just simply beaten into submission by the brilliant Gonzalez, who become a 3-weight world champion with this win.
Kongfah Narkornluang Vs Den Sithsaithong-A real hidden war in Thailand saw the unbeaten Kongfah Nakornluang go toe-to-toe with Den Sithsaithong in a bout that was little more than a 6 round phone booth war. For us this was our “favourite” bout of the year but couldn't really be a contender for Fight of the Year given it's total lack of significance and it's real lack of skill, thankfully however it was exciting. (Note Sithsaithong is named Den Baansuan Samlansaraburi in the linked video)
Koki Eto Vs Ardin Diale-For much of the year this was our pick for the best fight and it appeared to tick all the boxes. It had knockdowns, it had competitiveness, it had action, soul and heart and it was brilliant. Diale, for the most part, was brilliant and through 7 rounds was well ahead with Eto looking almost certain to lose...until he managed to turn it around in the 8th round with an effort that bordered on the ridiculous. It was an insane come back a brilliant ending and ridiculously great fight.
We know we're a bit controversial but we believe we saw a perfect fight. That was the OPBF Minimumweight title bout between the then champion Ryuji Hara and the ultra-fast rising Kosei Tanaka. The bout had 2 unbeaten prospects in action in a bout that was going to send the winner on to the verges of a world title fight. Not only were both men unbeaten but both were sensationally well schooled, lightning quick and brilliant to watch. The fight wasn't a war but was an incredibly high speed and aggressive game of chess. For 8 rounds this was pretty much equal with Tanaka finally pulling away from his more experienced for in round 9 and answering questions about his stamina in the process. The bout may not have been the most violent contest of the year but it managed to combine fighting with boxing and gelled it all into a perfect bout that saw both men coming out better fighters than they had been when they had stepped into the ring. Really sensational stuff from both.
Although not the greatest year for boxing fans it's fair to say that 2014 had a number of upsets across the globe. We got to see upsets at every level of the sport with a number of them genuinely being jaw dropping.
The category really was packed, and not at all in a bad way, and there was a number of very good candidates that saw Asians winning in upsets and losing in upsets as the year went on.
Oswaldo Novoa (Vs Xiong Zhao Zhong)- Back on February 5th we saw the then WBC Minimumweight champion Xiong Zhao Zhong attempt to defend his title against the unknown Oswaldo Novoa. To many fans the bout was a farcical mismatch with Zhong, a good but not great champion, being accused of hand picking a Mexican patsy to defend his title against. What transpired in the ring however was a beat down by Novoa who battered Zhong from pillar to post until the fight was finally stopped in round 5. Sadly for Novoa his reign was to be a short one and he lost in his second defence, suffering a TKO defeat to Wanheng Menayothin.
Allie Laurel (Vs Tiger Tor Buamas)- On January 3rd, in fact in one of the years very first bouts, we saw the relatively unknown Allie Laurel stop Thailand's very own Tiger Tor Buamas, a then world ranked and unbeaten Thai. The win saw Laurel claim the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, a belt he has defended once, though unfortunately it's a bit of a forgotten win with Laurel being somewhat inactive since the bout. Incidentally Tiger has scored 2 wins since the bout though both of them came against very limited foes.
Joebert Delos Reyes (Vs Valentine Borg)- March 28th featured one of the most eye catching upsets as the heavy handed but limited Jeobert Delos Reyes sent shock waves through the Australian boxing scene. Delos Reyes is a big of an upset king and had beaten a number of unbeaten fighters such as Andrew Wallace and Charlie Sugiura but yet his best came when he iced the much touted Valentine Borg and claimed the IBO Youth Lightweight title with a monster right uppercut that really was something special.
Arnel Tinampay (Vs Koshinmaru Saito)- The final upset of the year shouldn't have been an upset in many ways but in other ways it was a shock. This happened on December 17th when late replacement Arnel Tinampay blasted through the Japanese ranked Koshinmaru Saito in just 2 rounds. On paper it was a huge surprise given that Tinampay's record was poor, his KO rate wasn't high and he'd been inactive for more than a year. That however was forgetting that he had upset upset both Yosuke Kirima and Shoma Fukumoto in his 2 previous bouts with Japanese fighters. Tinampay deserves a notable mention here, especially given the manner of his win which was sensational.
Faris Nenggo (Vs Merlito Sabillo)- Another that came late in the year saw Indonesian journeyman Faris Nenggo score a TKO win over former WBO Minimumweigth champion Merlito Sabillo. Sabillo had began the year as a world champion though ended the year with his career in tatters after a pair of losses. The first loss was understandable, a stoppage loss to the excellent Francisco Rodriguez Jr, this however was unfortunate as he suffered a major cut that ended his fight and may well have ended any dreams of reclaiming a world title.
Whilst there was a lot of contenders for the upset of the year, in regards to Asian boxing, there was a stand out winner. Rey Loreto. Loreto caused a major stir in the boxing world on February 1st when he scored a 3rd round KO against the very highly regarded Nkosinathi Joyi in Monaco. The bout was expected to be an easy win for Joyi, a former IBF Minimumweight champion, though turned out to be a nightmare with Loreto, priced around 12/1, scoring a win that left the boxing world talking about the Filipino. Sadly Loreto has had a frustrating time since with a rematch against Joyi being delayed until February 28th 2015. A win in that rematch would likely shoot Loreto into a major title bout by the end of the year.
Although many in the west have complained about the fighters we've had in 2014 it does seem that we've all been happy with the KO's we've had with KO of the Year being one of the most hotly debated around the world. The contenders have varied almost by the publication but that's due to sheer number of great KO's we've seen this year. Some have been brutal, some have been beautiful and some have just had us sitting, staring and mouthing “wow”.
Due to the number of contenders it does seem fitting to share a small of our runners up, and trust us we could have doubled this list with no real problem.
Kongfah CP Freshmart (Vs Sangthong Chor Pakdee)-Possibly the most visually pleasing KO of the year was scored by Thailand's Kongfah CP Freshmart back on August 29th. Kongfah, a teenager from Thailand that some are tipping for major success, landed a single short right uppercut on Sanghtong who dropped to his knees before falling face first. He quickly got attention from his trainer who tried to revive him though for a few a moments the scenes were worrying. Aesthetically this was our favourite though when we consider the level of the men involved we understand why it's not being mentioned internationally but it really was gorgeous to watch back.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Vs Boido Simanjuntak)-Another one from Thailand came on October 10th This one saw former WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai jump out for round 6 and almost behead the unfortunate Bodio Simanjuntak with a short counter left hand that sent Simanjuntak to the canvas hard. To his credit the Indonesian rose to his feet before the 10 count, but he wasn't in control of his sense and the referee waved it off. This was brutal to watch and another one that was gorgeous to watch back.
Rey Loreto (Vs Nkosinathi Joyi)- Filipino fighter Rey Loreto was a relative unknown going into 2014. He had scored a notable win over Pornsawan Porpramook at the end of 2013 but was still an unheralded fighter going into the year. He changed all of that on February 1st when he iced highly touted South African Nkosinathi Joyi. The bout was seen as a huge mismatch in favour of Joyi who was looking to have a big 2014. Instead Joyi found himself staring up at the ceiling after Loreto landed a monster of counter left hook that left Joyi flat on his back. This was brutal and a huge surprise.
This tough category really was a toss up though we settled on something that seemed to combine everything. It had beauty and brutality, skills, timing and came at a high level against a former world champion in what was viewed a very even looking bout on paper. The KO in question was that scored by Marvin Sonsona against Akifumi Shimoda on February 22nd in Macau. The bout was for the WBO International Featherweight title and ended in what could only be deemed spectacular fashion. The contest had started slowly as both men tried to warm to the task at hand and just as it seemed like Shimoda was beginning to find his way he was popped with a perfect left uppercutt that just crumpled Shimoda who was never going to beat the count.
For a few moments it seemed like Shimoda could be in a bad way though thankfully the Japanese fighter did recover, though sadly he hasn't fought since.
(Video courtesy of Rabhak)
Over the past 2 days we've put up our award articles for the “2014 Fighter of the Year” and the “2014 Prospect of the Year”. Now we're onto our third award, the “2014 Trainer of the Year”.
For us there was a clear winner in this category who left all other contenders in his dust. That was the completely unheralded Shingo Inoue who has been all but ignored by the international publications who have, generally, refused to even include him in their short list or notable runners up, instead preferring to mention trainers like Freddie Roach.
Mr Inoue, the trainer for both of his sons, Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7) and Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1), has had a year which has really put him on the boxing map and has been a worthy winner of the “Eddie Townsend Award” in Japan despite the clear snub by the international press.
Mr Inoue's year began with his charges being 5-0 (4) and 1-0. Both of them were touted, very highly, but no one would have expected the year they have had between them.
The first bout of the year for Mr Inoue's fighters saw his youngest son, the then 18 year old, Takuma Inoue put on a masterclass against the world ranked Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr in April. Sakkreerin had shocked the boxing world at the end of 2013 by stopping Ryo Miyazaki but was no match for the speed or skill of Takuma who nearly shut him out in a sensational performance. Soon afterwards his other charge, Noaya, stopped the well established Adrian Hernandez to claim the WBC Light Flyweight title.
We saw his sons return to the ring in September. On that show we saw Takuma score a second round blow out against Thailand's Chanachai Sor Siamchai whilst Naoya battered Samartlek Kokietgym over 11 rounds to record his first defense of the WBC world title. On paper these were lesser wins though though kept his fighters ticking over on a show headlined by Flyweight super fight between Roman Gonzalez and Akira Yaegashi.
To end the year we saw Mr Inoue's fighters both score their best wins to date. The first of those saw Takuma dominate former world title challenger Nestor Daniel Narvaes en route to taking a very clear 8 round win, it was an outstanding win a brilliant performance. A few hours later we saw Naoya, who had climbed 2 weight classes, totally dismantle Omar Andres Narvaez in what was a clinical beat down of a well established world champion. The win for Naoya not only saw him climbing 2 weight classes but also look damned good at his new weight, a weight that his father and trainer seemed to suggest was his natural weight.
Whilst Mr Inoue may have been snubbed in the west we can't help but feel he was the run away winner here and if his success continues into next year he may well find himself in very much demand by the end of the year.
(Image of Shingo, Naoya, Takuma and Hideyuki Ohashi, courtesy of Naoya Inoue's blog)
Yesterday we announced our Fighter of the Year of 2014 as Naoya Inoue, and today we are doing second award for 2014, that of prospect of the year.
To keep things simple we have decided that for us a prospect is someone who hasn't yet fought on the world stage. They could well be a qualified “contender” but for us the terms aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.
As with the Fighter of the year we felt one man was a rclear winner, and although several contenders did emerge, including two men who fought on December 30th, no one really put on a performance as impressive as our winner did in their most notable win.
Ryo Matsumoto- The clear “top runner up” was OPBF Super Flyweight champion Ryo Matsumoto 4-0 (3) who had a massive year and would have won this award easily were it not for the eventual winner. Matsumoto began the year with a decision over former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka, it was a tough win for the youngster but one that served him well down the line. A quick blow out of Zun Rindam followed before another blow out, over former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit, really put the youngster on the map. To end the year he would then stop Rusalee Samor in 12 rounds after a dominant performance. It was as good a year as he could have hoped for.
Takuma Inoue- Another good contender was teenager Takuma Inoue who went 3-0 (1) for the year, with notable wins against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, back in April, and Nestor Daniel Narvaes, in December. The talented youngster was tipped for the top when he turned professional and wins over Fahlan and Narvaes have proven just how good he is. Despite his ability he has yet to fight in a title bout though we suspect that will change next year and we imagine he will be chasing either a Japanese or OPBF title in his first bout of the new year, from what we've seen it's hard to see him losing to any of the domestic or Asian champion at either 108lbs or 112lbs. It was an outstanding year but again his year paled in comparison to our winner.
Albert Pagara- Filipino 20 year old Albert Pagara had himself a very memorable year which saw him going 4-0 (3). The problem in some ways is that only one of those wins really made us say “wow”, but it was a win that put him in the mix for a world title bout. Stoppage wins against Isack Junior and Skak Max were both expected, to say the least, and although he did dispatch Hugo Partida quicker than we expected, it was his near shut out against Raul Hirales that blew us away. That win told us more about Pagara than his previous 21 wins combined. It showed that he was a patient, intelligent boxer, he could counter, set traps and not need to depend on his thunderous power. It was the sort of win that tells the boxing world “I'm ready” and we really do believe that Pagara could win a world title in the next 12 months.
For us the Prospect of the Year was current OPBF Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka, who went 3-0 (2) for the year including an exceptional win over Ryuji Hara to claim his OPBF title. The 19 year old kicked off his year in March with a 8 round decision win over the then world ranked Ronelle Ferreras, he gave away a round but ran away with the fight and showed why his promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka was so excited about him. A fight later he decimated Crison Omayao in just 115 seconds to show that he had power to go with his skills and speed. It was, however, the victory over Hara that broke him away from the pack. Hara was 18-0 (10), a former Japanese champion and the reigning OPBF champion, he was also a highly ranked contender and ranked in the top 10 by all 4 title bodies. Tanaka however showed he could do it all by boxing with Hara for 8 rounds before turning the screw as he entered uncharted territory and stopped Hara in the 10th. It seemed as if Tanaka could have stopped it earlier but was wanting to test his stamina, wanting to go beyond 8 rounds and wanted to see if he could it on as and when needed.
A year ago we knew Naoya Inoue was on the fast track to the top, coming into 2015 we suspect Tanaka will be on an even fast track and it's now expected that he will be fighting for a world title in April. If he manages to do that, and win, he will break Inoue's Japanese record for fewest fights to a world title. Is he manages that then we'll likely be talking about Tanaka as a contender for the 2015 Fighter of the Year.
For those who haven't seen Tanaka feast your eyes on his win over Omayao.
(Image courtesy of Kyodo News)
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features