By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
The boxing at the Asian Games took place from August 24 to September 1 in Jakarta, Indonesia and it was a tournament full of surprises, shocks and upsets with new faces as well as established names making their mark.
We begin our recap in the men’s competition where there were 7 weights being contested from light flyweight to middleweight.
Despite losing the services of elite duo Shakhram Giyasov and Murodjon Akhmadaliev with both turning pro, Uzbekistan performed out of their skin with all 7 of their male boxers reaching the final and bringing home a medal. Middleweight Israil Madrimov, light welterweight Ikboljon Kholdarov and flyweight Jasurbek Latipov all came away with gold and are now regular members of the Uzbek team so expectations are high for this trio. Light flyweight Hasanboy Dusmatov only coming away with silver was a slight surprise and the Olympic champion has suffered a few defeats in recent times.
More encouragingly were the performances of bantamweight Mirazizbek Mirzakhlilov, welterweight Bobousmon Boturov who claimed gold and lightweight Shunkor Abdurasulov who took silver with all 3 making their debut in a major tournament and this bodes very well for the future.
Fellow Asian powerhouse Kazakhstan left with a paltry 2 silver’s which was completely unexpected with welterweight Aslambek Shymbergenov and middleweight Abilkhan Amankul the only medallists. Amankul lost to Israil Madrimov in the final and fitness and form permitting expect this rivalry to continue right until the Tokyo Olympics. The Kazak squad selected was a mixture of youth and experience but current world champion Kairat Yeraliyev being knocked out in his first contest by Chatchai Butdee wouldn’t have been in the script. With a copious amount of depth and options available don’t expect such a medal drought in future major competitions.
Mongolia should be delighted with their gold and silver tally as this tiny country with a population of around 3 million continues to defy the odds. Lightweight Erdenbaat Tsendbaatar topped the podium and the 21-year-old is just getting better and better and is a genuine medal prospect for the 2020 Olympics. Light welterweight Chinzorig Battarsukh came up short against Ikboljon Kholdarov in the final but this experienced campaigner will compete with most fighters in the world and is no easy out.
A silver and 2 bronze presents an excellent achievement for the Philippines and it could have been even better as all 3 boxers lost out in tight contests. Flyweight Rogen Ladon was especially hard done by as his bout with Jasurbek Latipov came to an inconclusive end after just a round with Ladon arguably doing more than enough to claim victory. Light flyweight Carlo Paalam and middleweight Eumir Marcial lost close semi-finals but both are talented pugilists who are more than capable of mixing it at the highest level.
Despite Chatchai Butdee bowing out in the quarter-finals in the bantamweight division Thailand still managed to bring home 4 bronze medals marking a significant improvement from recent major tournaments. China grabbing a trio of bronze medals also represents a vast improvement as for whatever reason the country has been performing poorly at the senior, youth and junior levels.
After all of their 8 male boxers won a medal at this year’s Commonwealth Games confidence in the Indian camp would have been sky high but the harsh reality is that the standard of competition in Indonesia was levels above what they faced in Australia. Still, a gold and a bronze is a solid effort with middleweight Vikas Krishan taking bronze and light flyweight Amit Panghal bringing joy to his nation as he overcame Hasanboy Dusmatov. Amit had given the Uzbek 2 competitive fights in last year’s Asian and World Championships but going one better should give him so much belief and added to his Commonwealth silver, 2018 has been a fabulous one for Amit.
Daisuke Narimatsu is one of the most fan friendly fighters around and given the revelations of funds not being given to him coming to light recently it was very pleasing that this Japanese warrior brought home a very credible bronze at light welterweight. Unfortunately bantamweight Hayato Tsutsumi went out after his first outing but make no mistake this young man is a star of the future and should only grow from his first experience at a major senior event. Finally Jordan, Kyrgyzstan North Korea and Indonesia all picked up a single medal each.
Onto the women’s bracket and the 3 weights on show were flyweight, featherweight at lightweight.
China came away from Jakarta with 2 golds as Chang Yuan prevailed at flyweight and Yin Junhua was victorious at featherweight. The lightweight final was won by South Korea’s Oh Yeon-Ji.
The other medals were shared out between Thailand who won a silver and a bronze, Chinese Taipei 2 bronze, North Korea 2 silver and a bronze and Vietnam and Indonesia a bronze. Surprisingly both India and Kazakhstan came away empty handed but given the outstanding crop of young female talent coming through expect both country’s to be back in the medals in the not so distant future.
Lastly it has subsequently been revealed that AIBA will be reintroducing Judging protests after ugly scenes marred the women’s flyweight final as 2 North Korean coaches refused to leave the ring and had to be escorted away by police. The organisation is under intense scrutiny as the threat of boxing being expelled from the Tokyo Olympics is still a possibility if AIBA doesn’t get its house in order.
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
The recently concluded World Youth Championships in Hungary proved to be another fruitful one for Asia, with 35 of the available 80 medals being claimed therefore further cementing its position as the number 1 continent in amateur boxing.
In the men’s tournament Kazakhstan lead the way with 6 medals, 1 gold, 4 silvers and a bronze. Given their extremely high standards just 1 gold maybe a disappointment but there were a number of close bouts against Russian opposition that could have gone either way. Asian Youth champion Ermakhan Zhakpekov who won silver impressed yet again and the youngster will be aiming to continue the rich Kazak tradition in the welterweight division.
Uzbekistan captured a gold and 2 bronze but Asian Youth flyweight champion Samandar Kholmurodov coming home empty handed was a huge surprise as he was defeated by eventual gold medallist Asa Stevens of the USA in the quarter-finals. Abdumalik Khalokov was able to match his victory at the Asian Youth Championships as he took gold at bantamweight.
The standout Asian nation were undoubtedly Thailand who produced some outstanding displays to win 2 gold and 2 bronze medals. It could have actually been even better had Asian Youth flyweight champion Sukthet Sarawut not been drawn against Samandar Kholmurodov in the early stages. The success also proved that their high medal tally at home in the Asian Youth Championships this year was no fluke. Arguably the best Asian fighter at the Championships was lightweight Atichai Phoensap who had to overcome home man Adrian Orban in the final and the teenager is now World and Asian Youth champion and could very well be the next star to come from the land of smiles.
India should be fairly satisfied with their 2 bronze medals from flyweight Bhavesh Kattimani and Ankit at lightweight and light flyweight Barun Singh went down in the quarter-finals to eventual victor Thitisan Panmod.
Japan’s Sho Usami showed real potential to win a bronze at welterweight and Ryonsuke Tsutsumi, brother of Hayato also showed real promise at lightweight, eventually going out in the last 8 to Atichai Phoensap however, light welterweight Sora Tanaka going out in the first round will have been a big disappointment. Finally Christian Pitt laurente won a bronze at bantamweight from the Philippines and Jordan’s light welterweight Bader Osman Majed Samreen came away with Bronze in a quite remarkable achievement.
India topped the medal charts in the women’s competition with 2 gold, 2 silvers and 4 bronze as the country continues to make a case for being the number 1 super power in women’s boxing with Russia, England USA and Thailand also achieving great success in Budapest. The success for India backs up an incredible 7 golds claimed at last year’s World Youth Championships in Guwahati and Nitu retained her light flyweight crown. Featherweight Sakshi was highly impressive stopping Croatia’s Nikolina Cachic in the final.
Kazakhstan took home a gold, 2 silver and 2 Bronze and Japan’s Sena Irie won a very credible bronze at featherweight. Finally Thailand again produced excellent results with a silver and 2 bronze but there was no one on the podium from China or either of the Koreas which was maybe a bit of a surprise.
(Image courtesy of AIBA)
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
It was the final day’s action from the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary and the other 10 World Youth Championship finals took place with plenty of Asian fighters going for gold.
In the men’s lightweight (60kg) category Atichai Phoensap of Thailand pulled off a brilliant victory, taking the split decision over home man Adrian Orban of Hungary.
Up at welterweight (69kg) Yermankhan Zhakpekov of Kazakhstan went down via split verdict to Russian Dzhambulat Bizhanov.
At light heavyweight (81kg) Ruslan Kolesnikov of Russia claimed the split decision victory over Sagyndyk Togambay of Kazakhstan.
In the super heavyweight (+91kg) division in yet another Russia Kazakhstan clash it was Russia who prevailed once again as Aleksei Dronov stopped Damir Toibay in the opening round.
In the women’s flyweight (51kg) Heaven Garcia of the USA won gold taking the split point’s victory versus Ananika of India.
At featherweight (57kg) India’s Sakshi produced a brilliant display to stop Nikolina Cacic of Croatia in the third round.
Up at light welterweight (64kg) Manisha of India was defeated by unanimous decision against England’s Gemma Richardson.
Finally at heavyweight (+81kg) Kazakhstan’s Dina Islambekova prevailed on a split point’s verdict against Ukraine’s Mariia Lovchynska.
Part 1 of Marcus's results can be found here 2018 World Youth Championships Finals Part 1
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
It was now time to decide the gold medallists at the 2018 World Youth Championships at the Duno Arena in Budapest, Hungary with the first 10 finals taking place today and still plenty of Asian interest.
First up in the men’s light flyweight (49kg) division Puerto Rico’s Jean Paul Rivera was defeated via unanimous decision by Thitisan Panmod of Thailand.
At bantamweight (56kg) Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan took gold with a unanimous point’s victory over Vsevolod Shunkov of Russia.
Up at middleweight (75kg) Daniil Teterev of Russia was defeated by Kazakhstan’s Nurbek Oralbay via split decision.
At heavyweight (91kg) Aibek Oralbay of Kazakhstan was beaten via split verdict by Russian Igor Fedorov.
In the women’s light flyweight (48kg) category Thailand’s Nillada Meekoon was defeated as Nitu of India prevailed by split decision.
At bantamweight (54kg) Iyana Verduzco of the USA was victorious via split decision versus Aizada Yeslyangali of Kazakhstan.
Finally in the women’s light heavyweight (81kg) weight class Kazakhstan were denied another gold as Guzal Sadykova lost a split decision to Anastasiia Rybak of Russia.
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
Over the last week or so both the men’s and women’s World Youth Championships have been taking place at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary and today saw the semi-finals take place with plenty of Asian interest.
In the men’s light flyweight (49kg) category Makhumd Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan lost a split decision to Jean Paul Rivera of Puerto Rico. The other light flyweight semi saw Jude Gallagher of Ireland go down via split decision to Thitisan Panmod of Thailand.
At flyweight India’s Bhavesh Kattimani lost via split decision to America’s Asa Stevens.
In the bantamweight (56kg) weight class Russia’s Vsevolod Shunkov defeated Thailand’s Noprharat Thakhui by split decision. The other semi saw Cristian Pitt Laurente of the Philippines beaten by unanimous decision by Abdumalikov Khalokov of Uzbekistan.
At lightweight (60kg) Ankit of India lost a split decision to the excellent Atichai Phoensap of Thailand.
At light welterweight (64kg) Cuba’s Idalberto Umara claimed a unanimous decision versus Jordan’s Bader Osman Majed Samreen.
At welterweight (69kg) Thailand’s Peerapat Yeasungnoen was stopped by Kazak Yermakhan Zhakpekov in the first round. The other semi saw Dzhambulat Bizhanov of Russia take the split verdict over Japan’s Patrick Sho Usami.
At middleweight (75kg) Navo Tamazov of Uzbekistan went down on a split decision to Nurbek Oralbay of Kazakhstan.
At light heavyweight (81kg) Kazakhstan’s Sagyndyk Toganbay was victorious against Aliaksei Alferov of Belarus via walkover.
At heavyweight (91kg) Kazakhstan’s Aibek Oralbay claimed the unanimous decision over Algeria’s Mohamed Amine Hacid. The other semi saw Uzbek Javokhir Togaymurodov loose via split decision to Russian Igor Fedorov
At super heavyweight (+91kg) Damir Toibay of Kazakhstan also won via walkover against Egypt’s Ahmed Elbaz Elsawy Awad.
In the womens light heavyweight (81kg) category Guzal Sadykova of Kazakhstan was victorious via unanimous decision against Ukraine’s Karolina Makhno.
In the other last 4 encounter Umesh Sakshi Gaidhani of India came up short against Russia’s Annastasiia Rybak via unanimous decision.
In the womens heavyweight (+81kg) India’s Neha Yadav was defeated via unanimous decision by Ukraine’s Mariia Lovchynska.
The evening session began in the women’s light flyweight (48kg) division as Thailand’s Millada Neekoon defeated Russia’s Kseniia Beschastnova via second round stoppage.
The other semi saw India’s Nitu win the split decision versus Anel Kudaibergen of Kazakhstan.
At flyweight (51kg) Heaven Garcia from theUSA got the split decision over Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdraimova. In the other semi Kittiya Nampai of Thailand was unanimously defeated on points by Ananika of India.
At bantamweight (54kg) Kazakhstan’s Aizada Yeslyangali was the unanimous points winner against Phonnapa Lapan of Thailand.
At featherweight (57kg) Sakshi of India won a unanimous decision over Isamary Aquino from the USA. The other last 4 clash saw Croatia’s Nikolina Cacic take the unanimous verdict versus Japan’s Sena Iri.
At lightweight (60kg) Russia’s Nune Asatrian took the unanimous decision over Jony of India.
Up at light welterweight (64kg) India’s Manisha pulled off the split points win over Hungary’s Veronika Villas.
Finally at middleweight (75kg) India’s Astha Pahwa was beaten via unanimous decision by Tallya Brillaux of France.
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
A hectic weekend of fistic action turned out to be a fruitful one for Japan with a new world champion crowned, the consummation of a tasty looking all Japanese dustup and an anticipated super bantamweight clash that produced a world title contender.
We begin at the Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida as Masayuki Ito took on Christopher Diaz for the vacant WBO super featherweight strap. Ito had started slow in some of his recent fights but the visitor was out of the gate quickly, landing with solid body shots and right hands. Diaz was often standing in mid-range without letting his hands go and was a sitting duck for the right hand and it was this punch that dropped him in round 4 and a knockout win for Ito looked a strong possibility.
To his credit the Puerto Rican not only rallied in the 4th but arguably had his best round in the 5th. Ito controlled the majority of the rest of the contest, repeatedly tagging Diaz with right hands, causing his left eye to shut. Whilst the home man never stopped trying there was no doubting the result at the final bell and Ito deservedly got the unanimous decision.
The narrative throughout the ESPN+ broadcast that Diaz was the more seasoned fighter was baffling considering that Diaz had never gone passed 8 rounds and had never fought anyone of any real quality whilst Ito had had a number of 10 and 12 round bouts with solid domestic and regional foes. This seasoning which is pretty much the norm in Japanese boxing certainly prepares them properly for the step up to world level and although certainly not every boxer from the land of the rising sun is victorious, very rarely are they embarrassed or blown out in a few rounds.
As for where Ito goes next then unless Top Rank were suitably impressed enough to sign him the most logical move appears to be a spot on one of the high profile cards at home until a big often comes in from abroad. The division at the moment is pretty thin in terms of depth but things can change very quickly below lightweight.
As part of a world title doubleheader in China, Sho Kimura successfully defended his WBO flyweight crown against Froilan Saludar. The challenger actually began pretty well, countering effectively over the first 2 rounds leaving the champion slightly confused. Kimura’s pressure then began to tell and the Filipino struggled under the weight of the body shots and it was a blow to the mid-section which saw proceedings come to an end in round 6.
Kimura now takes on former 105 and 108 lb champion Kosei Tanaka in Nagoya on September 24 in a fascinating matchup of boxer puncher versus all out pressure fighter. The rise of Kimura has been a remarkable one, from 10/1 underdog against Zou Shiming to now a world champion who’s made 2 successful defenses and is now in a far better financial position.
Tanaka looked impressive on his flyweight debut against Ronnie Baldonado in March but having been dropped more than once during his career and having suffered fairly serious injuries against Palangpol CP Freshmart it will be intriguing to see how he copes with the brute strength of Kimura. Tanaka’s huge edge in speed should be telling early on but things could get very interesting in the second half of the bout as Kimura’s non-stop pressure and size could come into play.
The less said about the other world title fight on the show the better as Knockout CP Freshmart and Xiong Zhao Zhong served up a dire 12 round shit fest that wasn’t befitting of some of the truly great fights at strawweight over the last decade. Knockout came away with the unanimous decision but a listless display with stretches of laziness that have been evident in recent bouts didn’t enhance his reputation at all. There was talk of an offer being made to Tatsuya Fukuhara but it now seems that mandatory challenger Byron Rojas will be next. The likes of Fukuhara, Tsubasa Koura and Masataka Taniguchi should be queuing up to take on the Thai who looks to be a champion ready to be taken.
Over at a jam packed Korakuen Hall Yusaku Kuga and Shingo Wake squared off for the Japanese super bantamweight title. The fight was built as a potential world title eliminator so there was a lot on the line for both men.
Wake proved to be too sharp and too skilful for Kuga who was dropped early on and never really got to grips with the sharpshooting southpaw. As the defending champion tried to turn the tide this only left more openings for Wake and eventually the towel came in during the 10th and final stanza. Kuga is definitely young enough to come again and as for Wake, he stated afterwards his desire for a world title tilt on New Year’s Eve.
With champions Ray Vargas and Daniel Roman having deals in the US these seem out of the question but if Ryosuke Iwasa comes through his mandatory defense against TJ Doheny in August then that maybe plausible. Also Isaac Dogboe who faces Hidenori Otake in August has shown a willingness to travel so maybe tempted by a trip to Japan.
As a huge advocate of more all Japanese bouts of significance at all levels it was great to see Kuga and Wake face each other as both could have gone in different directions and given the electric atmosphere that was created hopefully we see more of these type of clashes. At super bantamweight alone there’s the likes of Hinata Maruta of the Morioka Gym, Ryo Matsumoto from the Ohashi and Woz Boxing's Shohei Omori attempting to progress their careers. Speaking of Omori, the hard hitting southpaw returned with an excellent second round stoppage of Brian Lobetania which should give him a real confidence boost.
On the same card in Osaka, Masayoshi Nakatani made the 10th defense of his OPBF lightweight strap, eventually stopping Izuki Tomioka in 11 rounds and again a world title fight was mentioned but frankly seeing will be believing given how he has remained at regional level. Sho Ishida scored a 4th round knockout of Richard Claveras but in a crowded 115 lb weight class, opportunities at world level are few and far between. Finally Tatsuya Fukuhara won a 10 round decision over Naoya Haruguchi to keep himself in the minimumweight mix and is capable of giving anyone in the division a hard nights work.
(Image courtesy of Sumio Yamada)
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
On a busy week for Asian fighters with a world title doubleheader from China and a fabulous all Japanese super bantamweight dustup at the Korakuen Hall, Masayuki Ito has the chance to become a world champion when he takes on Christopher Diaz at the Kissimmee Civic Center this Saturday for the vacant WBO super featherweight strap.
Having been in and around the top few spots in the WBO for a while now, Ito finally gets his shot against the undefeated Puerto Rican and the man from Japan has already travelled out to America earlier this month to acclimatise to conditions. Ito has also taken part in training camps in the US so the environment won’t be totally alien to him.
Having turned pro in May 2009 with the little known Banryu Boxing Gym, Ito was held to a 4 round split draw by Tsuyoshi Tameda in September 2011. After defeating Masaru Sueyoshi in July 2012 Ito went on to claim the all Japan Rookie of the year crown at featherweight, overcoming the unbeaten hard hitting Kosuke Saka in the final 5 months later.
A point’s win over Taiki Minamoto followed and given that Minamoto, Saka and Sueyoshi have gone on to win the national title and Tameda is close to a title bout and is part of the thriving Ohashi gym, these wins for Ito look even better in hindsight. An 8 round decision victory over the dangerous big punching Masao Nakamura in July 2014 further cemented Ito’s position as a future potential domestic champion.
Eventually his crack at the Japanese 130 lb crown came against unbeaten Rikki Naito in February 2015. There was barely anything to separate the pair over the 10 rounds but it was Naito who got the majority verdict to hand Ito his first career loss. 6 months later Ito returned and showed no ill effects from the Naito defeat as he confidently out boxed and then stopped Dai Iwai in 10 rounds for the vacant OPBF title. An assured performance saw him score a wide 12 round unanimous decision against Shingo Eto in December 2015.
An 11th round knockout of Ernie Sanchez came in July 2016 before Ito added the WBO Asia Pacific belt to his collection with a dominant points triumph over the rugged Takuya Watanabe on the last day of 2016. In his only defense of the WBO regional bauble Lorenzo Villanueva was stopped in 9 rounds in April 2017 and Glenn Enterina and Vergil Puton were seen off inside the distance in non-title contests.
Inside the ring Ito as a smart boxer with excellent movement and foot work. He relies on a solid jab to set up his attacks and whilst certainly not being a concussive hitter he’s a sharp puncher with the right hand being his main offensive weapon. He can be a slow starter which may cost him against the aggressive Diaz who will surely come out all guns blazing to try and make a statement.
At 27 Ito is probably nearing his prime and given his experience against solid domestic and regional operators he should be very confident of coming away with the belt even on away soil. Diaz has showed promise in recent fights but is untested at this level so we don’t know how good the 23-year-old is just yet. If Ito can get the win then the chance of appearing on big bills at home would become a distinct possibility and also future opportunities in the US could also come into play.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
With the amount of International, Intercontinental, Silver and other rather spurious fringe belts available these days the sanctioning bodies rankings can often look distorted with boxers rated on wins over handpicked opponents to claim one of these minor trinkets rather than actual ability or victories against quality fighters.
This can lead to champions being forced to make mandatory defenses which leaves fans groaning or saying who? In regards to the mandatory challenger. There will be no such feelings at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California this Saturday night as Jerwin Ancajas makes the 5th defense of his IBF super flyweight strap against mandatory contender Jonas Sultan but this goes way beyond a mandatory and is a significant historical occasion for Filipino boxing.
The clash between Ancajas and Sultan is the first all Filipino world title tussle for 93 years with the last one coming when reigning flyweight kin Pancho Villa took on Clever Sencio in Manila back in 1925. Being from the UK this statistic is quite frankly mind boggling as all British world title contests are an essential bedrock of the boxing business and it’s hard to imagine the sport being anywhere near as relevant without them.
It’s hard to fathom why all Filipino bouts are such a taboo for a section of the boxing community and as participation has fallen and coverage of the sport has decreased the attitudes of the sceptics need to change not only at the world stage but at domestic level where solid matchups are crucial if a fighter is to properly develop and move up the ladder. This is a view shared by respected writer Ryan Songalia who told me through direct message on twitter, “I hope it does change attitudes about Filipino vs. Filipino fights. “Competition breeds prosperity, and only through vetting the top prospects and contenders domestically can the Philippines ensure the best fighters going to the world stage are the best they have to offer.” “The typical refrain used by regressive thinking observers is “the Philippines only has a small amount of world class fighters and they shouldn’t fight each other.” “That is both an insult to the fighters in the Philippines and wildly inaccurate.” “There is a ton of good talent in the Philippines now who aren’t getting opportunities, and by strong domestic competition that will be demonstrated.”
2018 has actually gotten off to a great start for boxing in the Philippines with a number of upset wins including Alvin Lagumbay’s stunning second round KO of Keita Obara in Japan and an exciting crop of youngsters such as Romero Duno, Reymart Gaballo, Jhack Tepora and Mark Anthony Barriga who are leading the charge as the next generation of talent from the country. The introduction of ESPN5 has also been a timely injection of much needed extra coverage and the likes of Ancajas and Barriga have already hugely benefitted from the extra profile boost.
As for the fight itself neither man were privy to a privileged upbringing and both have had to earn their opportunities in their professional careers.
Both are the same age at 26 with Ancajas enjoying a more notable amateur career than his countrymen.
Ancajas lost a majority 10 round decision to Mark Anthony Geraldo in March 2012 but rebounded and found himself appearing on a couple of the Top Rank voyages in Macao. His big break came in September 2016 when he got home advantage against McJoe Arroyo for the IBF super flyweight crown. Ancajas grabbed the opportunity with both hands, dropping and completely outworking the Puerto Rican on the way to a unanimous decision. Unfortunately the bout received no TV coverage at all with a Rappler facebook live stream the only avenue to view the contest and a paltry purse was Ancajas financial reward but he now had a bargaining chip to play with going forward.
The champion then went on the road, fighting in Macao, Australia and Northern Ireland stopping Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita and Jamie Conlan in the process. It was after the victory over Conlan that Ancajas signed a promotional deal with Top Rank with his first bout for the US outfit coming in Texas in February as he saw off Israel Gonzalez in 10 rounds.
Sultan’s record of 14-3 9 Kos doesn’t look the most flattering but the ALA Gym fighter has been a working progress whilst learning on the job given his limited amateur career. After 2 early split decision defeats in 6 rounder’s Sultan’s first win of note came against Rene Dacquel for the national super flyweight title in July 2015 via unanimous decision. A mini set back then occurred 4 months later as on just a weeks’ notice Sultan lost a unanimous 10 round points verdict to Go Onaga in Japan
A second trip to the land of the rising sun in March 2016 proved far more fruitful as Tatsuya Ikemizu was drilled in 2 rounds. South African Makazole Tete received the same treatment on home soil in December 2016 and by now Sultan was beginning to gain some real momentum. Sultan impressively took out forma flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro in 8 rounds last May and was inching himself up the IBF rankings.
His acid test came in September 2017 when he squared off against Johnriel Casimero in a final IBF eliminator. Sultan was an underdog going in but fought a really smart fight, not allowing Casimero to set himself and it was he who took the unanimous decision to set up this historic clash with Ancajas.
There has been no animosity during the build up and any sort of friction is highly unlikely before the first bell with both men respectful of the others ability but make no mistake both are acutely aware of the added significance of a contest that goes way beyond a normal world title fight.
By Marcus Bellinger
Both the men’s and women’s Asian Youth Championships took place at the Indoor Stadium in Huamark, Bangkok from April 21/27. The tournaments also acted as a qualifier for the upcoming Youth Olympics and world Youth Championships.
The winners were as follows starting with the men:
At light flyweight (49kg) Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan prevailed via split decision over Thailand’s Phitisan Panmod.
There was a slight surprise at flyweight (52kg) with Sukthet Sarawut from Thailand claiming a split decision over the excellent Samandar Kholmurodov of Uzbekistan.
At bantamweight (56kg) Uzbekistan won their first gold as Abdulmalik Khalokov defeated Filipino Christian Pitt Laurente via unanimous decision.
The hosts second triumph came at lightweight (60kg) as Atichai Phoemsap overcame India’s Ankit via split decision.
Up at light welterweight Kazakhstan picked up their second gold with Talgat Shaykenov scoring a unanimous decision over Saparmyrat Odayev of Turkmenistan.
Ermakhan Zhakpekov picked up the gold at welterweight (69kg) as the Kazak overcame Thailand’s Phiraphat Yiasungnen by split decision.
At middleweight (75kg) the hosts claimed their third gold with Jonhjoho Weeraphon taking the split decision against Nurbek Oralbay of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s Sagyndyk Togamtayev was victorious via split decision versus Temur Merzhanov of Uzbekistan at light heavyweight (81kg)
It was yet another gold for Kazakhstan at heavyweight (91kg) as Aybek Oralbay beat Javokhir Tugaynuratov from Uzbekistan via split decision.
Finally at super heavyweight (+91kg) Damir Toybay of Kazakhstan stopped Uzbekistan’s Dzhamshiddek Mukhamadaliyev in 2 rounds.
In the women’s light flyweight (48kg) category India’s Nitu won a unanimous decision versus Thailand’s Nillada Neekon.
At flyweight (51kg) Zhansaya Abdraimova of Kazakhstan prevailed via split decision against Anamika of India.
North Korea’s Won Ung-Yong grabbed the gold at bantamweight (54kg), defeating Ayzada Islamgali of Kazakhstan by unanimous decision.
At featherweight (57kg) Vietnam’s Do Hoong Ngoc was victorious against Kazakhstan’s Erkezhan Dauletzhankyzy as she was a unanimous point’s winner.
Thailand’s Porntip Buapa took the lightweight (60kg) gold as she won a unanimous decision over South Korea’s Cho Ni-Yun.
In the light welterweight (64kg) division, Manisha took India’s second gold with a split decision over Tajikistan’s Idimokh Kholova.
Lalita made it 3 gold medals for India, recording a unanimous point’s victory over Maya Beysebayeva of Kazakhstan at welterweight (69kg)
Kazakhstan’s Nadia Ryabets prevailed at middleweight (75kg) by overcoming South Korea’s Kim Ji-Ho via unanimous decision.
At light heavyweight (81kg) Guzalya Sadykova from Kazakhstan beat Sakshi Gaidhani of India via unanimous decision.
Finally the (+81kg) gold was claimed by Kazakhstan’s Dina Islamdekova who defeated Neha Yadav from India by split decision.
First of all the ASBC should be commended for once again providing an easy to find and excellent stream which gave people access to the whole tournament and AIBA and the WSB could certainly learn a thing or 2. As for the championships themselves, Kazakhstan’s men won 8 medals, Thailand and Uzbekistan claimed 7, India and Iran 3, China, Japan and the Philippines 2 and Jordan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan grabbed a single medal. The women’s event had more of an even spread in the finals with both South and North Korea being represented and of course Vietnam achieving even a single gold was a fantastic feat.
Overall Kazakhstan’s 10 gold medals certainly puts them at the top of the tree in Asia as the boxing mad nation continues to produce quality fighters. India’s women performed especially well and their tally of 8 medals proves that their outstanding success in last year’s world Youth Championships at home was no fluke and the country’s progress is still going from strength to strength.
The hosts should be delighted with their 4 golds overall and it will be interesting to see if they can translate this form in future events away from home and with many of elite squad being 30 or above it’s great to see young Thai talent emerging. Lightweight Atichai Phoemsap was named male boxer of the tournament and Vietnam’s Do Hoong Ngoc who won featherweight gold was declared the female boxer of the tournament.
Finally whilst not a powerhouse at elite level, Japan has a solid amount of success in the Youth and Junior ranks and after Hayato Tsutsumi, Sora Tanaka looks to be the next exciting youngster coming through. After winning Asian Junior gold last year Tanaka has recently move up to the Youth level and should only improve from his Bronze medal achievement in Bangkok and he has the power and raw ingredients to be the next superstar from the land of the rising sun.
By Marcus Bellinger-
With a perfect blend of youth and experience there were heady expectations on the 12 strong Indian boxing squad that travelled to the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia and it’s fair to say those expectations were definitely met with the 3 golds, 3 silvers and 3 bronze medals far and away eclipsing the 4 silvers and a bronze gained 4 years ago in Glasgow in 2014.
Of course the main focus should be on the boxers but the coaching staff deserve massive praise for all their hard work behind the scenes and the BFI also deserved huge credit for providing a stable environment and numerous opportunities for the fighters to compete in high level tournaments around the world since their inception in late 2016.
With Mary Kom victorious in the light flyweight division and completing the set of winning a medal at every major tournament, it’s hard to know what to say what hasn’t already been said about not only a true icon of women’s boxing but someone who has inspired millions of young girls in her homeland. Even at 35-years-old she has shown she’s still able to compete at the top level and if she still possesses the hunger, passion and desire and her body allows her there’s no reason why she can’t try and win another Olympic medal in Tokyo.
The number of women’s weight categories doubled from 3 to 6 from the last edition of the Commonwealths but no definitive plans have been announced to extend this to the Olympics as of now. The other 3 female boxers Pinki Rani, Sarita Devi and Lovina Borglhain will have been disappointed to not come away with a medal and with a burgeoning pipeline of talent coming through as was seen by the 7 golds claimed at last year’s world Youth championships in Guwahati, competition for places will be fierce over the next few years.
The other 3 experienced members of the team, Vikas Krishan, Satish Kumar and Manoj Kumar all performed admirably with Krishan scalping middleweight top spot, Satish taking super heavyweight silver and Manoj grabbing Bronze at welterweight.
Perhaps the most pleasing element from the Gold Coast was the outstanding displays of the 5 youngsters in Amit, Gaurav Solanki, Hussamuddin Mohammad, Manish Kaushik and Naman Tanwar. All these 5 are under 25-years-old and represent a bright future for Indian boxing going forward. Solanki took gold in the flyweight division but had to show real grit and determination in his semi-final contest against Sri Lanka’s M Vidanalange Ishan Bandara. He then boxed superbly in the final against experience campaigner Brendan Irvine of Northern Ireland.
Amit proved his world class credentials in 2017, pushing outstanding Uzbek Hasanboy Dusmatov all the way in their 2 meetings at the Asian and world championships. The light flyweight southpaw had to settle for silver having been outhustled by England’s Galal Yafai but still expect Amit to be in the reckoning for medals at future world events especially if he can work on his inside game and using the jab more to keep fighters at range.
Mohammad simply came up against one of the best in the world in England’s Peter McGrail in his bantamweight semi but the 24-year-old should use this as a real building block for future success.
Having captured Bronze at the 2016 world Youth championships, Tanwar came in with real pedigree and should be fairly satisfied with his Bronze medal and should only excel given more top flite bouts. The 19-year-old has real swagger and is a born entertainer but given the likes of Vassiliy Levit and Erislandy Savon amongst others are in the heavyweight (91kg) division, defence will need to be a bigger priority at certain stages.
Despite only coming away with silver Manish Kaushik really caught the eye and was undoubtedly the best newcomer at the games. Having defeated world class operator Shiva Thapa twice in recent times there was a major curiosity for those who hadn’t seen him before. The 22-year-old had a tough route to the final but showed his class in overcoming England’s Calum French and gifted Northern Irish youngster James McGivern in the last 8 and last 4 respectively. The gold medal clash against Australia’s Harry Garside certainly could have gone either way but Kaushik looks like a future star and someone who is capable of winning world and Olympic hardware.
It’s not only the women where there is genuine competition for places as in a number of divisions there is real depth amongst the men with the likes of Sachin Siwach, Kavinder Singh Bisht, Gaurav Bidhuri, Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan not attending the Commonwealths and with this ever increasing pool of available talent all the boxers can only benefit from the high level sparring and poor performances will see fighters lose their place in the team. Finally apart from the WSB where the Indian Tigers still have a solid shot of making the play-offs the other significant tournament in 2018 is the Asian Games which take place in Jakarta in August and if the upward trajectory continues then expect many more medals in major competitions and India can be a powerhouse in AIBA boxing in the next decade.
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