Naoya Inoue: The ‘Monster’ was unleashed vs. Juan Carlos Payano, but will he win the World Boxing Super Series?
By C Johnson-
On Sunday, October 7, the boxing world witnessed the return of one of its dynamos, as unbeaten WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue faced off with former junior featherweight champion Juan Carlos Payano. The Inoue vs. Payano clash will took place in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, Inoue’s hometown, and also served as the first round of the latest installment of the World Boxing Super Series. Any fans in American looking for a replay of the fight can check out the action by downloading the DAZN streaming app.
Inoue has definitely burst onto the scene and last night’s performance helped bolster his status, as he crushed the usually durable Payano in under round round. Inoue and Payano reached the center of the ring and began feeling each other out with jabs. It looked to be a cautious scene, and one could be forgiven for thinking that the match might last a while. But, just like that, Inoue unleashed a very lethal one-two punch that absolutely rocked Payano.
Payano crushed to the canvas and couldn’t rise despite his efforts. Inoue already had his hands raised in the air before the fight was waived off. He knew it was over.
But if you have tracked the 25-year old’s career, you could see the progression. We first saw him on HBO’s airwaves in September of 2017, as he absolutely outclassed and dominated contender Antonio Nieves. Inoue was on top of Nieves all night, breaking him down to the body and head before the fight was stopped in the sixth round.
That was definitely an eye-opener, but it was two fights later when Inoue dropped jaws with an electrifying performance against the very capable Jamie McDonnell. In that fight Inoue (16-0, 14 KO’s) was sensational and deadly at the same time, as he hammered McDonnell around the ring before scoring a first round TKO victory to claim the WBA bantamweight title. McDonnell was a champion for four years prior to that match, so it was shocking to see.
And now, with this weekend’s whitewash, Inoue will march forward to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series. Already you can sense how exited people are for another performance from him.
Keep in mind, Payano was no slouch coming in. Prior to this fight with Inoue this weekend, the only blemish on his ledger had been a a majority decision to former Olympian Rau’shee Warren in 2016. That fight was actually a rematch, as one fight prior we saw Payano overcome Warren in a gritty fight that he won via split-decision.
In watching his fights vs. Nieves, McDonnell, and Payano, I am reminisced of another fighter who broke out on the scene in similar fashion; Manny Pacquiao. If you remember when Pacquiao stopped by Lehlo Ledwaba and later Marco Antonio Barrera, it wasn’t just his power that was eye-opening, but the way he delivered it. Inoue too seems to be blessed with such ability and the rest of the WBSS tournament will go a long way to telling us how big of a star he can become.
Inoue will now wait patiently for the winner of Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) vs. Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs), for Rodriguez’s IBF title
This article was written by C.Johnson, www.ringnews24.com
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On September 25, undefeated world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi makes his light flyweight debut, against Tibo Monabesa at Korakuen Hall.
Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0 / 7 KOs) was initiated into martial arts from a very young age, since both his father and uncle were karate masters, he took up the sport when he was only 3 years old. His focus was shifted to boxing 9 years later when he saw his brother training in a local Osaka gym. During his University years, he won the 69th National Sports Festival (2014), which is considered to be Japan’s premier sports event and also became captain of the boxing team. In 2015, he entered the 5th Taipei City Cup International Boxing Tournament, winning second place. Kyoguchi’s amateur record was 52-14.
Turned pro in 2016, Kyoguchi fought 5 times that year, winning all of his bouts via KO/TKO within 3 rounds. His first championship victory came on February of 2017 when he stopped Filipino fighter Armando de la Cruz (25-14*), with some lethal body shots, to win the OPBF Minimumweight title.
On July 23, 2017, the Osaka born star received an IBF world title opportunity against Jose Argumedo (20-3*), the man who defeated Katsunari Takayama for the same belt in 2015. Kyoguchi, with his fast combinations, controlled the fight, keeping him ahead on the judges score cards. Argumedo was no pushover though as he displayed a strong offense for a few rounds, not enough though to win him the fight. In the 9th round, Kyoguchi knocked the champion down after landing a well calculated left hook followed by a series of strikes. The barrage continued throughout the remaining rounds, much to the excitement of the Japanese fans. In the end, Kyoguchi got the unanimous decision and became the world champion, only 15 months after his pro debut.
Kyoguchi marked his first successful title defense over 3 time world title contender Carlos Buitrago (30-2*). Much like the previous bout, the Japanese boxer was in full control, even came close to ending the fight in the 6th round. After 2 more action packed rounds, Kyoguchi went for the kill in the 8th, putting the hurt on the challenger, leading to the referee stopping the fight. His second and last defense was against Vince Paras (13-0*) this past May.
Eventually, Kyoguchi decided to vacate his title and move up a weight class, as he looks on making an impact in the division, he conquered as an amateur. His light flyweight pro debut will take place next Tuesday when he takes on unbeaten Indonesian fighter, Tibo Monabesa (18-0 / 8 KOs). Kyoguchi’s already ranked amongst the top 5 of the division (WBA #2 / WBC #3 / IBF #5 – August rankings) so it’s safe to say that he’s only one or two wins away from competing again for a world championship. Monabesa will be a tough test as he is also a world ranked boxer (WBA #6 / WBC #13 / WBO # 8 – August rankings). However the experience factor lies with Kyoguchi here, despite being the younger of the two, since he has had a much more accomplished career, both as an amateur and as a pro. To conclude with, it’s important to point out that Hekkie Budler, the WBA Super champion, has expressed interest in fighting Kyoguchi for the strap. So if Kyoguchi is victorious against Monabesa, we could be seeing these two box for the world title, sooner or later.
*Denotes record leading into the fight
By - Eric Armit
Finally it is here Golovkin vs. Alvarez II. All of the trash talking is over and the most anticipated return fight of the year, perhaps for many years, will be over by Sunday morning. The bad feeling between the two fighters is genuine and so is the difficulty in predicting who will win. I slightly favour Golovkin so Gennady is my pick, but my dearest wish is a fight worthy of the occasion and a clear undisputed winner. Under this great fight David Lemieux vs. Gary O’Sullivan promises mayhem with Lemieux looking down the slope if he loses and O’Sullivan hoping to get a fight against the winner of Golovkin vs. Alvarez.
There is also Jamie Munguia and Roman Gonzalez fighting good level opposition. Munguia an exciting talent and he will be looking to blow away 20-1 Canadian Brandon Cook to build on his impressive power shows in wins over Sadam Ali and Liam Smith. Roman Gonzalez will be having his first fight for a year and be trying to salvage his career with a win over experienced Moises Fuentes. Two losses in the space of six months against Thai Srisaket saw Gonzalez fall from high in the Pound-for-Pound rankings to being dismissed as over the hill.
It has been good to see some big fights announced and confirmed or in the case of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury seemingly all systems go with only the final details regarding date and venue to be announced-hopefully. December 1 or 8th have been mentioned as possible dates. Both fighters seem to have made concessions Tyson by agreeing to the fight being held in the USA and Wilder to a 50/50 purse split. There is some scepticism over whether it really will take place so let’s hope we see very soon a date and venue set and tickets on sale. Of course Wilder vs. Tyson is bigger than Anthony Joshua vs. Alex Povetkin. The winner will have a strong hand when it comes to bargaining for the Joshua fight next year but both Wilder and Fury know that what they are engaged in is basically an eliminator with the winner going on to face Joshua next year for a “Money Mayweather” level purse.
If Wilder vs. Fury does not come off then both fighters will have to scrape around trying to find another significant fight this year. Who knows perhaps the WBC might even insist Wilder fights the winner of the 22 December fight between Dillian White and Dereck Chisora. Of course if Povetkin beats Joshua then it’s a different ball game as the winner of Wilder vs. Fury vs. Povetkin instead of Joshua won’t have the same significance or the same money.
The other fights announced are Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jose Pedraza and Terrence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez. The Lomachenko vs. Pedraza fight on 8 December will be a unification contest with Lomachenko’s WBA lightweight title and Pedraza’s WBA title on the line. Pedraza boxed well to win the title from Ray Beltran but I can’t see him stopping Lomachenko from adding another title to his collection.
Crawford vs. Benavidez will be held 13 October in Omaha. Crawford, who has just signed a long term extension to his contract with Top Rank, unified all four major titles at super light and it will lead to some great fights if his aim is to do the same at welterweight. Crawford vs. Errol Spence, Crawford vs. Manny Pacquiao, Crawford vs. Keith Thurman, Crawford vs. Shawn Porter all fights to savour.
As with Povetkin we have to hope Benavidez does not turn out to be a banana skin for Crawford. Not likely but in boxing anything can happen. Benavidez is not actually in the WBO ratings right now. That is because he is No 1 with the WBA and sanctioning bodies tend to omit a fighter if he is in the mandatory spot in another sanctioning body’s ratings but the next set of WBO ratings will soon solve that little detail. Both Crawford and the 6’2” Benavidez were top class amateur but their time at the top did not coincide. In 2006 Crawford won a silver medal at the National Golden Gloves and a gold medal at the National Police Athletic League Championships. He turned pro after failing to make the US Team for the 2008 Olympics. In 2009 Benavidez won a gold medal at the National Golden Gloves and a silver medal at the US national Championships. Interestingly in winning a bronze medal at the 2006 US National Championships Crawford beat Mikey Garcia 18-7 but lost to Danny Garcia 20-21. He did beat Danny Garcia in another tournament that year but lost to Cuban Yordenis Ugas which ended his hopes of a place at the 2007 Pan American Games. At the 2006 US National Championships you could have seen Crawford vs. Mikey Garcia and Crawford vs. Danny Garcia in the space of a couple of days for a few dollars entrance fee. Now they would be million dollar fights. In those 2006 Championships you could have watched Rau’shee Warren, Gary Russell, Danny Garcia, Demetrius Andrade and Daniel Jacobs who took gold medals and went on to win world titles and Crawford, Keith Thurman Edwin Rodriguez and Shawn Estrada who won bronze and Mikey Garcia, Casey Ramos, Mason Menard, Sadam Ali, Charles Hatley, Hank Lundy, Brad Solomon, Abraham Han. Jorge Diaz, Jessie Belmontes and Ray Robinson who went home empty handed. All for just a few dollars. A real bargain.
After the results at the weekend the situation in the welterweight division became even more interesting but no easier to predict. IBF champion Errol Spence is in a situation where he can make a voulantary defence. The No 1 spot in the IBF ratings was vacant until Yordenis Ugas beat Cesar Barrionuevo on Saturday. Previously Ugas could not go to No 1 as he had not beaten a rated fighter but in the crazy sanctioning body world he can now be No 1for beating No11. Shawn Porter, the new WBC champion, has been challenged by Spence but is not taking the bait with Porter’s father throwing Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia again, Terrence Crawford and Spence in the mix and saying that they will decide what Porter does next. There has been a suggestion that the WBC might make Ugas Porter’s mandatory but how can they jump a guy who was No 9 to No 1 for beating a guy who was No 8 escapes me-oh just a minute that’s exactly what the IBF will now do with Ugas!
Notable absentees from the discussions are Crawford’s mandatory contender Custio Clayton and also Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. In an Instagram post Pacquiao threatened Top Rank with legal action over alleged non-payment of monies due to him from the US rights to his fight with Lucas Matthysse. That situation has been resolved. Pacquiao is seeing his options shrink for with fights very recently completed or scheduled for Porter, Garcia, Thurman, Spence and Crawford they are all “unavailable” right now. Obviously that could work in Khan’s favour. Any fight with Pacquiao in it is a big fight for big money and Pacquiao is said to be talking to Eddie Hearn about the possibility of a DAZN show. Since Khan’s fight on Saturday was on a Matchroom show it raises the possibility of a Pacquiao vs. Khan fight. However, Khan has said that Pacquiao has ruled himself out by asking for too much money and Khan will look to fight Kell Brook-which strengthens Brook’s hand. The stumbling block to a Khan vs. Brook fight would be the weight with Khan preferring welterweight but Brook knowing he would struggle to make 147lbs. A catchweight compromise might provide a solution but then they have to talk money and that could be another difficult hurdle. A pity both Pacquiao and Khan are past their best but perhaps that is fortunate for Khan.
With Oleg Usyk having signed with Eddie Hearn the drums are beating for Usyk vs. Tony Bellew. Not much drum rolling needed for what will be a big attraction which sells itself. However the WBA are insisting that Usyk faces Denis Lebedev. Whether Usyk does fight Lebedev or not the WBA will still be off a very embarassing hook that their multi-title greed has speared them. Right now they have a super champion in Usyk, a secondary champion in Beibut Shumenov and an interim champion in Arsen Goulamirian. At the start of this year Lebedev was their super champion. To tidy things up they tucked Lebedev out of sight as “champion in recess”. However Lebedev has come out of the little corner they tucked him into and now they have no title for him. It will be interesting to see how they deal with that on their next ratings. They will have to invent a title for Lebedev. How about “super secondary interim no longer in recess champion”. Ah what a tangled web we weave…………………
There are two possible solutions. Usyk could relinquish the WBA title or they can recant their mandatory order and agree to the Usyk vs. Bellew fight on the understanding that the winner of Usyk vs. Bellew agrees to fight Lebedev. Bellew’s last fight was his win over David Haye in a heavyweight bout in May. He has not fought at cruiserweight since beating B J Flores in October 2016. Although right up to and including their 31 July issued ratings the WBA had not rated Bellew at any position in any division he suddenly appeared at No 8 cruiser in their latest ratings. So is that a sign that they are going to approve Usyk vs. Bellew?
Excellent show building for New Orleans on 27 October. Two quarter finals of the WBSS super light series will see Regis Prograis take on Terry Flanagan and Swede Anthony Yigit against Ukrainian Ivan Baranchyk.
I would really have liked to see Donnie Nietes become a four division champion putting him level with Nonito Donaire. I saw the contests last weekend as a close fight but thought he beat Aston Palicte. The 36-year-old Filipino is now 16-0-2 in 18 world title fights and 8-0-1 against former, current and future world champions. His only career loss came on a split decision in 2004 in Indonesian against local fighter Angky Angkotta when Angkotta came in 6lbs over the weight but Nietes still went ahead with the fight. Since then he is 30-0-4 in 34 fights. Hopefully he will get another shot at a version of the super fly title but some sources say that he could face Kazuto Ioka next. A very tough ask.
Good to see British super bantam Thomas Ward may get a chance to fight in a final eliminator for the IBF super bantam title against Cesar Juarez. The 24-0 former undefeated British champion is currently No 8 with the IBF and Juarez No 6. With positions 1 and 2 vacant a win over Juarez could allow Ward to jump to No1. Juarez was stopped in five rounds by Isaac Dogboe for the interim WBO title in January but has scored three wins since then two against decent level opposition.
Still on the super bantams WBO champion Isaac Dogboe has said he would love to fight WBA champion Daniel Roman in London. The young Ghanaian fought in the Junior and Senior Novice championship and won the English National title when campaigning as an amateur in Britain and boxed for Ghana at the 2012 Olympics in London. He was born in Ghana and the Ghanaians naturally reacted with anger to an attempt by a UK paper to try to claim him for England.
Richard Commey is another Ghanaian fighter looking for a title fight but Commey will be in the challenger’s role. The IBF had extended the closing date for bids for the mandated title defence for Mikey Garcia against Commey until 13 September but I have not seen the outcome of that yet. The Ghanaian lost a very controversial split decision to Robert Easter for the IBF title in 2016 and deserves a return but Garcia may be looking for a higher profile opponent so it will be interesting to see whether he takes the fight or relinquishes the title.
Going back to the cruisers interim WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian will defend his title against Australian Mark Flanagan in Marseilles on 20 October. This will be the first defence for Goulamirian since winning the title with a victory over Ryad Merhy in March, Flanagan lost on points to Lebedev for the super title in July last year but has registered two wins since then.
Another interesting cruiser fight will see Jai Opetaia (16-0) vs. Bilal Laggoune (23-1-2) in Liege, Belgium on 6 October. Laggoune’s IBF Inter-Continental title will be on the line. This figures to be a really tough test for Opetaia. Laggoune lost a split decision to Doudou Ngumbu in February last year but has won his last three fights. Opetaia is No 10 with the WBO and Laggoune No 11 with the IBF.
The fight for the secondary heavyweight title between the holder Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo is scheduled for 29 September Cologne-don’t forget to miss it. Seriously the machinations of the WBA are not the fault of either boxer and even though neither of them is remotely near world class the y could still put on an entertaining fight. Charr has been angered by some of the press focusing on his not having a German passport. Charr is adamant that he feels himself to be German and will go into the ring under both the German and Syrian flags. His citizenship papers have been under review for a very long time with the suggestion that some outstanding tax issues are delaying it.
There is a height vs. weight formula to work out whether a person is obese. With so many heavyweights getting caught in drug testing I wonder if there is a way of coming up with a brain to weight formula to work out whether a fighter is dumb enough to think he can cheat and get away with it?
As a sport we have a bad habit of shooting our self in the foot. As if we did not have enough manufactured titles yet another one has popped up. Last week Umar Salamov won the vacant Eurasian Parliament title. Aghhhhhhhhh. To paraphrase the words of Sir Winston “never in the field of human conflict has a sport made itself look so ridiculous”.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On September 11, Takuma Inoue squares off with Mark John Yap for an opportunity at the WBC Bantamweight World Championship.
Takuma Inoue (11-0 / 3 KOs) is the younger brother of 3 division world champion, Naoya Inoue. He started boxing from a very young age, after watching his brother competing, winning several high school championships. After showing much promise as an amateur, Takuma made his pro debut in 2013, when he was barely 18 years old. His first opponent was future WBO Minimumweight World Champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (12-3*). Even though he was outmatched, Inoue managed to pull off the upset and get the unanimous decision over the much more experienced boxer. That was his only fight in the light flyweight division.
He immediately jumped to flyweight, facing a worthy foe in Teeraphong Utaida (25-2*). Neither the fact that he moved up a weight class nor that he went from 6 to 8 rounds, scared the young Japanese prodigy. Once again, Takuma proved that he was a force to be reckoned with, going the distance and earning yet another victory. After knocking out a debuting Chalerm Kotala, Inoue outclassed world title contender Nestor Daniel Narvaes (20-2*) at super flyweight, despite that being only his fourth fight.
Takuma’s sound skills and technique, earned him his first championship when he fought Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6*), for the vacant OPBF Super Flyweight title, in 2015. At the time, he was just 19 years old! Before the year was over, he successfully defended the belt against Rene Dacquel (15-5*). Inoue was named the “2015 Prospect of the Year” by the Ring magazine.
In 2016, Takuma beat Filipino stand out Froilan Saludar (23-1*) at the Sky Arena in Japan, before moving up to bantamweight. Saludar managed to drop him early in the opening round but Inoue returned the favor in the later rounds. The Japanese fighter was set to face Marlon Tapales (29-2*) for the WBO Bantamweight World Title on December of the same year. Unfortunately, bad luck stroke Inoue as he fractured his hand in training, thus withdrawing from his one and only world title fight to date.
Inoue made his return on August of 2017, in an epic war with 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-16*). Both men went back and forth for 10 rounds, exchanging shots and stealing the show. Takuma remained unbeaten and proved that he was back and stronger than ever. He went on to defeat former Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8*) and Indonesian journeyman Waldo Sabu (12-11*). Now back in the world title picture, his next fight could be the one he needs to finally compete for the big one. However, his opponent might have different plans.
Mark John Yap (29-12 / 14 KOs) is a veteran of the sport, who has been around for 11 years. Despite having lost 12 of his 41 fights, he has only been stopped twice, while his last recorded loss is back in 2014. He is currently on a 10 fight winning streak, with victories over the likes of Hiroyuki Kudaka as well as former interim world champion and 3-time world title contender, Juan Jose Landaeta.
His reign as OPBF Bantamweight champion has been a strong one. He dominated Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4*) back in 2016, showcasing tremendous power, as he had the then champion all bloodied up and on the run, before the referee had to step in and stop the match. Yap also knocked out Kentaro Masuda (27-7*) and Seizo Kono (19-8*) in 2017. His last fight was a unanimous decision win over Takafumi Nakajima (29-9*) this past April.
Both Takuma and Yap are great fighters but with completely different styles. Takuma is a technical boxer while Yap is a brawler with knockout power, something that his Japanese rival lacks. Inoue’s style though, has kept him undefeated in all of his 11 bouts thus far. On the other hand, the Filipino hasn’t been the same boxer he was 5 years ago. His game has vastly improved and he has tested himself against top level competition during his time in Japan, where his last 16 fights have taken place. It’s not easy to make a prediction here. Only one thing is for sure. It will be one hell of a fight !
*Fighter’s record before the fight.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On September 8th, a modern day legend makes his much anticipated return to the ring, as Kazuto Ioka ends his retirement to face McWilliams Arroyo, in the States, for the WBC Silver Super Flyweight Championship.
Kazuto Ioka (22-1 / 13 KOs) is without a doubt one of the best Japanese boxers of the last decade. He proved his worth quite early, back in his amateur days, amassing an impressive record of 95 wins in 105 bouts, including two All Japan championships, two Inter high school titles as well as a four time winner of the National Sports Festival Tournament, which is considered to be Japan’s premier sports event.
Turned pro in 2009, he showcased his amateur pedigree as he dispatched world title contender Takashi Kunishige (20-3*), in just his third fight. Ioka then went on to win the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title after he TKOed Masayoshi Segawa (19-2*), only 18 months after his debut.
In February of 2011, Ioka’s first major test arrived when he challenged the unbeaten Kittipong Jaigrajang (35-0*) for the WBC Minimumweight World Championship. Jaigrajang was champion for 4 years and had 6 title defenses under his belt. The Japanese hopeful went toe to toe with the veteran Thai champion, even knocking him down as early as in the second round and then once more in the sixth, with a lethal left body blow, sealing the deal and becoming the world champion at only 21 years of age, the same age Masao Oba was when he won the world title for the first time as well. Ioka defended his championship twice the same year, against Juan Hernandez Navarrete (18-1*) and Veerawut Yuthimitr (8-0*).
On June 20 of 2012, he was involved in a unification bout with the WBA champion and fellow rising Japanese star, Akira Yaegashi (15-2*). Their careers shared many similarities. Yaegashi was also an accomplished amateur, with a record of 56-14, and had also won the National Sports Festival Tournament, back in 2002. Both men brought their A game that night, knowing what was at stake. An epic back and forth affair, that brought the fans to their feet, ended with Ioka earning the unanimous decision and leaving Osaka with two world championships.
Having conquered the Minimumweight division, Ioka decided to move up a weight class and in just 6 months, he was the WBA Light Flyweight World Champion. He enjoyed another long run with the belt, marking 3 successful defenses over Phissanu Chimsunthom (43-8*), former world champion Ekkawit Songnui (41-1*) and Felix Alvarado (18-0*), before debuting at the Flyweight division. Ioka tasted defeat for the first time as a pro when he failed to capture the IBF Flyweight World Championship from Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0*) in a very close encounter. Ironically, Ioka had lost again to Amnat in the past, back in their amateur days, when they met each other at the semi-finals of the 2008 King's Cup, an amateur boxing tournament held in Thailand.
Ioka came back even more determined, beating both Pablo Carrillo (15-2*) and former interim world champion Jean Piero Perez (20-7*), within the span of three months, thus earning another opportunity to a Flyweight world title, this time against the WBA champion, Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1*). After 12 action packed rounds, the Japanese superstar finally came out a 3-division champion.
His reign as WBA Flyweight World Champion lasted 2 years, with title defenses over Roberto Domingo Sosa (26-2*), a revenge fight against Juan Carlos Reveco which ended with a TKO this time, Keyvin Lara (18-1*), interim world champion Yutthana Kaensa (16-0*) and Nare Yianleang (62-4*). His 6th defense was scheduled to take place on December 31st of 2017 but due to getting married and reportedly falling out with his father and promoter, Kazunori Ioka, he chose to retire and vacate his belt, a move that surprised the boxing community. Fortunately though, Ioka is now coming back and faces no easy opponent in his return fight.
McWilliams Arroyo (17-3 / 14 KOs), much like Ioka, has had an extensive amateur career. He won the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, the 2007 Pan American Games and the 2009 AIBA World Boxing Championship, including victories over 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Yan Bartelemí and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Nyambayaryn Togstsogt.
As a pro, Arroyo has repeatedly tested himself against much more experienced boxers, earning wins over world title contenders like Lorenzo Trejo, Luis Maldonado, Ronald Ramos, Victor Ruiz and Froilan Saludar and even beating former world champion Carlos Cuadras (36-2*), in his latest fight, winning the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title in the process. The Puerto Rican has also competed twice for the world title, with impressive showings against Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0*) and Roman Gonzalez (44-0*).
This fight will be a major stepping stone for both fighters. Ioka is currently ranked #2 by the WBA, whereas Arroyo is #3 in both the WBO and WBC rankings. Ioka is bent on becoming a 4-division champion while Arroyo is looking to finally win the big one. A win here can set either man at the top of the WBA/WBC/WBO with a promise of another world title opportunity. Will the Japanese Icon continue his winning ways or will the “ring rust” lead to his downfall ? This question will be answered at Superfly III.
*Fighter’s record before the fight.
By- Eric Armit
It was sad to read of the death of Senator John McClain He was a genuine war hero and twice a Presidential candidate but for myself his most relevant influence was through his work to clean up boxing through the development of what came into law in America as the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act which had a huge impact on boxing in the USA. The stated purpose of the Act was “ protecting boxers from exploitation, sanctioning organization integrity reforms, and requiring public interest disclosures to state boxing commissions……. to remedy many of the anti-competitive, oppressive, and unethical business practices which have cheated professional boxers and denied the public the benefits of a truly honest and legitimate sport," The impetus for the whole process that resulted in the Ali Act can be said to have been an IBF title fight back in 1992. The then IBF middleweight champion James Toney won a split decision over Dave Tiberi in Atlantic City. It was seen by many as a disgraceful robbery of Tiberi. His local Senator instituted an investigation and the testaments given sparked John McCain’s decision to push for changes in how boxing was run in the USA and particularly the promoter/boxer relationship and the influence of sanctioning bodies.
I had a minor role in that I had a number of phone calls from a researcher working for the Senator asking me how the “slave” contracts between Don King and his fighters worked and on how the “options” system worked. I explained that under the contracts King put in place there was a clause that said that as long as the boxer was in the world ratings then his contract with King would be automatically renewed. That effectively meant that for the whole of a fighters peak years he could not fight for any other promoter than Don King without King’s permission. I remember an instance in my time with the WBC ratings committee when we took out a prominent King promoted African boxer on the basis of his inactivity which would have made him a free agent. However when I presented the ratings to the Convention King’s influence was sufficient for the rating to be overturned and the fighter returned to the ratings and back under King’s control.
I explained that with options it was customary for the promoter of the world champion to insist on options on the services of the challenger so that if the challenger won then he was under contract to fight only for that promoter unless the promoter decided to sell some or all of the options to another promoter. The usual number of options was three-sometimes less-sometimes more. In addition the purse for each option was an integral part of the option and those purses were inevitably below market value. As an example a champion might get $100,000 for the title defence and the challenger $50,000. If the challenger won the price included in his option and instead of $100,000 that could tie him to receiving $50,000 for each of his three title defences. If the promoter had no market for the new champion then he could sell the options to promoters who could. A typical example was when Charlie Magri unexpectedly lost his WBC flyweight title to Frank Cedeno in his first defence. The British promoter had no way of making money out of his options on the Filipino but a Japanese promoter was anxious to get his fighter Koji Kobayashi a shot at the WBC title so he bought Cedeno’s options from the British promoter.
Naturally there was some watering down of the proposed Act before it was passed but it remains an important milestone in the way boxing is administered in the USA and had a ripple effect that led to other countries reviewing their own processes and procedures.
The Ali Act was only a small part of the work Senator McCain did in his time in government but boxing owes him a great debt of gratitude RIP Senator John McCain.
This has been a memorable week for boxing in Thailand as Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) won his 51st fight. He can’t yet be said to have beaten Floyd Mayweather’s record as what makes Mayweather’s total of 50 significant is that his record is for winning every one of his 50 fights in his career. In order to surpass Mayweather’s record Wanheng has either to retire now with 51 wins or have some more fights and win them also before retiring. if Wanheng continues to box and loses then he still has a great record but there are plenty better records with just one or two losses on them.
The other milestone for a Thai fighter will probably be achieved by the time you read this. The 41-year-old former WBC bantam and super featherweight champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (Sirimongkhon Iamthuam ) has a 95-4 record and on Saturday 1 September will have fight No 100 in a twenty-four-year career. I am not sure if any other Thai fighter has reached that total. He started out as a super flyweight and in fight No 100 will be trying to win the Thai light heavyweight title. Between losing his WBC super feather title to Jesus Chavez in 2003 and losing a fight to Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov for the WBC Asian Boxing Council middle weight title in February he coincidentally won 51 fights in a row. He is taking no chances in fight No 100 as his opponent is Ugandan Muhammad Nsubuga with a 0-6 record!
That Sirimongkol vs. Nsubuga contest is typical of many abysmal matches in Thailand. Last weekend Tajik boxer Abdul Buranov lost to WBC No 3 flyweight Noknoi. Their respective records before the fight were Noknoi 66-5 and Buranov 0-3. In his four fights Buranov’s opponents records have been 64-5(Noknoi), 21-1. 15-2 and Noknoi again with 66-5.
Can’t help but be disappointed that the WBSS are going to do another cruiserweight series. Let’s face it this is a competition for the also-ran or never ran. Mairis Breidis, Yunier Dorticos, Krzys Glowacki, Marius Masternak, Maksim Vlasov, Andrew Tabiti and Noel Gevor are all good fighters and Russian Ruslan Fayfer in unbeaten but it was the knowledge that it could end up with Olek Usyk fighting Murat Gassiev that made the original so interesting and this tournament has no such star attraction.
It always seemed likely that the WBA would have to stand by the results of the purse bids-or should I say bid as there was only one-for the Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant fight for their secondary middleweight title. If they had not done so but instead allowed Murata to fight Jason Quigley then the lawyers would have had a field day. Murata fights Brant in Las Vegas on 20 October and you can be sure that Bob Arum will be looking to get Quigley a fight with the winner or look for some other way to get the unbeaten Irishman a title shot.
African news has Joseph Agbeko returning to action on 8 September in Ho in the Volta Region of Ghana. He will fight fellow Ghanaian Ekow Wilson in defence of his WBO African title.
A couple of heavyweights will be in action on 8 September in Germany as Alex Dimitrenko makes a quick return after his loss to Bryant Jennings but no opponent named. In fact the New Jersey Commission gave Dimitrenko a suspension after the loss to Jennings which does not expire until 17 October!! The other bout features Croatian hope Filip Hrgovic against veteran Amir Mansour. Big test for Hrgovic even though Mansour is 46. This fight is for the vacant WBC International title. In Mansour’s last fight in November, a technical draw against Sergey Kuzmin, the result was changed to No Decision as Mansour tested positive for a banned substance.
Japan has only one fighter in the heavyweight world ratings and that is Kyotaro Fujimoto. The WBO have him at No 7 on the basis of his winning their Asia Pacific title. His opposition has been very modest at best, certainly not enough to be rated above Bryant Jennings or Dereck Chisora-but he is. They are not taking any chances with him. He is due to fight on 25 September with the name being bandied about of Thai Suthat Kalakek a former OPBF super middleweight title challenger who lost his last fight to a 6-0 novice. Hope they come up with something better than this for a world rated fighter.
Former WBO super featherweight champion Jorge Barrios has applied to the Argentinian Boxing Federation for a licence to fight again. Now 42 Barrios was recently released from prison after serving three years and seven months for homicide and culpable injuries. When driving his car he ran down and killed a twenty-year-old pregnant woman and left the scene of the accident. He has served the sentence that they gave him but four years for what he did seems wholly inadequate.
Boxing lost two former fighters from different country with the deaths this month of August of Charley “White Lightning” Brown and Argentinian Farid Salim. Brown won his first 23 fights before losing to Harry Arroyo for the IBF lightweight title in 1984. His career really faded downhill from there but he scored wins over Alfredo Escalera, the 25-0-1 Frank Newton and the 18-0 Louis Burke on his way to the title shot. He also fought Harold Brazier, Saoul Mamby, Greg Haugen, Johnny Bizzarro and Ralph “Tiger” Jones. After more than 60 amateur fights in Salim’s first pro fight in June 1958 his opponent Santos Galvan suffered an injury and died after the contest. Despite that Salim continued his career and went 27-0-2 including winning the Argentinian middleweight title. In his first fight in the USA he outpointed Ted Wright and also scored a win over Joey Giambra but lost to the wonderfully named Yama Bahama, Wilbert McClure, Joey Archer and Ruben Carter. RIP Charley and Farid.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
A “Young Lion vs. Old Lion” battle will take place on August 24, as Riku Kano challenges Shin Ono for the Japanese Minimumweight Championship.
One of the most promising Japanese up and comers, Riku Kano (13-3 / 7 KOs) began his professional career in 2013, when he was just 16 years old ! During his first years, he mostly faced debuting fighters and journeymen, in order to gain experience, knocking out many of them and even earning the WBA Asia title, only one year after his debut.
His first big test came when he fought former WBC Asia champion and 2-time world title contender Wicha Phulaikhao (58-8*) on December of 2015. With only 9 fights under his belt, the rookie fought a technical match, controlling the pace and landing good shots, scoring one of the most significant victories of his young career.
Kano proved his worth once more when he went toe to toe for 12 rounds with former WBO World Champion Merlito Sabillo (25-2*) for the interim OPBF title. The Japanese fighter pulled off the big upset again to the surprise of everyone, winning the prestigious belt in the process.
On August 20 of 2016, Kano gained his first ever world title opportunity, as he faced arguably one of the best Japanese boxers of our generation, Katsunari Takayama (30-8*) for the vacant WBO World Championship. This bout was also a milestone for Takayama, who had already held the WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF world minimumweight titles in the past, since that was his last fight as a pro (Takayama retired so he could focus on competing at the 2020 Olympics). The miraculous kid was running roughshod over the legend in every single round. Takayama offered almost no resistant as he kept on taking a beating from the younger fighter. The fans could feel that a change of the guard was imminent. However, bad luck struck Kano as he suffered a bad cut in his left eye, which led to the referee putting an end to this fight, thus depriving him of the chance to become a world champion at 18 years of age.
Kano’s “jinx” continued after he got stopped by Jerry Tomogdan (22-8*), while attempting to claim the vacant WBO Asia Pacific belt. After 2 rebound wins against Naoya Haruguchi and Kittisak Khamlong, he receives another title shot against yet again a formidable foe.
Shin Ono (22-9 / 5 KOs) is a veteran of the sport, already boxing for 17 years, with no indications of slowing down. Through out his entire career, he has boxed with some of the top talent in the world. Whether it’s a win over future world champions like Yu Kimura and Chaozhong Xiong or a loss to Katsunari Takayama and Thammanoon Niyomtrong, in his 2 world title challenges, it’s safe to say that Ono has been battle tested. Right now, he sits at the top of the Japanese Minimumweight division, claiming the crown back in April.
Both men, even though they may compete for Japanese gold, they clearly have bigger plans in their minds. Kano is looking to finally win what was rightfully his in the first place and become one of the youngest world champions, where Ono, at 35, aims to be one of the eldest. Much like Kuga vs. Wake, it isn’t easy to pick a winner here. What I can say is that it will definitely be an intriguing match-up and the winner will be closer to one more world title opportunity.
*Fighter’s record prior to the fight
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On August 23rd, Hinata Maruta faces Ben Mananquil at the Elorde South Mall in the Philippines.
Hinata Maruta (7-1 / 6 KOs) is one of Japan’s brightest young up and comers. He began boxing at the Morioka gym, when he was just 6 years old ! Maruta then went to Koyo High School, where he won a bronze medal at the 2013 Asian Junior Championships. His amateur record stands at 55 wins and only 11 losses.
Made his pro debut in 2015, Maruta wasn’t given an easy opponent as he went up against former Filippino champion Jason Canoy (24-5*). The Japanese prodigy put his skills to test against the veteran fighter, showcasing great hand speed and foot work. Despite getting caught a few times, he dominated the majority of the fight and got the decision as well as his first professional victory.
After dispatching Saranyu Kerdsuk on March of 2016, Maruta fought and beat the undefeated Wilbert Berondo (10-0*) for the vacant WBC Youth Bantamweight World Championship. He continued his winning ways by defending his belt against Joe Tejones (6-1*) and Hamson Lamandau (8-0*), knocking them both out.
In less than 15 months, Maruta has proven he was a worthy adversary. Where most boxers usually fight journeymen in their early years, Maruta was facing much more experienced foes and on March 26 of 2017, he met his biggest challenged today, as he went toe to toe with Hidenori Otake (29-2*) for the prestigious OPBF title. A former Japanese champion and world title contender, Otake was the clear favor in this bout. Maruta was playing a safe game, giving the veteran too much room to control the pace of the fight and constantly stay ahead in the judges scorecards. However in the last rounds, almost out of nowhere, Maruta started peppering the champ with a few strong combinations and even got him on the run in the closing seconds of the match. Even though it wasn’t enough to get him the decision, the young lion shocked many fans and critics alike with that performance. If Maruta had chosen to fight like that since the opening bell, he would have probably left the new champion.
Maruta’s next opponent will be Ben Mananquil (16-1 / 4 KOs). The Filippino, since losing to Jing Xiang, has won all of his 6 last fights, his most notable being against Glenn Porras (29-5*) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. This will be a challenge for both men and especially for Maruta as he looks to get back on title contention.
By- Eric Armit
So great to see how boxing is flourishing again in Belfast. Saturday’s show with Carl Frampton defending his WBO interim title against Tasmanian Luke Jackson and Paddy Barnes challenging Cristofer Rosales for the WBC flyweight title in only his sixth pro fight. Frampton is germane to the popularity of boxing in Belfast and this will be a huge step up in standard for Jackson which I am sure will prove too much for him. The real WBO champion Oscar Valdez is still recovering from injury and has said it will be early 2019 before he is ready to return. IBF champion Josh Warrington will be in Belfast issuing a challenge to Frampton and that would be another huge British fight. The ranks of the WBO featherweights are a bit threadbare with Filipino Mark Magsayo, Namibian Sakaria Lukas, another Filipino Genesis Servania and Ukrainian Oleg Malynovskyi filling positions 1 to 4. Good fighters but not exactly star names but you can be sure there is a plan in place for Frampton. Barnes has a tremendous list of achievement as an amateur but he missed out on the biggest ones coming up short at the Olympics and the World Championships. And this is his chance to win the big one as a pro. Rosales lost to Andrew Selby but went to Japan and won the title there by beating an undefeated local which is no mean feat. He has experience over Barnes but is beatable.
And then there is Tyson Fury. I can’t see Francesco Pianeta as any threat to Fury on his way to a world title fight. A Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight would be big wherever it is held and I hope it happens with the winner and Anthony Joshua meeting in 2019 in the richest heavyweight title fight in the history of boxing with each boxer probably getting around $50 million and to think Joe Louis biggest purse was $626,000. It’s great to see the heavyweight division right up there for interest.
I thought I might have a look at some of the things going on in the heavyweights right now.
How ridiculous can you get? Anthony Joshua is fighting Alex Povetkin on 22 September for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. The WBA ordered Joshua to fight their No 1 Povetkin. Since Povetkin is also the No 1 with the WBO and there is no mandatory IBF challenger if Joshua beats Povetkin he has fulfilled his mandatory requirements-you think? No, the WBO have said that if Joshua beats Povetkin they may then want him to fight against another one of their fighters effectively ordering another mandatory defence. He may not want to but I can see Joshua being forced to relinquish one of his three titles as the sanctioning bodies are never happy sharing titles.
The IBF eliminator to fill the mandatory spot in their heavyweight ratings between Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury looks like landing in Sofia, Bulgaria on 27 October.
The one year suspension handed out to French heavyweight Tony Yoka for missing three test appointments stands. It had been appealed but the appeal was rejected.
Charles Martin has his eyes on another shot at the heavy weight title. He lost the IBF belt when he was knocked out in two rounds by Anthony Joshua in 2016. He had a couple of low level wins last year with the latest in July. He returns from a 13 month lay-off against the 17-0 Adam Kownacki on 8 September on the undercard to Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter in New York.
Naturally it will be billed as a crossroads fight when Bryant Jennings and Alex Dimitrenko meet in Atlantic City on 18 August, Jennings took eighteen months out after back-to-back losses to Wlad Klitschko and Luis Ortiz and has won four fights since returning. Dimitrenko, now 36, wins the small ones and loses the big ones and is running out of time.
They old saying that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time was proved true with regard to the fight between Trevor Bryan and BJ Flores for the vacant interim WBA heavyweight title. Not one single TV Company showed interest which must be a first for any version of the heavyweight title. Next up Manuel Charr vs. Fres Oquendo. I did hear that some 14-year-old kid was offered the exclusive rights to show it on his smart phone but he declined as they WBA did not offer him enough-smart kid.
Yet another former amateur heavyweight star will be throwing his hat in the ring. Russian Evgeny Tischenko is scheduled to fight on Sunday in Ekaterinburg against 19-6 Venezuelan Williams Ocando; the 27-year-old Tischenko won a very controversial gold medal at 91kg in Rio looking lucky to beat Italian Clement Russo and in the final Kazak Vasily Levit. He won a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships and gold in 2015 and was also European gold medallist in 2015 so very strong credentials. The main bout in Ekaterinburg. The main bout on the show will see Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov and Robinson Castellanos fighting for the vacant IBO super feather title.
Two of Canada’s top heavyweights will clash in Quebec City on 6 October when Simon Kean 15-0 14 by KO/TKO faces Dillon Carman 13-3. Kean will be defending the WBC Francophone title.
The WBO heavyweight ratings are a joke. The principle behind ratings is supposed to be to rank the best fighters based on the quality of their performances and the opposition they have beaten. If it figures at all that reasoning is foreign to the WBO. They rate you much higher for winning one of their myriad of joke regional titles than for beating quality opposition. Their No 4 is Tom Schwarz a good German prospect who has never faced a rated opponent but has won their Inter-Continental title. In the BoxRec and IBO computerised ratings he is No 19 and 22 respectively. Their No 7 is Kyotaro Fujimoto who is their Asia Pacific champion No 43 with BoxRec and 37 with IBO, No 10 Tyron Spong Latino champion No 75 with BoxRec and No 72 with the IBO, Junior Fa Oriental No 55 BoxRec, No 52 IBO, No 13 Zhilei Zhang former Oriental No 44 BoxRec and 40 IBO, No 14 Ebenezer Tetteh No 203 with BoxRec and not on the IBO list as it only lists the first 100, No 15 tied Jean Pierre Augustin No 85 BoxRec and 82 IBO and Ali Eren Demirezen European champion No 71 BoxRec and No 67 IBO. It is interesting that the two Independent ratings are very close on their idea of where these fighters are rated. The scary things is that anyone in the WBO top 15 is automatically eligible to be a challenger to Anthony Joshua but if Eddie Hearn even thought of matching any of these guys with Anthony Joshua they would cart him to the funny farm. To be fair-occasionally-all sanctioning bodies play this game to some extent.
Enough of the heavyweights for now. Oleg Usyk vs. Tony Bellew is one to savour. There are talks going on but as he showed when winning the WBSS Tournament he has no problem fighting in the other guys back yard so it seem a doable fight to me-let’s hope.
On the cruisers Denis Lebedev will be climbing out of whatever recess the WBA put him-another stupid title-and facing Hinzi Altunkaya in Chelyabinsk on 7 September. Even the heavyweights are in less of a mess. The WBA have a super champion in Usyk. A secondary champion is Beibut Shumenov and an interim champion in Arsen Goulamirian. Now their “champion in recess” has climbed out of the cupboard there is no title left for him. Perhaps they could make him the secondary super champion or the secondary secondary champion or the interim interim champion!!
The fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title between Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko is finally set for 27 October. It had been put back to 10 November to allow further negotiations between Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella but they came to a private deal and it was changed to the original date.
Boxing News magazine recently did a piece on an unlicensed show in Aberdeen featuring former WBC heavyweight title challenger Danny Williams, famous for knocking out Mike Tyson14 years ago, and local fighter Lee McAllister a former double Commonwealth champion at lightweight and super lightweight. The “unlicensed” tag within the British boxing terminology means that it was not under the control of the BBB of C who would never have countenanced this. Williams was licenced by the Czech Republic, the fight was for the WBO (German version) heavyweight title and “commissioned”. by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA), again nothing to do with the BBBof C. I won’t even bother mentioning the result of this “fight” suffice to say that the 53-year-old Williams weighed 260lbs and McAllister was said to be four stones (56lbs) lighter i.e. 204lbs. The last registered weight for McAllister when fighting with a BBB of C licence was a career heavy 146lbs which meant he was carrying an additional 56lbs into this fight and since he had not grown another leg it was mainly around his waist. Naturally the fight drew a storm of scorn and criticism but as if that was not enough realising just how bad this whole thing was the Executive President and CEO of the BIBA Gianluca Di Caro tried to deflect the blame by saying “I did not want Danny to box on a BIBA licence because I felt we would be criticised”. Really WOW !! The BIBA is not a member or affiliated to the EBU but Di Caro reportedly said that the EBU gave permission for the fight and that he went along with it expecting the EBIU to veto it. What a load of BS. Di Caro knows full well that the EBU has no jurisdiction over any fights except those featuring the EBU, EU and EE-EU titles. They are not a licensing body and have no power to give or deny permission for any fight other than that relating to their own titles and certainly not for a WBU German or BIBA fight. This “fight” was a disgrace and the disgrace is the WBU and the BIBA’s alone.
Jamie Munguia is a busy man. His next fight is reported to be a title defence against Canadian Brandon Cook on the undercard to the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez fight. The card will also feature Roman Gonzalez against Moises Fuentes. Gary O’Sullivan is also show as fighting a TBA. One suggestion was that it might be against David Lemieux which would be a great fight but that is just a rumour right now.
Jose Ramirez’s defence of his WBC super light title in Fresno on 14 September has an interesting undercard building with Maxim Dadashev vs. Antonio DeMarco for the NABF super light title. With so many super lights tied into the WBSS it might be a chance for the winner to land a title fight. Also on the card are Alex Besputin, the WBC No 8 super light from Japan Hiroki Okada 18-0 also hoping to impress and get into the title mix, Bryan Vazquez a former holder of the secondary WBA super feather title and Jamal Herring who faces 20-1 Vincent Moralde.
You win some, you lose some. That could almost describe recent purse bids and Top Rank. They won the bidding for the Maurice Hooker defence his WBO super light title against their fighter Alex Saucedo. Top Rank’s bid of $1,625,000 beat Matchroom’s $1, 5550,000 and it looks like it will go on in Oklahoma City, Saucedo’s home base. on November 16 or 17.
The second case was much more complicated over the bidding for Ryota Murata’s defence of the secondary WBA middleweight title against Rob Brant. I guess my lead in is not quite correct as you can’t lose if you never entered the race. There was only one bid for the fight from Greg Cohen of $202,114 as neither Top Rank nor Japan’s Akihiro Honda offer a bid. For some reason of their own the WBA had decided that the purse would be split 50/50 which did not help the situation. They Top Rank and Akihiro Honda both saw it as a stupid move by the WBA in calling for bids for a fight against Brant which was of no interest and dubious validity and Top Rank and Honda had already agreed between themselves to put Murata on a show in Las Vegas on 20 October in a big fight against unbeaten Top Rank fighter Jason Quigley which would be a much better fight that could lead to a fight with the winner of Golovkin and Alvarez. The WBA are in a mess. If they don’t honour the bid process you can be sure Cohen will sue and if they strip Murata they lose a sanctioning fee and incur the wrath of two of the most powerful promoters in the business. Cohen has already said he is aiming to put on the Murata vs. Brant fight on 27 October. We await further developments,
Marcos Maidana has launched a new promoting outfit down in Argentina. It s name is “31KO Sudamerican Boxing” and 31 just happens to be the number of fights Maidana won by KO/TKO.
Yet another new promoter has appeared as 19-year-old lightweight Devin Haney has formed his own promotion company making him probably the youngest promoter in boxing history. He will face Juan Carlos Burgos in Temecula on 28 September.
Gavin McDonnell will get another title shot as he challenges Danny Roman in Chicago on 6 October for the WBA super bantam title. McDonnell lost a majority decision to Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC title in February last year but has rebounded well with impressive wins over Gamal Yafai and Stuart Hall.
By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On July 17 at the legendary Korakuen Hall, 2 of the most exciting Japanese boxers come face to face, as Akira Yaegashi takes on Hirofumi Mukai.
Akira Yaegashi (26-6 / 14 KOs) is a modern day Japanese legend. A successful amateur, with a record of 56-14, he won the Inter-High School Championship in 2000 as well as the National Sports Festival of Japan in 2002, which is considered to be their national premier sport event.
Turned pro at the age of 22, Yaegashi was thrown into deep waters quickly, as he fought Eagle Den Junlaphan (17-1*) for the WBC Minimumweight World Title, after only 5 fights. Despite his amateur pedigree and already the OPBF champion, he wasn’t quite ready for that level of competition, at that point of his career. However he did manage to go 12 rounds with the Thai fighter, showing his Bushido spirit of never giving up.
Yaegashi continued to grow as a fighter, pilling up victories over the likes of Kenichi Horikawa (17-6*), Junichiro Kaneda (19-3*), Kosuke Takeichi (10-1*), Norihito Tanaka (13-3*) while also collecting another title, this time the Japanese Minimumweight belt.
In 2011, he finally fulfilled his destiny when he stopped Somporn Seeta (23-3*), to become the WBA World Champion, for the first time in his career. Undoubtedly, that was Yaegashi’s breakout performance as he went to war with one of the best minimuweight boxers of all time and came out on top. That match earned him “Fight of the Year” honors from ESPN.com and BoxingScene.com, as well as the WBA's award for “Most Dramatic Fight of the Year”.
8 months later, Yaegashi was in another much talked about fight, when he took on undefeated WBC Minimumweight World Champion, Kazuto Ioka (9-0*) in a double title unification bout. Again a FOTYC as both men brought their A game that night, knowing what’s at stake. In the end, Ioka got the decision and both championships.
It didn’t take long for him to get back to the “gold game” as he fought Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-1*) on April of 2013, this time for the WBC Flyweight World Championship, moving up 2 weight classes. Much like himself, Igarashi was an accomplished amateur, with a record of 77-18. After 12 competitive rounds, Yaegashi left the victor and more importantly a 2 division World Champion (the Ring and Lineal titles were also on the line)
The “Sonic Fist” defended his championship thrice over Oscar Blanquet (32-5*), former world champion Edgar Sosa (49-7*) and Odilon Zaleta (15-3*) before losing it to Roman Gonzalez (39-0*) in another slugfest.
Yaegashi once more decided to switch weight classes, this time dropping to Light Flyweight. His debut at this new division was an unsuccessful one as he got knocked out by the WBC World Champion Pedro Guevara (23-1*). Those 2 back to back KO losses didn’t discourage the Japanese superstar from continuing his journey of becoming a 3 division King. His dream was realized on December 29 of 2015, after he got the decision win over Javier Mendoza (24-2*) and earned the IBF Light Flyweight World Title.
His reign lasted 2 years, consisting of 2 successful title defenses against Martin Tecuapetla (13-6*) and Wittawas Basapean (31-5*). On May of 2017, Milan Melindo (35-2*) pulled a major upset as he put an end to Yaegashi’s IBF reign in the very first round of their encounter.
Since then, the 3 division champion has fought once this year against journeyman Frans Damur Palue (15-19*), stopping him in just 2 rounds. His next opponent will not be an easy one though.
Hirofumi Mukai (16-5*) began boxing at the Nanjing Municipal High School, while serving as a co-chief in his third year, along with future Olympic gold medalist, Ryota Murata. Afterwards, he went to Nihon University and won 3rd place at the All Japan Championships, plus a national title.
Mukai’s first 5 wins as a pro were against much more experienced foes, such as Jin-Man Jeon (13-2*), Anis Ceunfin (15-10*) and future WBC Flyweight World Champion Sonny Boy Jaro (29-9*). In spite of an unsuccessful attempt at the OPBF Flyweight title, he was granted a world title shot against one of the best boxers to come out of Thailand, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (83-3*). However the match ended in the opening round after Mukai’s suffered a nasty cut from an accidental head clash.
Throughout his career, Mukai holds notable victories over Sooksan Chaichana, Mark John Yap, world title contenders Tanawat Phonnaku (twice) & Konosuke Tomiyama as well as losses to Mark Anthony Geraldo, world title challenger & Japanese champion Shohei Omori, WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Chinese Superstar Rex Tso.
Specifically, his losses to Rungvisai and Tso were critical to proving his toughness in the ring. The WBC, Ring and Lineal world champion went 9 rounds with Mukai and the fight ended after the Japanese corner threw the towel in. Obviously Mukai wasn’t going to win the fight, but at the same time, he never gave up, despite the vicious beating that he took. On the other hand, his bout with Tso was a back and forth affair, a battle that must be considered one of the best fights of 2017. 3 titles were on the line (Mukai’s WBO Asia Pacific and Tso’s WBO International & WBC Asia). Both warriors had an old school brawl that the kept the fans on the edge of their seats. Tso’s hand speed and agility made the difference, as he dropped Mukai three times during the fight.
All in all, Yaegashi and Mukai may have very different careers, but the one thing they have in common is that whether they win or loss, both will always deliver the excitement. Keep your eyes glued to the screen when this fight is on.
*Denotes record going in to the fight
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.