By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
There are always questions hovering over any young fighter who has a great punch and breezes through with an unbeaten record. How good were the guys that he beat? What happens when he gets hit by a big punch? How will he react to getting knocked down or being cut? How will he handle himself when he faces a tricky veteran?
Naoya Inoue answered these questions in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) Bantamweight finals Thursday night.
This is not to say Inoue doesn’t have a great body of work already.
He turned pro in 2012 and captured his first world title two years later by stopping Mexican Adrian Hernandez in six rounds for the WBC light flyweight crown. He would bypass the flyweight division and stop the tough Argentine Omar Narvaez in two rounds for the WBO junior bantamweight title. After seven defenses, the Yokohama Monster would terrorize the bantamweight ranks, winning the secondary WBA crown and the IBF world title and easily toppling British Jamie McDonnell, Dominican Juan Carlos Payano and Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez enroute to the WBSS finals.
But the Filipino Flash is in an entirely different class; a veteran boxer who distinguished himself in five weight categories and has a Hall of Fame resume. After experiencing a downslide in his career a few years ago, he once again drew attention in the WBSS by reaching the finals.
Roughly 90 percent of those surveyed picked Inoue, many by knockout. But deep down, people knew Donaire was still dangerous. He could still have one good fight left in him. And he did.
But Donaire’s gallant effort was not enough. He drew blood by cutting Inoue with a punch to the right eye as early as the second. He showed Godzilla was human.
Donaire had his moments when he rocked Inoue with his right hand and scored well to the body. But Inoue, roughly ten years younger, was expected to recuperate faster in the grueling fight.
Welts started to show on Donaire’s face as blood continued to seep from Inoue’s nose and the cut eyelid. But Inoue threw the harder shots. He slowly but surely built his lead. Donaire had opportunities to drop Inoue but the Japanese hung on and fired back.
In the decisive eleventh round, a hard left to the liver had the Filipino turning and grimacing in pain before he went down on his knee. He bravely got up when most boxers couldn’t or wouldn’t. Donaire continued to take shots in the last round in his effort for one last miracle punch. But it wasn’t meant to be. All three judges scored it for Inoue - 116-111, 117-109 and 114-113. The pro-Inoue crowd of more than 20,000 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan celebrated.
Inoue (19-0,16KO’s) unified the IBF and WBA world titles and won the Muhammad Ali Trophy. His gutsy display through blood will certainly earn him more accolades.
A great opponent in the future would be the WBC bantamweight champ Nordine Oubaali (17-0,12KO’s) of France, who beat Naoya’s younger brother, Takuma Inoue by unanimous decision in the main supporting bout.
If Donaire (40-6,26KO’s)- who will turn 37 on November 16 – decides to leave boxing for good, he can hold his head high and look back at an incredible career. Together with Manny Pacquiao, they gave us the Golden Age of Philippine Boxing.
Photo – Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire embrace after the final bell.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Less than a month from now Nonito Donaire (40-5,26KO’s) of the Philippines and Naoya Inoue (18-0,16KO’s) of Japan will be punching their way into history. It is the kind of match-up that has always intrigued generations of boxing fans; age and experience versus youth, a lion in winter against a young deadly predator. It is also a unification match as well as the finals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight tournament.
Both are heating up in their preparations. Inoue has tapped Filipino sparring partners – Albert Pagara and Genesis Servania. Donaire on the other hand announced that he will move his training camp from the U.S. to the Philippines on October 20.
Inoue has only fought a total of three rounds in the WBSS tourney, having disposed of Juan Carlos Payano of the Dominican Republic in one round and Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez in two rounds in the semi-finals. The win against Rodriguez earned Inoue the IBF world title.
Donaire’s resume is certainly enough for a first ballot entry into the Boxing Hall of Fame once he retires. He has distinguished himself in five weight categories.But there are those who refer to his greatness in the past tense. Five years ago, he dropped out of everyone’s pound for pound list following losses to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jamaican Nicholas Walters.
Joining the WBSS bantamweight tournament revived his career. There were doubts among the pundits considering that he last time he fought as a bantamweight was in 2011. But it was at bantamweight where he did some of his best work, notably the bone-chilling 2011 Knockout of the Year against Mexican Fernando Montiel.
Donaire, who holds the WBA crown, will turn 37 on November 16. Fans who are rooting for him say he still has enough in the tank against Inoue, who is 26 years old, with three division titles in his resume. Inoue’s 88 percent knockout rate is certainly no joke.
Tickets are reported to be sold out which underscores the great interest for this fight set at the 36,500-seat Super Saitama Arena in Japan on November 7.
In short, this will be the biggest bantamweight fight for this decade.
The bantamweight category is one of the original eight weight divisions in boxing.
George Dixon of Canada is recognized as the first bantamweight world champion in history way back in 1890. Dixon also holds the distinction of being the first black man to win a world championship in any sport.
But the current 118 pound limit of the division was established in 1909 by the National Sporting Club of London.
Great bantamweights in history include Carlos Zarate of Mexico, Fighting Harada of Japan, Ruben Olivares of Mexico,Eder Jofre of Brazil, and Orlando Canizales of the U.S. Canizales holds the record for title defenses in the bantamweight division; He successfully retained the IBF belt 16 times from 1988 to 1994.
Will Donaire-Inoue live up to the hype and be remembered as one of the great fights in bantamweight history?
During the 80th Anniversary of Ring Magazine in 2002, their commemorative issue named Arnold Taylor KO14 Romeo Anaya as the greatest bantamweight fight of the last 80 years.
That fight held in 1973 in Johannesburg saw the South African Taylor get knocked in the fifth, three times in round eight, and once again in the tenth then staging a rally, knocking out the Mexican Anaya in the fourteenth round with one punch to the jaw and taking the WBA title.
The 1977 Mexican civil war between Carlos Zarate and Alfonso Zamora was also one for the history books. They respectively held the WBC and WBA belts but neither organization sanctioned their bout as a unification. But it was one of the most highly anticipated matches from that era and dubbed The Battle of the Z Boys.
In fact, the Los Angeles Police department sent an anti-riot squad to the venue, the Forum in Inglewood, to prevent any untoward incidents. Both were undefeated and known for their knockout power. Zarate prevailed, knocking down Zamora in the third and twice in the fourth round for the TKO victory.
Donaire was supposed to face South African Zolani Tete in the WBSS Semis but a shoulder injury forced Tete to pull out of the tournament. Donaire stopped substitute Stephon Young in six rounds.
Now, Tete (28-3, 21KO’s) will be defending his WBO world title against Filipino John Riel Casimero (28-4,19KO’s), who aside from the interim WBO belt, has previously held IBF world titles at 108 and 112 lbs. This fight, possibly will be on November 23 in London and could very well be another bantamweight classic in the making.
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
As we begin yet another year it’s time to reflect on the last 12 months and ponder what may occur in 2016. For Japanese boxing fans there is much to celebrate and anticipate with a healthy selection of world champions, capable contenders and exciting prospects and in this 3 part series we will explore all 3 categories and aim to predict what lies ahead for the many quality fighters from the land of the rising sun.
Japan began 2015 with 8 world champions and ended the year with the same number with 3 new world rulers and 3 losing their belts and in part 1 we will explore possible fights that may take place in 2016 for the 8 current boxers holding world hardware. (Note neither interim nor regular belt holders are considered legitimate world champions by this writer and will be included in the second part of this series.)
In what has become customary Takashi Uchiyama fought twice scoring a superb second round stoppage over the highly talented Jomthong Chuwatana and dispatching the woefully overmatched Oliver Flores in 3 rounds this past New Year’s Eve. An elbow operation kept him out of the ring between the Jomthong and Flores bouts and let’s hope the persistent niggling injuries are behind him and we can see the best of the man known as ‘KO Dynamite’. The 36 year old at last seems to have a defining fight in the offing with a clash against unbeaten Nicholas Walters expected to take place in the US sometime in the spring although no date or venue has been confirmed at time of writing.
It was an interesting year for bantamweight kingpin Shinsuke Yamanaka with a straight forward 7th round stoppage of Diego Ricardo Santillan and a highly controversial split decision win over Anselmo Moreno. The lack of body attack and struggles to pin down the slick Panamanian were badly exposed and at 33 it’s probably unrealistic to expect any improvements but the lethal left hand still make Yamanaka a force to be reckoned with. A March return is expected and a long overdue unification with IBF champion Lee Haskins has been hinted at by his team. A fight in the US has also been numerously mentioned and clashes up at super bantamweight with Nonito Donaire or Julio Ceja would be fascinating encounters. Moreno and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai have been ordered to contest a WBC final eliminator and either would present a tricky rematch for Yamanaka.
For Naoya Inoue 2015 was one of frustration having been side-lined with a damaged hand until December 30th when he returned to easily see off Warlito Parrenas in 2 rounds in the first defence of his WBO super flyweight strap. There seemed to be very little ring rust and let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the man known as ‘Monster’ has no more hand problems. A rematch with Omar Narvaez who had a rematch clause and a mandatory defence against David Carmona look to be next for the 22 year old and his American debut is expected sometime in 2016. The buzz on social media grows ever louder for a showdown between Inoue and Roman Gonzalez but both have quality options in their respective divisions to take care of first.
Whilst Kohei Kono may have only fought once the satisfaction of finally lifting the cloud of Koki Kameda that hovered over him for more than a year would have felt very sweet. The pair waged war in their blood and guts 12 rounder in Chicago with the champion showing a never say die attitude to deservedly prevail on points. At 35 and with a fairly basic style, many in a pact 115 lb division will view Kono as the easiest path to a world title. Interim belt holder Luis Concepcion has expressed a great desire to take on Kono but his handlers at the Watanabe Gym have suggested that a contest with Hong Kong’s Rex Tso is in play for a date in the first half of 2016 in Macao.
You would have been hard pressed to find anyone who would have predicted that Yu Kimura would become a world champion in 2016 but the 32 year old rose to the challenge snatching the WBC light flyweight crown away from Pedro Guevara via split decision in a real shock result. After 6 rounds Kimura looked to be on the way to a stoppage loss but a stand of defiance proved to be just enough to seal his world title. With fellow countrymen Ryoichi Taguchi, Akira Yaegashi, Ryo Miyazaki and Kosei Tanaka all at 108 lb options for the WBC belt holder are endless. A March return has been touted as part of a doubleheader with Yamanaka and former champion Kompayak Porpramook was a rumoured opponent but the heavily avoided Jonathan Taconing lurks ominously in the background and could be a treacherous mandatory challenger sometime this year.
Ryoichi Taguchi ended 2014 with a terrific performance to bully and completely dominate Alberto Rossel to capture a world light flyweight strap. Unfortunately easy KO wins over Kwanthai Sithmorseng and Luis de la Rosa did nothing to progress the 29 year old’s career forward and far stiffer opposition is required in 2016. As stated with Kimura there is no shortage of quality opponents and some mouth-watering domestic bouts are available to be made.
Akira Yaegashi made a late entry for comeback fighter of the year putting on a virtuoso display to dethrone Javier Mendoza of his IBF 108 lb title and leave fans on social media gushing with admiration. The 32 year old is massively respected for his willingness to fight anyone, anywhere, challenge himself and his daring to be great attitude. Yaegashi is expressed a wish to attempt to become a 4 weight world champion and don’t rule anything out with the Ohashi Gym fighter.
Last but not least Kosei Tanaka delivered on the lofty expectations placed upon him and won the vacant WBO strawweight trinket scoring a unanimous points victory over Julian Yedras in just his 5th pro fight eclipsing the record set by Naoya Inoue. With blistering speed and dazzling combinations the 20 year old is a fantastic talent but a willingness to engage unnecessarily still needs to be worked on as he moves up in weight. This impetuous nature was on full display in his New Year’s Eve clash with Vic Saludar which saw Tanaka dropped for the first time in round 5 but come storming back to KO the Filipino in the next round with a terrific body shot. A move up to light flyweight is imminent but a far more disciplined approach inside the ring is required if he is to succeed in an ever growingly stacked division.
In part 2 we will explore the potential fighters who will capture or at least vie for a world championship this year.
Article thanks to Marcus Bellinger who can be found on twitter @marcusknockout
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Asian Monster Punchers! – The Top 10 Hardest Punchers in Boxing Right Now
We've compiled a list of the fight game's most ruthless punchers – if you want to know the most feared fighters of the sport then look no further!
Criteria: To enter our Hardest Punchers table, fighters had to: 1) have at least 23 fights (unless they hold a world title), 2) possess a 60% or higher KO ratio, 3) hold a place in Boxing Base's World Rankings.
Note: The Asian Hardest Punchers Rankings only take a fighter’s KO ratio into consideration, and not the level of opposition faced – if we did, it would prove far too complex due the subjective nature of boxing!
Asian Top 10 Hardest Punchers
1. Gennady Golovkin – 91% KO (33-0, 30 KO), Kazakhstan, Middleweight
The Kazakhstan nightmare, often referred to as 'GGG', is one of the most ferocious punchers on the planet. With 20 of his last concussive bouts ending inside the distance, his preferred method of victory is no mystery. Golovkin's next fight will be against fellow wrecking machine David Lemieux – and you can bet your bottom dollar the Kazakhstan crusher won't be looking to put in overtime. Golovkin holds the WBC (Super) and RING titles.
2. Naoya Inoue – 88% KO (8-0, 7 KO), Japan, Junior Bantamweight
The alias 'Monster' couldn't be more fitting for this Japanese amateur standout and power puncher. Not to mention for a fighter who is a two-weight world titlist in just eight fights. Inoue won his first championship at Flyweight against Adrian Hernandez last April, and only two fights later, acquired his second at Junior Bantamweight, needing only 2 rounds to dispose of Omar Andres Narvaez. Inoue is shaping up to be one of boxing's most formidable fighters.
3. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai – 80% KO (35-4-1, 32 KO), Thailand, Junior Bantamweight
Otherwise known as 'M-150', Rungvisai is a Junior Bantamweight who rarely requires scorecards at the final bell. A humbling start in the pro ranks may have included two knockout defeats and a Draw, but it didn't stop the iron-willed fighter from conquering his next 26 foes (24 inside the distance). Rungvisai lost his WBC 115 pound title to Carlos Cuadras in May 2014, but has blasted out all but one of his next 9 dance partners.
4. Wladimir Klitschko – 79% KO (64-3, 53 KO), Kazakhstan, Heavyweight
Commonly referred to as 'Dr Steel Hammer', Klitschko is a devastatingly powerful Heavyweight. At 39-years-old, this fighter is still at the top of his game, and drilling the majority of challengers into the canvas. Klitschko is known for being articulate and philosophical at press conferences – but it's his fists that deliver exclamation marks in the ring. The 6' 5" boxer is set to put his world titles on the line against Tyson Fury on October 24th.
5. Takashi Uchiyama – 79% KO (23-0-1, 19 KO), Japan, Junior Lightweight
You'd expect a fighter dubbed 'KO Dynamite' to be more than a handful in the ring, and Japan's hammer-fisted champ rarely disappoints. Uchiyama's ring generalship and raw power are to thank for his dominance at 130 pounds, where he has defended the WBA strap an astonishing ten times. With stoppages over fighters such as Takashi Miura, Bryan Vasquez and Jaider Parra it's no wonder he is highly regarded in the sport.
6. Randy Petalcorin – 72% KO (23-1-1, 18 KO), Philippines, Junior Flyweight
Petalcorin is one of the Philippines most savage punchers, not to mention one of the Junior Flyweight division's. Since a nightmare career setback to Marlon Tapales in 2010, Petalcorin has blitzed through his next 19 fighters, leaving no question as to why he wears the 'Razor' alias. Petalcorin is the current holder of the Interim WBA 108 pound title.
7. Albert Pagara – 70% KO (23-0, 16 KO), Philippines, Junior Featherweight
Known as 'Prince Albert, Pagara's noise at Junior Featherweight is starting to reach well beyond the shores of the Philippines. Undefeated and ascending the ranks at a rapid pace, the 21-year-old could be set for a very bright future in boxing. Pagara carries fight-changing power, most recently crushing challenger Jesus Rios inside 2 minutes of the 1st round.
8. Shinsuke Yamanaka – 68% KO (23-0-2, 17 KO), Japan, Bantamweight
Arguably the world's Bantamweight top dog, Yamanaka poses a serious threat to anyone campaigning at 118 pounds. Despite having to settle for two early career Draws, the Japanese fighter can nonetheless boast an undefeated record today. Since capturing the vacant WBC Bantamweight title from Christian Esquivel in 2011, Yamanaka has made eight successful defenses. Notable victims include Vic Darchinyan, Malcolm Tunacao and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.
9. Takashi Miura – 67% KO (29-2-2, 22 KO), Japan, Junior Lightweight
Miura's record may be blemished, but he is considered an elite 130 pounder in his native Japan and on the world scene. The 31-year-old southpaw may have suffered an 8th round Retirement against countryman Takashi Uchiyama in 2011, but the gritty southpaw bounced right back, capturing the WBC Junior Lightweight five fights later. He has since defended the title four times, most recently against Billy Dib via 3rd round TKO.
10. Nonito Donaire – 61% KO (35-3, 23 KO), Philippines, Junior Featherweight
Known as the 'Filipino Flash', Donaire is known for a lot more than his whistling punches. The four-weight world champion possesses one of the most lethal left-hooks in boxing, often employing it to derail the senses of opponents. Donaire put in a career-defining performance against the much-feared Vic Darchinyan in 2007, taking out the undefeated Flyweight in 5 rounds. Despite struggling against top-tier opposition at 126 pounds, Donaire remains one of today's top-tier fighters.
Best of the Rest (50-60% KO ratio, no bout minimum)
(All Images courtesy of boxrec.com)
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