By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO Asia Pacific junior lightweight champ Joe Noynay (18-2-1,7KO’s) of the Philippines will defend his title in Tokyo against Japanese Kenichi Ogawa (24-1,18KO’s) on December 7.
This will be Noynay’s third straight trip to Japan this year. Last April he stopped Japanese Kosuke Saka in two rounds for the vacant WBO regional belt at the Edion Arena in Osaka. Then in July, he defended his crown by stopping London Olympics bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu in six rounds also in Osaka. Both were surprisingly dominating performances which ensured another trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.
This time, he will be up against the 31 year old Ogawa, who has seen his share of controversy. Ogawa fought American Tevin Farmer for the vacant IBF junior lightweight world title in 2017. The judges handed a spilt decision verdict in favor of the Japanese but a drug test done a few days before the fight revealed that Ogawa was positive for two forms of synthetic testosterone.
Ogawa’s drug test done after the fight was negative. Reports stated that sources close to the fighter said that medicine for Ogawa’s skin condition may have triggered the positive result. But he ended up being fined and the Nevada State Athletic Commission invalidated the fight. The International Boxing Federation (IBF) stripped him of the world title. He was also suspended by the Japanese Boxing Commission for a year. He is the first Japanese boxer suspended for failing a drug test.
Ogawa was inactive for the whole of 2018 before returning and beating Filipinos Glen Medura and Roldan Aldea.
The 24 year old Noynay, a southpaw from Bogo,Cebu, was one of the many Filipino fans who watched online and witnessed Nonito Donaire get beaten by Naoya Inoue in the WBSS bantamweight finals in Saitama.
“I have already started training here in Manila,”Noynay told this writer. He is aware of Ogawa’s past controversy. But he is also aware that he will be fighting an opponent who already saw action at the world championship level.
But Donaire’s loss is not his only motivation for winning his fight at the Korakuen Hall.
“I am very familiar with my opponent’s style because he has already beaten Raymond Sermona, Roldan Aldea and Glen Medura. We all train in the same gym.” Noynay stated, “I will try my best my best to avenge them.”
The three Filipinos Noynay mentioned, all lost to Ogawa at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.
Noynay previously held the Youth version of the WBO Asia Pacific title. Two years ago, Noynay took the said belt from previously unbeaten Chinese Pan Jinxiang by eighth round technical decision in Zhongshan,China. Last year, he returned to his hometown of Bogo and defended his WBO regional belt against Mexican Hector Garcia by majority decision. A few months later, he had another successful defense in Metro Manila by stopping China’s Zhang Qixiu in eight rounds.
Noynay is ranked number seven by the WBO while Ogawa is at number eleven. Noynay doesn’t like talking about a world title fight just yet. But he is aware that a win will move him closer to a shot against the current WBO junior lightweight world champion, Jamel Herring of the U.S.
File photo – Joe Noynay after winning his fight against Satoshi Shimizu
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
Jong Seon Kang of South Korea survived an early knockdown to beat Filipino Tomjune Mangubat for the vacant WBO Oriental Youth Featherweight title in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
After a tentative start by both boxers, the 18 year old Korean was dropped by a counter hook in the second. The Filipino moved in for the kill but Kang weathered the storm and started to pressure Mangubat in the subsequent rounds.
Kang began to dictate the tempo, forcing Mangubat on the back foot. Mangubat tried to put some sanity into the situation with his long jab and one-two combos. But Kang had no trouble cutting off the ring and would rough up Mangubat every chance he got. The crowd enjoyed the heavy exchanges.
Mangubat wilted in the endgame; Kang’s pressure and volume punching sapped the Cebu-based boxer and the Korean did enough to earn the nod of two of the three judges, all from Thailand.
Mekin Sumon and Sawaeng Thaweekoon had it for Kang 96-93, Surat Soikrachang had it 95-94 for Mangubat.
This was the 22 year old Mangubat’s second career loss. He is now 11-2-1,9KO’s. He was considered a good prospect here in Cebu,Philippines simply because of his height, build and natural power. But last May, Mangubat suffered his first career loss against fellow Fiipino Arnel Baconaje in Mandaue City,Cebu for the WBC ABCO Silver featherweight belt by TKO in the eighth round. He bounced back last July with a unanimous decision victory over Joffrey Garcia in Liloan,Cebu. Kang was Mangubat’s first foreign opponent and this was also his first outing overseas.
Kang is now 10-0-2,6KO’s. He was 1W- 2D in his last three bouts but the win was for the vacant WBC Youth Intercontinental super featherweight title, which he earned by beating Chinese Qixiu Zhang by fifth round TKO in Xian,China.
This weekend was marked by a string of losses for Filipino boxers abroad. The most prominent happened in Las Vegas on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev.
In a battle of high profile hard-hitting prospects – Filipino Romero Duno was decked in 1:38 seconds of the opening round by Ryan Garcia of the U.S. for the WBO NABO and WBC Silver lightweight belts.
This was the second loss for Duno (21-2,16KO’s) while Garcia remained unbeaten at 19-0,16KO’s.
In another blitz attack, Xavier Martinez of the U.S. knocked out Filipino Jessie Cris Rosales in only 21 seconds in a Las Vegas card held Friday.Filipinos Recky Dulay and Elias Joaquino also suffered losses in that same card.
Filipino Esneth Domingo did snatch a win on the Kang-Mangubat undercard but Ponciano Remandiman lost. In Japan yesterday, Filipinos KJ Natuplag and Eranio Semellano lost to heir Japanese opponents.
Photo - Jong Seon Kang of South Korea during the weigh-in
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CHONGQING,CHINA- Wengfeng Ge of China punched a shutout against Thailand’s Suriyan Satorn in front of a sold-out crowd inside the Yubei Stadium. Satorn could not match Ge’s speed and volume punching and kept getting tagged with clean hits to the head as the fight progressed.
Ge staggered Satorn in the sixth with a quick uppercut and again in the end of the round. But the Thai showed his heart and durability and even caused facial swelling on Ge in the eighth round. But Ge continued to box well, thwarting the Satorn’s efforts for a late miracle.
The judges scores – Michelle Ng (Macao) – 120-108, Edward Ligas (Philippines) – 120-108 and Mekin Sumon (Thailand) – 119-109. The referee was Surat Soikrachang of Thailand.
Ge (12W-1,6KO’s) was awarded the WBO Global flyweight title. He returned to the win column after suffering his first loss against Filipino Giemel Magramo last January in Suzhou,China, in a fight where Ge had an eye injury. Satorn, also known as Kompayak Porpramook, is a former WBC light flyweight world champion. He drops to 60-8,41KO’s.
This was the second time Ge beat a former world title-holder after his unanimous decision win against former IBF flyweight champ Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand two years ago.
In the supporting main bout, China’s Chunlei Lin stopped Indonesian Galih Susanto in the fifth round for the WBC ABCO Silver superbantamweight title. After an uneventful first couple of rounds, things started getting feisty. Susanto was deducted a point in the fourth for repeated headbutts. Wild swings were exchanged. In the fifth, Lin knocked down Susanto,who instead of trying to get up, kept on complaining to Thai referee Mekin Sumon, who reached ten at the 2:59 mark.
Lin moved up to 10-3,3KO’s and won his first regional belt. Susanto drops to 17-10-1,4KO’s.
Supervising for the WBO was Asia Pacific VP Leon Panoncillo while Damrong Simakajorboon supervised the WBC bout.
In the undercards – in the female match-up, Jianping Ouyang (China) beat Charimae Salvador (Philippines) by TKO in the fifth. Ouyang scored a knockdown in the third and in the fifth, Salvador continued to receive hard punches prompting the stoppage.
Ruidong Zhou won by TKO at the start of round six against Xiong Xiao, DianXing Zhu beat Detao Wu, who did not answer the bell for the fourth round and Wen Song Liu won by unanimous decision against Peng Huang 40-36 on all three judges’ cards.
This card was supervised and sanctioned by the Professional Boxing Commission of China.
Photo – Ge Wenfeng awarded the WBO Global flyweight title
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2,21KO’s) has arrived in the United States for his November 2 title defense against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1,15KO’s).
The Filipino southpaw will make the eighth defense of his title in Carson, California. The September rankings of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has Rodriguez ranked only at number 14 but there is interest in this fight simply because of Rodriguez’s last fight in June when his opponent, fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta, collapsed in the ring after the fight was stopped in the tenth round. Orucuta had emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. Six weeks later, Orocuta was reported to be awake and showing signs of neurological improvement. This will be Rodriguez’s first shot at a world crown.
Chief trainer and manager Joven Jimenez told this writer in a short chat that Ancajas is ready and they are on target with his weight. He trained in relative isolation for more than three months in a Philippine Navy facility in San Antonio, Zambales
“We trained for the full twelve rounds,” Jimenez told this writer, “But if the opportunity comes, we will go for the knockout.”
Ancajas’ last defense in May was a one-sided demolition of Japanese Ryuichi Funai in Stockton, California.
Not to look past Rodriguez, the 27 year old Ancajas is in search of a career defining superfight. There has been a lot of interest in the 115lb division for the past two years due to the ‘Superfly’ fight cards. But Ancajas, just like his countryman Donnie Nietes, has been outside looking in.
The other organizations have fine champions, the WBA has Khalid Yafai of the U.K., Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada has the WBC belt and is widely considered to be the division’s top dog and Japanese Kazuto Ioka has the WBO crown after Nietes gave up the title early this year.
Ancajas travelled to Thailand in October of last year hoping for a showdown against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who was then the biggest name in the division. But Estrada beat Sor Rungvisai (Wisaksil Wangek) by unanimous decision in their rematch last April.
There has been a lot of speculation as to who Ancajas should fight next. Securing a big fight is another story.
Top photo of Jerwin Ancajas on his arrival in the U.S. c/o Joven Jimenez
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU, PHILIPPINES- Carlo Demecillo and Jonathan Francisco battled at a blistering pace but in the end, it was Demecillo’s edge in power that was the deciding factor.
They immediately had heated exchanges after the opening bell. Francisco tried to match Demecillo’s punch output. But in the third Demecillo drove in a right to the body that froze Francisco for a second.
He was able to suck it in and regain his bearings but in the fourth a hail of head and body shots sent Francisco down on the canvas. He was still on his knees doubling in pain when Referee Tony Pesons reached the count of ten.
Demecillo is the reigning WBO Oriental Youth bantamweight titleholder. He moves up to 14-5-1,7KO’s while Francisco drops to 10-13-1,4KO’s. This was a non-title bout while Demecillo’s handlers are looking forward to a possible title defense in his next bout.
In the main supporting bout, Clyde Azarcon (16-3-1,6KO’s) returned to the won column with a third round knockout win over an overweight Gary Rojo (9-14-1,5KO’s). Azarcon dug in to Rojo’s ribs sending him down with Referee Nic Banal reaching the count of ten at the 53 second mark of the fourth.
This fight was a rematch of their draw last February in Cebu City. Azarcon also rebounded from his first round knockout loss to Japanese Ginjiro Shigeoka in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout in Tokyo.
Rhonvex Capuloy fought through a painful left arm to beat Jeffrey Stella by unanimous decision. Capuloy complained of pain from his shoulder in the second and had difficulty throwing his left. But he insisted on continuing the fight. He was able to use the arm again in the fourth and piled up enough points to convince the judges. Scores – William Manus – 58-57, Noel Flores – 59-55,Arnel Pasion – 58-56.
Elmer Naason beat Mark Anthony Rotilles, who decided not to answer the bell for the fourth round when he suffered leg cramps and Kevin Smith Nemenzo sent Marvin Campo down twice in the second round to prevail by TKO.
This card billed as FIGHT NIGHT III was presented by Big Yellow Promotions. It was held Saturday at the covered court of Sabang, Danao City,Cebu.
Photo – Carlo Demecillo with trainer Christopher ‘Pingping’ Tepora celebrating their win in Danao City
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU,PHILIPPINES – Carlo Demecillo, the reigning WBO Oriental Youth bantamweight titleholder, will figure in a non-title contest against Jonathan Francisco in the main event of a five bout card set at the covered court of Sabang, Danao City,Cebu.
Demecillo (13-5-1,6KO’s) weighed in at 117 lbs while Francisco (10-12-1,4KO’s) stepped on the scales at 118 lbs during the official weigh-in held at the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Region VII office Friday morning.
Last June, Demecillo beat Junrel Jimenez in a torrid all-Cebu battle for the WBO regional belt by majority decision. Last year, Demecillo had a draw against another local attraction, Arthur Villanueva, who has lost in three world title challenges. Francisco is on a three fight losing streak but two of those were against high quality fighters – Jade Bornea and Froilan Saludar.
The main undercard will feature Clyde Azarcon (15-3-1,5KO’s) vs Gary Rojo (9-13-1,5KO’s) which is a rematch of their hard-fought draw last February in Cebu City. Azarcon weighed 105 lbs but unfortunately Rojo came in at a shocking 113lbs. He was ordered to lose more weight and will be penalized by being made to wear heavier gloves on fight night.
Azarcon will also be looking to bounce back from his first round knockout loss to Japanese Ginjiro Shigeoka in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout in Tokyo.
There will be three more undercard matches – Rhonvex Capuloy (124lbs) vs Jeffrey Stella (125lbs), Elmer Naason (136lbs) vs Mark Anthony Rotilles (138lbs) and Kevin Smith Hermoso (116lbs) and Marvin Campo (115.5lbs) are set for their pro debuts. This card presented by Big Yellow Promotions is billed as FIGHT NIGHT III. It will be held Saturday October 19 and opening bout starts at 7:30PM.
Photo – Jonathan Francisco (left) and Carlo Demecillo during the weigh-in.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO number 15 ranked junior lightweight Xiao Tao Su of China will face Campee Phayom of Thailand on November 23 in Shenzhen, China. Su (11-1,6KO’s) will be defending his WBO Oriental title for the first time. Last August, Su delivered a stunning opening round TKO win over Japanese Shota Yukawa. Aside from winning the regional belt, his performance had fans buzzing at ringside.
Su staggered Yukawa early and it was only the ring ropes that held the Japanese up. Su pressed the action until a powerful right decked Yukawa hard prompting the stoppage.
Last April, Su won the vacant IBO Oceania-Orient junior lightweight belt by second round knockout against Thai Attanon Kunlawong in Haikou,China. The 22 year old Su’s lone loss was by unanimous decision to countryman Lei Jiang in Jinan,China last year.
The 22 year old Phayom (18-4-2,11KO’s) will get his third crack at a regional title. Three years ago, he was knocked out by Chinese contender Sun Xiangxiang in the second round in Nanning, China in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout. Last August, he faced another Chinese boxer, Lunjun Zhao in Thailand for the WBO Oriental Youth belt but the fight ended in a draw. Since that draw, Phayom racked up two wins against countrymen Wasan Chaisuk and Nikhom Hongthong.
The fight card will be held at the Shenzhen Bao’an District Sports Center. The non-title undercards will feature unbeaten up and comers Xiaokang Song (2-0) of China vs Forlando Calderon (3-0) of Indonesia. There will be two China vs India match-ups - Xiwei Yang vs Vikash Dahiya and Haiyun Duan vs Manish Chaudhary, and the all-China four rounder between Guangzhou Chen and Chenghong Tao.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr.
It is hard to believe that the Philippines, a country that has produced professional boxing world champions on a regular basis, has not yet won an Olympic gold medal. Two Filipino boxers have delivered with a silver medal but in those two occasions, Filipino fans cried foul and felt they were robbed.
Anthony Villanueva won for the Philippines its first Olympic silver medal when he advanced to the gold medal match of the 1964 Tokyo Games. He lost to Stanislav Stepashkin of the Soviet Union in a keenly-contested final in the featherweight division with the judges going 3:2 in favor of the Soviet fighter. My search for archived articles for that bout yielded one fight report by Ricky Llanos of the Manila Times which stated that 7000 fans booed the decision. Historical reports also state that the result was disputed by Ring Magazine founder Nat Flesicher, New York Herald Tribune’s Jesse Abramson, Peter Wilson of the London Daily News and the renowned columnist Red Smith.
Villanueva's father, Jose, won a boxing bronze during the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.
A Filipino boxer managed to stand on the winners' podium 24 years later when light flyweight category Leopoldo Serantes got a bronze in Seoul 1988 and followed by another light flyweight bronze courtesy of Roel Velasco in Barcelona 1992.
Roel's brother Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco reached the finals of the light flyweight class in the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta but was once again, the victim of questionable scoring.
Mansueto Velasco's opponent was Bulgarian Daniel Petrov Bojilov. The entire Philippines was in a festive mood that night knowing the gold medal was finally within reach. Mansueto Velasco is pound for pound the best amateur boxer produced by the Philippines. But the nation fell silent when on live television all the points that apparently should have been credited to Velasco were being awarded to Bugilov instead in the opening round. Despite the electronic open scoring used by the AIBA, a boxer was seen on live TV earning points by getting hit.
Filipino sportscaster Ron delos Reyes, who was covering the bout on television helplessly screamed on air: “It’s a robbery in Atlanta!”
Velasco lost by a score of 19-6. He retired after the Olympics and became a TV comedian regularly appearing in local sitcoms.
What was more tragic was the fact that the Philippines never won a medal in Olympic boxing since that ill-fated night. In Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 no Filipino boxer even entered the quarterfinals. It got worse after that, with only one boxer qualifying for the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games. In Rio 2016, light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez both lost in their first bouts.
The Philippine amateur boxing team fared better on the AIBA World Championship stage with Harry Tañamor winning two bronzes and a silver (2001, '03 and '07) and Rogen Ladon a bronze in 2015 followed by Eumir Felix Marcial's silver medal finish last month in Russia. He lost in the finals to Russian Bakshi Gleb 5-0.
Marcial also won a gold medal in the AIBA World Cadet / Junior Championships (15-17 years) in 2011. The 23 year old Marcial could very well be one the Philippines’ best bets for another Olympic medal.
In the women’s side, from 2005 to 2014 there were a host of world championship bronzes won by Gretchen Abaniel, Mitchel Martinez, Alice Kate Aparri, Josei Gabuco, Annie Albania won a silver in 2008 until Gabuco finally won a gold medal in the light flyweight category in 2012.
Nesthy Petecio won a silver in 2014 before winning the featherweight gold last October 13 in Russia where she beat hometown bet Liudmila Vorontsova by a 3:2 decision. Her aggressiveness paid off in a tight contest with 3 judges – Australia (30-27), Korea (3027) and Ireland (29-28) – giving Petecio the nod, while judges from Japan (30-27) and Argentina (29-28) had it for the Russian.
Women’s boxing became part of the Olympics in 2012. There were only three weight categories allowed – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. Unfortunately, Gabuco, the best female boxer from the Philippines is a light flyweight. However, for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the welterweight and featherweight classes have been added to the women’s side. That would be good news for the 27 year old Petecio.
The bad news on the men’s side is that the light flyweight class, where the Philippines got its last three Olympic boxing medals, will not be part of the Tokyo Games.
There was controversy regarding who will run boxing in the 2020 Olympics. It was reported last May that the controversial AIBA was stripped of its right to host the Olympic boxing tournament.
Qualification will be tough for the 8 weight divisions for men and the aforementioned 5 for women. The Qualifying tournament for the Asia-Oceania region will be held in Wuhan, China on February 3-14, 2020.
There are six slots for Asia-Oceania in the women’s 51kg division and 4 slots in the four heavier categories. In the men’s side, there will be six slots from flyweight to lightweight, five slots from welterweight to light heavyweight and four slots in the heavyweight and super heavyweight classes for Asia-Oceania.
Boxing is sport that has been embedded in Philippine society. It would be fitting that in the Manny Pacquiao era or the so-called Golden Age of Philippine Boxing, the elusive Olympic gold will finally be won.
Photo – Nesthy Petecio (left) and Eumir Felix Marcial
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.
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.