By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Vic Saludar of the Philippines is preparing for the first defense of his WBO world minimumweight title on February 26 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. He will face the number two ranked contender Masataka Taniguchi.
The 25 year old Taniguchi (11W-2L,7KO’s) moved up the ranks when he won the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title in the 105 lb division by unanimous decision against Filipino Joel Lino in Bangkok, Thailand last November. Taniguchi has seen action twice in the Philippines. In 2016, he knocked out Joey Bactul in two rounds in a fight held in Maasim, Sarangani. Then a year later, he stopped Benjie Bartolome in one round in Makati City. Other Filipinos on his win column are Dexter Alimento, Vincent Bautista and Reymark Taday.
The 28 year old Saludar (18W-3L,10KO’s) will be making his second straight trip to Japan. He took the title in Kobe last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka by unanimous decision. Saludar decked Yamanaka in round seven with a hard right hand that turned the tide of what started as a close fight. Two of the three judges actually scored it even after round six.
Saludar also sensed it was close. “It was only after I knocked him down in round seven that I thought I could win.” Saludar told this writer in an interview one month after the fight, “Still it was a tough fight all the way.”
“He kept targeting my body,” Saludar added,” I knew that was their plan, but I was ready.”
In his first trip to Japan, Saludar lost in his first world title attempt on New Year’s Eve 2015, when then champion Kosei Tanaka stopped him with a body shot in round six.
Saludar is once again readying himself for another battle on the road.
“For the past weeks, Vic has been sparring with Dave Apolinario and Jaysever Abcede. Next week, Joey Canoy will be added as sparring partner.” Saludar’s Promoter Kenneth Rontal told this writer.
Apolinario is an unbeaten flyweight prospect with a 9-0,6KO’s record while Abcede (18-8,12KO’s) captured the WBA Asia flyweight title last year by knocking out in two rounds Thai Yutthana Kaensa in Bangkok.
Canoy (14-3-1,7KO’s) had to settle for a no contest in an IBO world title fight in South Africa last December when defending champion Simpiwe Konkco suffered a cut due to a clash of heads and the fight was stopped in round four.
“He is doing well in training,” Rontal added, “He will be prepared with whatever Taniguchi will bring. He will just have to stick to the game plan.”
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
There are no hard and fast ways to assess a boxing prospect. We usually look first for speed and power. But as the fighter’s career moves forward, we examine the quality of his opponents.Then, we look closer at his reactions during a fight. How did he respond to being cut or hurt? Has he really been tested?
Making a list of promising fighters can be both difficult and enjoyable. In a boxing country like the Philippines, you can be sure there are a lot of boxers competing for attention.
These are just a few raring to make some noise in 2019:
ROMERO DUNO (18-1, 14KO’s) – he comes from the talent rich Sanman Gym of Gen.Santos City. His advantage over the other up and comers is the television exposure he got when he was signed by Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. It all started with his second round knockout win over Golden Boy prospect Christian Gonzalez in Los Angeles.
Five of Duno’s last six bouts were held in the U.S. He continues to improve under the tutelage of former WBC light flyweight champ Rodel Mayol. Duno is scheduled to face India’s Kuldeep Danda in Pasay City, Philippines this February 9.
The Sanman Gym also boasts of Reymart Gaballo, who won the WBA interim bantamweight title last year. They suffered a major disappointment on home soil with the TKO loss of Randy Petalcorin against Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado in their fight for the vacant IBF light flyweight title. The Sanman group is still looking for that elusive regular world title. Duno continuing to fight under the banner of Golden Boy could make that dream a reality.
CHRISTIAN ARANETA (17-0, 14KO’s) – very few fans noticed his upset TKO win against another world ranked Filipino, Jessie Espinas in 2015. Last year, his bone-chilling twelfth round KO of former world title challenger Jerry Tomogdan was also not televised and witnessed by a handful of fight fans in Mandaue City, Cebu.
Araneta doesn’t have an extensive amateur background. His defensive deficiencies are compensated by his uncanny Arturo Gatti-like ability to recuperate. He suffers from a lack of television exposure and has not seen action abroad.
He does have raw power which is obviously a factor why his handlers in the Omega Gym of Cebu are eyeing a world title shot. His current ranking as a light flyweight – WBO number 11, WBC number 10 and WBA number 9.
JEO SANTISIMA (17-2,14KO’s) – fighting under the banner of ALA Promotions leads to more media and TV coverage in the Philippines. But it also means meticulous scrutiny from the fans and pundits.
Santisima is being tagged by the veteran boxing writers in Cebu as having the tools to be the next Donnie Nietes. That is a very high bar, considering Nietes’ body of work. But just like the four-division champ who has been on top for almost twelve years now, Santisima is a low-key but solid boxer.
Three years ago, Santisima had a notable TKO win against countryman Marco Demecillo, who at that point in time was still considered a dangerous puncher here in Cebu. He also had an eye catching TKO against Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in 2017 and beat Mexican Victor Lopez by unanimous decision last December.
The WBO ranks Santisima at number 10 and he holds the WBO Oriental junior featherweight title.
The other ALA contenders to watch are Albert Pagara – who is still rebuilding after his TKO loss to Cesar Juarez – and KJ Cataraja, who just captured his first major ranking belt last November.
CARL JAMMES MARTIN (11-0,10KO’s) – the Ifugao rising star is set for his Metro Manila debut on February 16 against Thai Petchorchae Kokietgym. Martin has fought foreign foes in his home province winning regional belts with the WBC, WBA and WBO. His fights have been shown live on social media but has yet to be tested against higher level opponents.
He has a fan-friendly all-action style and could wind up becoming a big name if he gets more fights on television.
Martin is the number 10 bantamweight contender of the WBO and ranked number 14 by the WBA.
JOE NOYNAY (16-2-1,5KO’s) – he was an underdog when he won against the previously unbeaten Chinese rising star Pan Jinxiang in Zhongshan,China by technical decision in the eighth round last December 2017. He scored two knockdowns against Pan and took the WBO Asia Pacific Youth junior lightweight title after the fight was stopped due to a worsening head-butt inflicted cut on Noynay.
Noynay’s resolve was tested last year in his hometown of Bogo,Cebu.Promoter Bebot Elorde brought in Mexican Hector Garcia who pushed Noynay to his physical limits and treated the sell-out crowd to a memorable ring war. Noynay got a majority decision win and defended against another Chinese boxer Zhang Qixiu five months later in Pasay City. Zhang was stopped in eight rounds.
The fight in Bogo is the yardstick of Noynay’s present level. He showed heart and toughness. His handler’s will have to match him this year with boxers who will be useful in his continuing development. Noynay is currently ranked number 11 junior lightweight contender by the WBO.
GIEMEL MAGRAMO (23-1,19KO’s) – his victory against one of China’s highly regarded prospects, Ge Wenfeng propelled Magramo to be ranked as one of the top ten flyweights in Ring magazine. Both were ranked in the top ten by the WBO with Ge holding the International title and Magramo the Oriental belt.
Magramo relied on pressure and volume punching and the fight was halted at the end of the tenth, with Ge’s right eye closed shut.
Prior to his win in Suzhou,China, the boxer handled by Johnny Elorde was seen in a local televised fight, stopping Thai Petchorchae Kokietgym in three rounds on the undercard of the IBF world light flyweight title bout between Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado and Filipino Randy Petalcorin .
He is ranked number five by the WBO but he is still a few fights away from being ready to challenge the world champion Kosei Tanaka of Japan. Magramo, who comes from a boxing family, is also ranked by the WBC #5, IBF#9 and WBA#8.
There are Filipinos involved in upcoming crucial eliminators:
Countrymen MICHAEL DASMARIÑAS (28-2-1,19KO’s) and KENNY DEMECILLO (14-4-2,8KO’s) will engage in an IBF bantamweight eliminator in Singapore this March 29.
Dasmariñas already has an IBO world title. He got a lot of attention when he knocked out Karim Guerfi of France last year in the fourth round. He will be going for one of the four major titles for the first time. Demecillo’s career hit a road bump when he was outpointed by another Filipino, Mark Anthony Geraldo two years ago in Hong Kong. But he got a big win in Russia last year, knocking out Vyacheslav Mirzaev in five rounds.
ASTON PALICTE (24-2-1,20KO’s) will face unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez (20-0-2,13KO’s) in California on January 31 for the right to face WBO junior bantamweight champion Donnie Nietes.
Palicte already fought Nietes and the fight ended in a debatable draw. This was the second all-Filipino world title bout held last year.
ROBERT PARADERO (17-0,11KO’s) was supposed to be involved in an eliminator last December for the WBO minimumweight title held by fellow Filipino Vic Saludar. The fight didn’t push through but Paradero remains the number one ranked WBO contender at 105 lbs.
It will also be interesting to see if Filipinos who came up short in their world title bids can bounce back. Joey Canoy had to settle for a no contest while the likes of Mercito Gesta, Vince Paras, Froilan Saludar, Randy Petalcorin and Mark Anthony Barriga lost.
GENESIS SERVANIA (32-1,15KO’s) remains a potent force. He lost by unanimous decision to WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in 2017. But Servania was signed by Top Rank and bounced back with three straight wins.
He is scheduled to fight unbeaten Carlos Castro (21-0,9KO’s) of the U.S. in California on February 10.
Photo – top row left to right – Romero Duno, Christian Araneta, Jeo Santisima, bottom row left to right – Carl Jammes Martin, Joe Noynay, Giemel Magramo
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Jhack Tepora joins a short but undesirable list of Filipino world titleholders who got stripped of their belts for stepping on the scales overweight. The WBA interim world featherweight titlist was supposed to make his first defense of the crown he won last July in Malaysia against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega.
News from Las Vegas stated that Tepora weighed 131.5lbs, 5 and a half pounds over the division limit. The fight was reported to be cancelled and on boxrec, Hugo Ruiz , his challenger from Mexico, was now matched with another Mexican, Alberto Guevarra.
The future of the undefeated Tepora (22-0,17Ko’s) is now in limbo considering his reported conflict with Omega Promotions, the company that promotes him in his home island of Cebu.
In 2009, Marvin Sonsona lost his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior bantamweight crown when he checked in over the limit in his first defense against Mexican Alejandro Hernandez. The fight held in Canada pushed through and ended in a draw.
Sonsona’s reign lasted only for two months and 17 days, a record for being the shortest stint as a world champ in the Philippines. He would never get a world title shot again. Numerous stories came out regarding his lack of discipline which eventually led to long periods of inactivity.
In 2014, Johnriel Casimero came in over for the light flyweight limit for his fourth defense of his IBF title. Casimero entered the ring an ex-champ but easily knocked out Colombian Mauricio Fuentes in Cebu City. Casimero also had a falling out with Omega Promotions and would go on to win another IBF world title at flyweight. Two years ago, fighting at 115lbs, he lost in an IBF eliminator to countryman Jonas Sultan by unanimous verdict in Cebu City.
Casimero is scheduled for a fight this February 16 in Metro Manila against Japanese Kenya Yamashita
In 2017, Marlon Tapales couldn’t make weight in Japan in is first defense of the WBO bantamweight title against Japanese Shohei Omori. Tapales was still allowed to fight after being stripped and stopped Omori in 11 rounds.
The almost nine month interval since beating Pungluang Sor Singyu for the title was cited as the reason why Tapales was overweight. Another hiatus followed and Tapales saw action again last September in Manila knocking out Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in a non-title contest.
Even Manny Pacquiao was not spared of this fate. In 2009, when he was still a flyweight, Pacquiao lost his WBC crown at the scales in Thailand. He was too drained in trying to make weight he lost by third round TKO to Thai Medgoen Singsurat.
At that point in time, no one would have predicted that Pacquiao would go on and win seven more division titles and become an all-time great. Pacquiao will face off against Adrien Broner to defend his WBA welterweight title. Tepora will miss his big chance to fight on the undercard.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino featherweight Jhack Tepora (22-0,17KO’s) spent most of his boxing career in relative obscurity. He was a five time national amateur champion and was recruited to fight for the Philippine national team. But after a couple of overseas tournaments, he turned pro without any fanfare on a small fight card held at the Cebu Coliseum in 2012.
Prior to winning the WBA interim featherweight world title, he was rarely seen on television. Things started to change for him three years ago when Omega Promotions decided to be more aggressive in marketing their fighters with their “WHO’S NEXT?” boxing series. Still, his name escapes the casual fight fans even in his native island of Cebu.
It was his highlight reel knockout of South African Lusanda Komanisi last September 22,2017 in East London, South Africa that made fans sit up and pay attention. This was followed by another big break, a spot on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia last July. His impressive ninth round TKO win against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega earned him not just the WBA belt but also showed that he can deliver under the media scrutiny in a nationally televised fight.
Tepora’s back to back stoppage wins earned him a contract to fight under Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. But it has been six months since the Ortega fight. Tepora has not seen action since then and there has been turmoil behind the scenes. Last October 11, 2018, an article published in the Cebu Daily News quoted Tepora as saying he was disappointed with the ouster of his brother Jerald “Jingjing” Tepora, as one of the trainers of the Omega Gym. Tepora’s other brother Christopher “Pingping” Tepora, also left the Omega Gym a few years ago.
This was the back story when it was announced that Tepora would face Hugo Ruiz (38-4,33KO’s) of Mexico on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner mega-fight in Las Vegas.
Tepora reunited with his two brothers while training for his January 19 fight. But the question remains how the behind the scenes discord with the Omega management will affect his preparation for his biggest bout.
Brother and co-trainer Jingjing assured this writer that everything is fine and Jhack is well prepared.
“We have trained for two months. Now all he needs is to lose the excess weight.” Jingjing said, “He has sparred with James Bacon, Allan Villanueva and RJ Anoos.”
Jingjing missed the trip to Las Vegas due to visa issues. Pingping was with Jhack on the plane ride to the U.S. last January 11.
Whether these Filipino sparmates will be enough for his preparation remains to be seen. The 25 year old southpaw has had weight issues in the past; sportswriters here in Cebu noticed he tends to bloat in between fights. But he had no trouble making the 126 lb. limit in his bout against Ortega.
Ruiz is no pushover, having previously held the WBA interim bantamweight and WBC super bantamweight titles. He lost to quality Japanese boxers Koki Kameda and Hozumi Hasegawa.
Many have wilted under the hot lights. Tepora will have to show once again he can handle the pressure. This time it will be on one of the biggest venues in professional boxing.
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.
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.