A new week begins and looking back over the last 7 days we some good, some bad, and some bloody ugly. It's a week that will last long in the memory of some fans, be forgotten easily by others and really fade into a blur for others. Some fighters really shone, other covered themselves in nothing bis disgrace, and an extra layer of fat. Sometimes this sport does it's self no favours, however in a week like this we really did have more than enough positives to go with the bad.
1-Ryosuke Iwasa put in career best performance
On Saturday night Ryosuke Iwasa put together one of, if not the, most accomplished performance of his career to dismantle former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales. Iwasa, who turned professional with expectations, has been inconsistent through out his career but here he really showed what he could do and twice dropped the rugged Tapales. Through the fight Iwasa was busy, accurate, heavy handed and really, really impressed. Too many times in his career he has been focused on his power but this was an all round performance from a fighter who may, finally, have found his recipe for sustained success. Fingers crossed he can replicate this type of performance next time.
2-Kosuke Saka steam-rolls Sueyoshi
From one inconsistent fighter to another! Kosuke Saka really showed what he can do as he dominated the usually tricky Masaru Sueyoshi to become a 2-weight Japanese national champion. It was only around 8 months ago that Saka had been stopped in 2 rounds by Joe Noynay, but here he looked fantastic, aggressive, powerful and confident. He pressured Sueyoshi from the opening bell and refused to give Sueyoshi any space before dropping him in round. Saka's performance was the antithesis to how Andy Ruiz Jr fought Anthony Joshua, and showed how a pressure fighter should cut the distance.
3-Akhmedov lands a bomb
We have a few great shots this week, but the pick of the bunch was the right hand from hell that Sadriddin Akhmedov landed on Jose Antonio Villalobos. The 21 year old Kazakh really is one of the best prospects in world boxing, and whilst he's not getting much attention, outside of his native Kazakhstan and adoptive Canada, he is going to become a big star in the near future. A knockout like this one is the sort of thing he will be built on when people start putting together a highlight reel of him.
We're really not sure what the idea behind throwing Miguelk Gonzalez into a world title fight was, especially not on neutral soil. If it was to give Chilean fans something to get excited about it would have made more sense to have got him to fight at home. As it was they sent him to Mexico to get battered by Jerwin Ancajas. The win did Ancajas no favours, and was a third loss at a high level for Gonzalez, who should not be fighting in this type of company. Time for Ancajas to step up and face world class competition and for Gonzalez to be matched competitively, rather than jumping from soft touches to world class.
2-G+ go replay crazy
We love the G+ broadcasts, usually. This weekend however much of the broadcast was spent showing replays. Ususually the shows are smooth, and run from one fight to the next but this weeks it seemed to drag, horribly at times, with too time spent showing replays. The match ups on the under-card weren't good enough, they didn't last long enough, and they should, ideally, have had 1 more bout on the card. A poor show from G+, who consistently deliver fantastic events.
3-Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz, Eric Molina and Tom Little
The biggest boxing event of the weekend was held in Saudi Arabia, and while we could easily make a list of complaints about the card, it's venue, lack of atmosphere and the drug cheats on it, we could have potentially enjoyed the show had more than half the card actually looked like they wanted to be there. Dillian Whtyte and Andy Ruiz Jr came into the ring looking like human-whales, Eric Molina looked like a man wanting a way out and Tom Little looked like he didn't belong in the ring with his opponent. From the 5 Heavyweight bouts on the show only 1 genuinely delivered top level action between two men who were well matched and in shape. What was supposed to be a festival of Heavyweight was a showcase of the over-weights.
1-Noynay Vs Ogawa
Man head clashes aren't nice are they? Joe Noynay and Kenichi Ogawa shared headbutts in 5 rounds than fighters should ever share in a bout. Both were left badly cut, the run had little pools of blood on it, especially in Noynay's corner, and the styles never came close to gelling. This was ugly, bloody and a truly horrific mess. The worst thing is that we had really high hopes for this bout, which had two fighters who are a similar level fighting in a bout that promised a lot. Just one of those bouts that didn't click, sadly.
We're back to Andy Ruiz and really, if this is how a fighter with 3 world titles comes into the ring we really need to wonder why he even bothered. He might as well have polished the titles, handed the belts back to Joshua, and gone to take a seat in Burger King. Absolutely pathetic effort, and to the admit he didn't trainer, well we all have eyes Andy, we know you didn't train. Really embarrassing for boxing. Whilst Joshua fought the perfect game plan things were made easier for him by facing someone who had simply given up caring.
UKAD, or UK Anti-Doping, really did themselves no favours this week. Their statement about "clearing" Dillian Whyte for an "adverse sample" left more questions than answers, and really throws into question their entire purpose. They are supposed to enforce rules, push and push responsibility for clean sports. Instead it seems very much like "strict liability" is only applied sometimes and either their testing process is flawed or they don't trust it. To clear a fighter a day before they are scheduled to fight does their reputation no good at all, and looks more than coincidental. Whilst UKAD might have cleared the fighter they have sullied their own reputation in the process and unless things change they may end up getting a reputation similar to that of RUSADA, who proved to be of little use to the concept of clean sport. They have left the door open to too many questions, given too few answers, and we really need to wonder if they are fit for purpose.
Whilst the Whyte test situation only came to light due to Thomas Hauser we need to wonder how many similar adverse tests don't come to light, how many charges are dropped, and how many tests are simply put down to contamination. For an organisation to push clean sport they need to have the financial backing needed to ban fighters, they need a quality drug testing system, and they need to take responsibility of their own findings. What we saw from UKAD was toothless, and not for the first time it appears they don't have the power to fully do their job. There needs to be a massive overhaul of the drug testing system, and a massive financial boost to allow them to do what they need to do. There needs to be transparency and so many changes to an organisation which is losing respect almost by the month.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The last 7 days have been relatively quiet in the world of Asian boxing, with little in terms of noteworthy shows, but with December looming there is a lot around the corner, a lot to be excited about, and potentially some late contenders for Fight of the Year.
1-John Riel Casimero
Although not always the most professional of fighters, or the most consistent, John Riel Casimero showed what he could do, again, as he travelled over to England and stopped Zolani Tete to become the new WBO Bantamweight champion. Casimero, now a 3-weight world champion, immediately called out Naoya Inoue and seems like the sort of fighter who genuinely wants to fight the best, rather than just talk about fighting the best. It was great to see Casimero win and even better to see him actively calling out Inoue.
2-Korea is live and kicking
It may have been obvious, given the low level of the fights, but there was a card in Korea in the past Saturday. More notable than that card was the announcement of a quadruple header in January, a title fight in late December and the full details of Hyun Mi Choi's unification bout with Maiva Hamadouche. Korean boxing is still not it was, and probably never will be, but this past week has proven their is still life left in the country's boxing scene and fingers crossed that will grow and grow in 2020.
3-Taiwan has Talent
Whilst Korean boxing seems to be growing again after years of inactivity we're just as excited about the activity we saw in Taiwan this past Saturday....or rather the activity of two Taiwanese fighters. Whilst the wins by Daisuke Sugita and Ryoichi Tamura are the two which got the attention of fans watching the show we loved the look of Yi Hung Chiang, who looks so excited, and Kai Ting Chuang, who looked so polished for a debutant. Taiwan might not be a country known for it's boxing scene but with these two emerging through the ranks we are excited to see what happens with Taiwanese boxing over the coming years.
1- Haasan Mwakinyo Vs Arnel Tinampay
Oh where do we start here? The bout had issues before the opening bell, with the fighters having their gloves changed before a punch was thrown, the online feed went down, the bell rang early a number of times and the judging all made this feel very amateurish. Given that the Tanzanian boxing market is relatively obscure it may well be a good idea for them to bring in officials from abroad to try and help them develop their know how. If they bring in some Japanese judges and for example, like Dubai has for their shows, things could be a lot smoother. If they can smooth off some of those rough edges there is real potential for Tanzania to become a notable scene. Sadly though images like the ones from Friday night are more likely to do harm than good.
2- JR Magboo
The Filipino fighter was far too happy to take his loss on Saturday against Yongqiang Yang for us to say anything positive. Had this been a his first loss that would have been one thing, but this is was his third stoppage loss in 4 fights, all in round 2. It very much feels like he will give it a go for a round, if that fails he will just accept a loss when he has an excuse to go down. Inb his last 5 fights he has either scored a win in the first round, or accepted a second round loss. In his 19 fights prior that 5 fight stretch he had never been stopped, and had been very competitive with the likes of Jhon Gemino and Jhunriel Ramonal.
3- The officiating of Tamura Vs Yor
Whilst we loved seeing the two Taiwanese youngsters show what they could do the officiating of the Ryouchi Tamura Vs Moensaku Yor fight, we believe by referee Yuji Fukuchi, left a lot to be desired. Tamura was never in any trouble, at all, but he should have been warned for hitting Yor when he was down. This wasn't a one off blow from Tamura but instead several shots when Yor was down. We understand the referee not disqualifying Tamura, but he could, or rather should, had admonished the Japanese fighter.
The balls on Andres Gutierrez must be massive! The Super Featherweight, or should that be Welterweight, missed weight to face Oscar Valdez, by 11lbs. He wasn't just above the divisional limit, but was above the limit 2 divisions higher! From what we understand Bob Arum kicked him out of the hotel and sent him packing back off home. The bout for Valdez was saved in the end by Adam Lopez, though in reality Valdez almost slipped up against a late replacement and no one won out of this whole situation.
Over the last few years British referees have become a huge joke. They've earned a reputation for early stoppage, when it favours the promoter, carrying fighters back to the corner, like we saw when Nathan Cleverly fought Sergey Kovalev, and allowing some fights to just continue for no reason, like Shannon Briggs being allowed to go 12 rounds with Vitali Klitschko. This weekend it was Steve Gray's chance to embarrass himself. He did everything he could do give Zolani Tete some help, holding Tete up, letting Tete go on when he should have been stopped, several times, and was so busy pushing Casimero to the neutral corner that he couldn't hide what he was doing. The reality is that, for Tete's health, this should have been stopped after the first knockdown. Allowing it to continue was serving the South Africa no favours. Very, very poor refereeing that could have ended up with much worse results.
(Images courtesy of boxingnews.jp and boxmob.jp)
What a bizarre week we had in boxing last week. We had some truly amazing fights, some great announcements, one decision that left a disgusting taste in the mouth of fans, and a cheater finally put in his place. Oh and we got arguably the most homo-erotic poster in boxing history...boy has this been a weird 7 days!
1 - Can Xu contines to show he can do!
We need to start this by talking about someone who has been such a great ambassador for Asian boxing this year, Can Xu. A year ago he was an unknown outside of Asian fight fans but today he sits as the WBA Featherweight champion, with 2 defenses behind him, 3 great wins in 2019, and as one of the revelations of the year. Those who saw him struggle past Enrique Bernache in September 2018 will hardly believe the same guy has gone on to beat Jesus M Rojas, former Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo and the unbeaten Manny Robles III. If a fighters year is to be marked solely by how far they've come in a year then Can Xu is up there for Fighter of the Year. As only the third Chinese world champion it's faint praise to celebrate him as China's greatest ever professional fighter, but it really is getting hard to argue. This charismatic young action fighter is someone we should all be celebrating.
2 - Hajime No Ippo Tournament 20th anniversary tournament
From one great fighter to a great tournament! The Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament began last week with 3 quarter-final bouts and 2 of those were breath taking fights. For those who have a Boxing Raise subscription and missed them we need to advise you to check out Tsuyoshi Tameda's war with Jae Woo Lee and the up and down battle between Shungo Kusano and Qiang Ma. These might not have been high profile contests but my god they were something special. Even the third quarter-final, between Daisuke Watanabe and Koshin Takeshima, was worthy of a watch even if was the worst of the bouts by far. Who ever managed to put this tournament together deserves a huge round of applause for making a tournament that has already provided 2 incredibly bouts, and looks likely to give us more in the next round!
3 - Jhon Gemino
The "Disaster" struck again with another upset. The hard hitting Filipino might not have a dangerman's record but this was his third upset in 12 months, all in different countries, and it's becoming clear that if a prospect isn't legit he will be more than a handful. With double digit losses to his name he's not some unbeatable fighter, but he's crafty, rugged and has power in both hands, and will be someone who is always a danger. As fans of seeing "opponents" come to win we can't help but love Jhon Gemino and his willingness to travel for fights against unbeaten hopefuls....and show up more than a handful of those unbeaten foes.
1 - The poster for Dangan 231
We've seen some poor posters in our years of Asian boxing but maybe the poster for Dangan 231 is perhaps the very worst. We really have no idea what those behind the poster, excuse the pun, were thinking here and it's taken what was a great fight on paper and made the poster a bigger talking point than the fight. Had the fighters been either clothed or completely silhouetted out this might have worked, but with both guys being naked it's a poster that has given us more questions than answered. Still we guess it's gotten more people talking about the show than we would have had anyway...even if no one likes the poster.
2 - NHK's coverage of the All Japan Championships
We understood scheduling can be a problem but this year's All Japan Championships were bizarrely televised by NHK who showed some of the bouts on BS1, some on BS1's sister channel and then more on BS1. We are pretty sure that a year ago it was all on one channel as a coherent broadcast, but this year it split by a sumo tournament. We understand sumo is huge in Japan though surely with NHK having so many channels they could have shown all of both events with no real issue, using NHK General, BS1 and BS Premium.
3 - Felix Alvarado's illness
We were all looking forward to the planned WBC/IBF Light Flyweight unification bout between Kenshiro Teraji and Felix Alvarado, a bout that had the potential to be a late FOTY contender. Sadly however Alvarado was forced out of the bout due to illness. It's hard to hold the illness against the fighter, but it's still a bad to see the fight being cancelled. Obviously we wish Alvarado a speedy recovery, and seeing his twin, Rene, win a world title at Super Featherweight in a big upset on Saturday was certainly a positive for the Alvarado in what has been a very mixed week for them.
1 - The poster for Dangan 231
We need to return to that damn poster for our first ugly....like seriously what was the idea behind it? It's not just bad, it's down right laughable. Honestly look at it! How can anyone take the fighters seriously with that poster being used to promote the fight...
2 - Matchroom's show at the weekend
We don't really want to use this weekly section to complain about one promoter or another but unfortunately for Matchroom boxing they are making it hard to not criticise them. The £24.95 price for Anthony Joshua is bad, but this past weekend's show was just baffling from start to end. They had the best fight of the show on Facebook, for a few thousand viewers, on a geo-locked feed. They had Anthony Fowler fight someone who made for an awful stylistic match up, in a really, really ugly fight that did neither guy any favours. They then had a main event marred by some of the worst scorecards of 2019. If Matchroom were hoping to sell their product ahead of their up coming PPV this did the opposite. It made it seem like they had no idea about bout placement on a card, it looked like their match makers struggle to make Fowler look good, honestly have him in with a fellow come forward fighter not a mover! And it looked like the judges were certainly told to lean one way in their scoring of the bout. Overall a terrible advert for what Matchroom should have seen as a big chance to sell themselves.
3 - Luis Nery
The drug taking, weight cheating son of a gun struck again! And this team people had had enough. Nery once again missed weight, forcing the cancellation of a world title eliminator against Emmanuel Rodriguez. Unlike in the past, where fighters, promoters and world title bodies have all accepted Nery's unprofessional Rodriguez said no. Rodriguez didn't sell out for a bump in his pay packet, he didn't bend over to Nery and his team and essentially told Nery to fuck himself. Somethings others should have said earlier. If this was a one off then fair enough but unprofessional behaviour is coming a constant with Nery who should be given an actual punishment after this mishap on the scales.Well done to Emmanuel Rodriguez for standing his ground, and hopefully he'll be rewarded with a WBC title fight, as it wasn't him the forced the eliminator to be cancelled.
(Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/GoldenBoy Promotions)
The last 7 days has been relatively quiet in Asian boxing, though that doesn't mean we've not found some things that were good, bad and ugly....even if we did need to look a little further afield than usual for one of our ugly's this week!
1-Iwasa Vs Tapales is official!
This wasn't a particularly big surprise, given it has been rumoured for a while and had been all but set, but it was still nice to see an official announcement being made this week by the Celes Gym to confirmed the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title fight between Ryosuke Iwasa and Marlon Tapales. We are really excited about this one and think that the styles of the two men will make for something a little bit special
2-Hasanboy Dusmatov's debut
After weeks of frustration, rumours, speculation, and changes, we finally saw 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov make his professional debut. The talented Uzbek stopped Jesus Cervantes Villanueva in 2 rounds on Saturday night in Mexico and he is now off the board with a win. The performance was a long way from flawless, but there was a lot to like and we're really excited to see where he can go in the pros, and how quickly he'll get there. He's a genuine talent, but given how frustrating it was to see him make his debut there has got to be some worries that his career will be a very frustrating one to follow.
It felt like a throw back weekend with a rare Indonesian televised show on RCTI. It feels like it has been far, far too long since Chris John was in action and there was a real reason to watch a show from Indonesia but this week was had one thanks to Ongen Saknosiwi and Daud Yordan. The bouts weren't the best, but they were both fan friendly and easy to watch. They showcased the biggest name in Indonesian boxing, and one of the rising stars and the match ups were both compelling from a stylistic point of view. This was great for Indonesian boxing, and fingers crossed RCTI do began to show case more boxing from Indonesia. The country has talent, but their boxing scene needs investment, money and effort.
Whilst we have just praised RCTI we also need to complain about them. They showed the entirety of Daud Yordan fight with Michael Mokoena live, but they missed the first 6 rounds of the co-feature. It would have made so much sense to have broadcast every round of Ongen Saknosiwi's bout with Marco Demecillo. Yordan is the star of Indonesian boxing, still, but the need for the new generation is there and they could have helped promote Saknosiwi here had they shown his entire bout. The 6 rounds we got were great, but it feels like a genuine mis-step by the broadcaster who could have shown all 12.
1- Sky Sports Box Office price for Ruiz Vs Joshua II
Not an Asian boxing issue as such, but an ugly issue for boxing in general is the abuse British fight fans are getting at the hands of Sky Sports Boxing office. The service announced that rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua will cost £24.95. That's higher than an average Sky Sports Box Office show, and suggests the bout really is all about money. The bout has been widely criticised for where it's taking place, in Saudi Arabia, and with an increase in PPV money along side a monster site fee it really does leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Things like this push some people away from the sport, and others to illegal streams. A terrible move by all involved, who appear to want another pound of flesh from boxing fans.
2-Masashi Noguchi's continued losing run
One of the feel good stories of the week was Takuya Yamaguchi picking up his 4th win in 17 fights. We love Yamaguchi and the way he has continued to fight on despite set backs, making up for his limitations. Sadly though this weeks win for Yamaguchi came against a man who is now more than 3 years removed from a win and has now lost 7 in a row. That is Masashi Noguchi, who challenged for the Japanese Lightweight title in December 2016, losing to Shuhei Tsuchiya, and has suffered 6 straight losses since. There now, surely, needs to be someone in his team telling him to hang them up before he gets hurt.
(Image courtesy of Olamsport, Matchroom Sport)
So we've just had the latest week of fights and whilst it's been a great week overall we've decided to look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the last 7 days of Asian Boxing.
1-Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire - in the Ring
We all know that this wasn't the match up that fans were really pining for in the final, but my god did it every deliver, over-deliver, and then deliver again. What was supposed to be a mismatch in favour of the monster ended up being the bout that allowed him to answer far more questions than anyone would have anticipated, and gave us a FOTY contender in the process. This was brilliant, and despite the injuries Inoue suffered I doubt either man would want to go back in time and undo what they did here.
2-Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire - out of the Ring
Whilst the fight it's self was amazing we also need to talk about the out of the ring situation with the fight. From the WBSS draw in 2018 to fight, and afterwards in fact, the two men showed nothing less than full respect to each other. They were classy in the build up and classy afterwards. Inoue notably let Donaire borrow the Muhammad Ali trophy to show his children and Donaire seemed genuinely disappointed to learn that Inoue had suffered several facial fractures. The bout proved that boxing doesn't need fake beef to sell a fight if the fight is good enough. The fact this fight was trending around the world shows what happens when fans actually want a fight, rather than being sold something they aren't too bothered by. Promoters need to learn from this!
3-Takuya Watanabe Vs Taiki Minamoto
It wasn't all about the WBSS final, and the fact that we got an 8 round thriller between Takuya Watanabe and Taiki Minamoto was an added bonus on Saturday. This bout, which was a Japanese title eliminator, was absolutely brilliant and had it come on nearly any other week we'd have been raving about it more in this article. This is again what happens when well matched fighters face off, and have a reason to give their all. Whilst this is tucked away on Boxing Raise, for those who missed it, it again shows the incredible quality of Japanese domestic match ups and was another brilliant eliminator, coming only weeks after the Minimumweight tear up between Masataka Taiguchi and youngster Kai Ishizawa.
1- Kenya Yamashita pulls out of God's Left Tournament
The much anticipated God's Left Bantamweight semi-final between Seiya Tsutsumi and Kenya Yamashita was cancelled the night before the weigh in when Yamashita was taken to hospital for "poor physical condition", code words for dehydration caused by trying to lose weight. We really though Yamashita Vs Tsutsumi was going to be special, so to see the bout cancelled at such show notice can't be regarded as anything but bad.
2-Japanese TV ignores Shokichi Iwata vs Alejandro Cruz Valladares
In the US DAZN subscribers had the chance to see the 6 round Light Flyweight bout between Shokichi Iwata and Alejandro Cruz Valladares, yet Japanese didn't. Whilst we understand the main Fuji TV broadcast not showing the bout due to time constraints, they actually went over the scheduled time limit with what they did show causing some issues with recording and downloading software, we don't understand why WOWOW didn't show it on Saturday. Iwata is a huge talent, this was a fun fight, and this should have been a great chance to show what the 23 year old youngster can do. A real missed opportunity.
3-Silem Serang pulls out
We're not 100% what happened with Silem Serang but he pulled out of a bout on Saturday causing a cancellation in the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura. We were looking forward to seeing what Koura was going to be like after being beaten up and battered last time out, in a huge upset loss to Lito Dante, but it now seems like we may need to wait until 2020 to see the once touted Koura in action again.
1-Alejandro Rochin and Robert Hoyle
We suspect this feature will be full of issues with judges going forward, though we don't imagine many judges will leave us scratching our heads as much as Alejandro Rochin and Robert Hoyle have this week. Rochin, some how, had the Nordine Oubaali Vs Takuma Inoue bout a shut out at 120-107, a score that nobody else could possibly have come to if they were watching the bout. Hoyle on the other hand had Naoya Inoue beating Nonito Donaire by a single point, 114-113, essentially needing the 11th round knockdown to take the win on his card. Thankfully both judges got the right winner, but both of those cards are just awful, and both judges should be forced to explain how they got to their tallies.
2-Jon Jon Jet gets taken out
In an ugly, yet beautiful moment, we saw previously unbeaten Indonesian prospect Jon Jon Jet lose his unbeaten record and suffer one of the most visually stunning KO losses of 2020. The then 10-0 (8) Jet was left out cold on the canvas by Aussie puncher Luke Boyd (now 8-0, 8). Whilst it wasn't great to see Boyd celebrating before we knew Jet was fine, it's hard to complain too much about the Aussie. What was ugly though the length of time Jet was down, and we do need to wonder if he will ever be quite the same fighter again. This really was up there with the most nasty KO's we've seen this year.
It took until Tuesday for Sky Sports to confirm they were airing the WBSS final bout, which was taking place just 2 days later! Whilst we know the bout it's self was on an awkward day for UK fans, with Thursday being a typical work day, there was no excuse to not give fans a genuine chance to watch it. The fight should have been signed and sorted the previous week, at the latest, giving many fans the required 1 weeks notice to request a day off work to watch the bout. It was great for Sky to pick it up, but given they had covered the previous WBSS final and Inoue's previous bout, it very much feels like they shot themselves in the foot and reduced the amount of fans watching. It was also odd that they didn't manage to pick up the co-feature bout between Takuma Inoue and Nordine Oubaali.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces