We have mentioned the sub stories involved in this fight, the key one of which is the fact that this is a rematch. It was Rivera, in 2015, who took the unbeaten record of Cabalquinto in a notable domestic upset. That upset saw Rivera putting himself on the boxing map, as he iced Cabalquinto with a devastating left hook, and left Cabalquinto's career in tatters. There was some debate that a headclash lead to the KO but the ruling was that left hand did the fight ending damage in what was a wild fight. For Cabalquinto the bout is a chance to avenge that loss whilst Rivera will be hoping to prove the win wasn't a fluke.
Since their first bout Cabalquinto has struggled to get much going in terms of career momentum. he scored two wins over limited opponents earlier this year but was beaten in July in Singapore by Qudratillo Abduqaxorov. Prior to the loss to Rivera it seemed almost nailed on that Cabalquinto was just a fight or two away from a major title fight, and was likely moving towards a vacant OPBF title fight, likely with Iwabuchi.
In the ring Cabalquinto has shown some promise with nice hand speed and a fun aggressive mentality that sees him letting his hands go happily. Sadly his defense has been flawed through his career and his footwork looks very plodding, in fact at times it looks like he totally forgets to even use his feet and just lets his punches go whilst standing still. That footwork seems to limit his power and although he has a 60% KO rate he doesn't appear to be much of a puncher. His flaws haven't been a major problem against domestic level opponents on the whole, but the lack of defense did prove to be his undoing against Rivera.
As for Rivera he has gone from beating Cabalquinto back in November 2015 to becoming the Oriental champion and looking like a genuine monster in the process. Whilst the win over his countryman was his first big win his February victory over Shinya Iwabuchi was an eye opening beat down in which he bullied Iwabuchi like no one before him, and forced Iwabuchi into retirement after a 7th round TKO. That performance was nothing short of impress from Rivera who really made a statement, and likely scared off invites back to Japan for a while.
In the ring Rivera is a bully. He's an all action, aggressive machine who gets in the ring and looks for a war with his power having been the telling factor in his last 6 bouts, all stoppages in a combined 17 rounds! Interestingly however he has been stopped twice, though both of those bouts were below the Light Welterweight limit, with one of those coming on his debut back in 2011 against Jeffrey Dumaguit. Those losses could mean Rivera hasn't a great chin or, alternatively, that he was simply a kid who hadn't developed into the man he is now, or maybe even that he was weight drained.
Whilst Cabalquinto might feel the first bout was a fluke for Rivera we have been convinced by recent results that Rivera is a monster with power and a really physical style. That will again be his key here and we simply feel that his strength and power will be too much for Cabalquinto, though we would be surprised if Rivera could finish off his countryman as quickly here as he did in their first meeting.
The 140lb division goes by many names, including “Light Welterweight”, our preferred option, “Junior Welterweight” and “Super Lightweight”, it also has has a history of having great fights and some explosive fighters.
On February 11th we potentially get another great fight in the division as the OPBF title is put on the line for a fight between Japan's exciting Shinya Iwabuchi (26-5, 22) [岩渕 真也] and Filipino banger Al Rivera (14-2, 12), who trade blows for the vacant title. For Iwabuchi it'll be his third shot an OPBF title, having previously been a Japanese national champion, whilst Rivera will be fighting in his first OPBF title bout, though has previously held the PBF 135lb title.
From the records it's clear that both men can bang. Iwabuchi sports a 71% KO rate with stoppages against the likes of Romeo Jakosalem, Jimrex Jaca, Valentine Hosokawa, and Koichi Aso, who was stopped inside a round by Iwabuchi. Rivera on the other hand holds a 75% KO rate, including a notable but controversial KO win against countryman Adones Cabalquinto. Between them they have only heard the final bell on 9 occasions*.
Of the two men it's fair to describe Iwabuchi as the more proven. The 30 year old Japanese southpaw has shared the ring with the likes of countryman Keita Obara and South Korean slugger Min Wook Kim, who beat beat him in OPBF title fights, as well as the stoppage victims mentioned above. Rivera however is the younger man, at just 22, and will be riding high in confidence after his win over Cabalquinto last November.
Not only is Iwabuchi the more proven but he's also naturally the bigger and tougher. His only stoppage loss came to the monstrously hard hitting Obara, whilst he dug in for 12 rounds against Kim, whilst Rivera has been stopped twice, including an opening round defeat on his debut at 130lbs.
Given that both men like to throw heavy shots, and can be hurt, we really don't see this one going the distance. Instead we suspect we'll see a short but exciting fight, with the visitor being the early aggressor, Iwabuchi soaking up the aggression before firing back in rounds 4 and 5 eventually stopping a tiring Rivera in the middle rounds of a thrilling fight.
The exchanges will be violent and the action intense. Don't miss this one when it's shown on Fuji TV later in the month.
*Iwabuchi holds a technical decision win.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.