This weekend we get a number of really good looking bouts, though perhaps the best of them is hidden away on G+ in Japan, and isn't being fought for a world title. In fact the bout in question sees one fighter coming in with 9 losses from 43 bouts and another who has never been the 12 round distance and is “only” for an OPBF title. But there is potential for a genuine FOTY contender to break out, and for the fans at the Korakuen Hall to get another treat this year.
The bout will see OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) face off against a man dubbed “The Romagon of Okinawa” (The Roman Gonzalez of Okinawa), Daigo Higa (9-0, 9).
Like many Filipino fighters Diale has done things the hard way, he's not had things handed to him and has had to travel through his career with bouts in Thailand, Mexico and Japan. Not only has he travelled but he has faced some top fighters on the road, such as Wanheng Menayothin, Julio Cesar Miranda, Juan Francisco Estrada and Koki Eto. Bouts like those have resulted in Diale suffering 9 losses, 4 by stoppage, but he's proven an ability to be competitive with guys from 105lbs to 115lbs.
Higa on the other hand hasn't been protected, nor have the Shirai Gushiken Sports gym tried to protect his KO run. His first 4 wins were against limited opposition, but when he started stepping up he really did step up stopping decent Filipino's like Cris Alfante and then the promising Kongfah CP Freshmart in Thailand to claim the WBC Youth title. As the WBC youth champion he has recorded two defenses against decent Filipino fighters, including Renren Tesorio, and is now taking a logical next step.
In the ring Diale is a true veteran, in terms of experience, but at 27 is only coming into his physical prime. Yes there are years on the clock for the man who debuted almost a decade ago but those years don't seem to have done him much damage, despite an 8 round war with Koki Eto just over 2 years ago. Incidentally he is on a great run of results, winning his last 8 with 5 stoppages, and claiming the OPBF title last December. This will be his second defense of the title and potentially a chance to score a win over one of the most exciting prospects in world boxing.
Whilst Diale is a veteran with almost 300 rounds and 43 fights to his name Higa is the opposite. He's a 9 fight novice with just 30 rounds under his belt, he's a boxing baby and at just 20 years old he's a long way from fully maturing as a man, or building up his confidence as a person. Despite that he's a terror in the ring with an incredible output, heavy hands, intelligent shot selection and an improving, but still flawed defense.
In terms of technical skills Diale has those. He can genuinely box, he has criminally under-rated power, genuine guts and a real will to win. He perhaps falls short of world class in every category but he's one of those fighters who does almost everything very well, just comes up short at the higher levels. It's an unfortunate position to be but regionally he's a really hard fighter to beat and is 13-2 in the last 48 months, with the losses coming to world ranked fighters Eto and Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, in a controversial one in Thailand.
Technically Higa is flawed, he can be hit and his defenses, although improving, aren't great. That's a problem when you're a hyper-aggressive fighter. But Higa seems to be aware that his best defense is his offense and when that gets going he's a nightmare, swarming fighters with an endless assault of heavy and vicious shots to the head and body. It often seems like he has taken the in-ring spirit of his mentor, Yoko Gushiken from whom he has inherited the "Kanmuriwashi" moniker, and has given it a rebirth.
When they fighters get into the ring we suspect they will meet center ring. Higa looking to take the initiative and unleash his fire power, Diale looking to defense and reel off counters, making the most of the openings Higa will give him and he will give Diale plenty of them. If Higa can take the counters and continue firing back for 10 rounds we think he'll score a late stoppage. Diale however has his sneaky power and he'll hit Higa harder than the youngster has been hit before and if he can discourage the youngster there is a good chance he could turn this into a brilliant win and a genuinely great defense of his title. Either way, we're expecting this one to be the fight of the weekend.
The new year is really taking some time to throw a few good title bouts out, and sadly another less than exciting title bout takes place this coming Saturday as OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) defends his title against the highly unfancied Jonathan Francisco (8-4-1, 2), in what looks to be a monstrous mismatch.
The champion has almost all the key advantages and is rightfully considered to be the favourite.
Aged 27 Diale is a fighter who can already be described as a veteran with more than 40 bouts on his record. Those bouts have seen him compete around the globe, with fights in Thailand, Japan and Mexico, and against notable names, such as Rodel Mayol, Johnriel Casimero, Wanheng Menayothin, Juan Francisco Estrada, Julio Cesar Miranda and Koki Eto. His career has seen him compete at world level and although he has come up short against the top fighters he has, generally, been a perfect gate keeper with fighters who beat him proving to be world class.
In the ring Diale is an aggressive fighter with under-rated power and an intelligent boxing head. He's not the most gifted, he's not lighting quick and he's not explosive, but he's an intelligent boxer who knows his way around the ring and is gutsy when he needs to be.
Since losing to Koki Eto in June 2014 Diale has gone a very impressive 7-0 (5) and looks to be a fighter who is still improving, despite having been a professional for close to 10 years.
Whilst Diale is a proven gate keeper less can be said of Francisco, who lacks any wins of note and has lost to almost every notable opponent that he's faced. His best result did come last time, though that was a technical draw with Toshiyuki Igarashi, and perhaps his best win is a narrow decision over Jonas Sultan, albeit when both were very inexperienced. He has suffered losses to Jhaleel Payao and to Masashi Tada, among others, and really lacks a defining victory.
Not only does Francisco lack a notable win but he also lacks experience and has never been beyond 8 rounds.
The most notable advantages that Francisco has are his youth, he's only 23, his southpaw stance and a slight natural size advantage. Whether he can make the most of those advantages is yet to be seen though we suspect he'll not have the experience needed to cope with Diale's intelligence, nor will he be able to cope with Diale's combination of accuracy and power. As a result we're predict a late Diale stoppage, with the champion recording the first defense of his title with the win.
Last year we saw a lot of great bouts, one of which was an OPBF Flyweight title bout that saw Filipino Ardin Diale (29-9-3, 15) come up short against Koki Eto. The bout, which was one of the most dramatic bouts of the year and one of the biggest comebacks, left Diale feeling heart broken despite a great effort. To end 2015 he gets a second shot at the title as he faces once beaten domestic rival Renoel Pael (19-1-1, 9) in a mouth watering match up.
Of the two men Diale is the more well known. “The Jackal” has faced some of the best lower weight fighters of the last few years including Rodel Mayol, Wanheng Menayothin, Johnriel Casimero, Julio Cesar Miranda and Juan Francisco Estrada. Whilst he has come up short at the top level he has proven to be a genuine gate keeper and most of those who have beat him have gone on to either win, or challenge for, world titles.
In the ring Diale is a really talented boxer with a high level of skill and under-rated power. He's not an elite level fighter in any are, but a very capable one who seemingly makes a brilliant “gate keeper”. Sadly however he's short for a Flyweight, at just 5'3” and with 4 stoppage losses on his record he has proven that he can be stopped, however he has run up 6 successive wins, including 5 by T/KO, since his last loss, the one to Eto.
Whilst Diale has mixed at the top level the same cannot be said of the 25 year old Pael who has really only faced one notable foe, Thailand's Noknoi Sitthiprasert. In that fight Pael lost, though it was a split decision in Thailand which perhaps was a “dodgy” defeat. Sadly aside from that loss it's hard to get much from the opposition that Paekl has faced, which have mostly been against Filipino domestic opposition.
Although Pael's opposition has been poor he has shown a lot or promise and has claimed a national title and fought as high as Bantamweight. Sadly though there are a lot of question marks about how proven he is and that could well be a problem here as he takes a huge step up in class. What we do know however is that he's a fighter looking to take his first major opportunity. And break through from the domestic scene.
Whilst Pael does, on paper, have a better record in terms of numbers this will a huge leap up in class against a man who is proven at a much higher level. Whilst Diale hasn't scored a world level win he has shown the potential to do so and does hold wins against solid fighters, like Lolito Sonsona, Cris Paulino, Ryan Bito and Renerio Arizala. We suspect that Diale's experience at a higher level will be the difference here, though if Pael is as good as his record suggests then there is a chance that he could get the upset and prove himself as one to watch.
All too often in boxing fans over-look the smaller fighters despite how exciting they can be. Last year so one such over-looked but brilliant fight in Thailand as Japan's Koki Eto (14-3-1, 10) went to Bangkok and won a war with Thailand's very own Kompayak Porpramook for the WBA interim Flyweight title. The bout was one our favourites from last year and one of the most scintillating bouts of recent years.
Eto's reign as interim world champion didn't last long and less than 4 months after his victory over Porpramook he was beaten himself by Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep in what was his first defence. Like the Porpramook bout it was a ard one and will have added considerable miles to the clock of the all action Japanese fighter.
Almost 7 months on from the loss to Yodmongkol we see Eto returning to the ring and fighting against experienced Filipino Ardin Diale (23-8-3, 10) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Flyweight title, a bout that promises to be an all out war.
From the fights we've seen of Eto he's never gong to be a talented boxer. He is a warrior through and through, he comes to fights and will either win or go out on his shield in exciting fashion. In all honesty he is a perfect "made for TV" fighter but sadly doesn't appear to be getting much TV time.
In Diale we have a more experience fighter who has seemingly been around forever but at just 25 years old he is younger than his Japanese and has already fought at a higher level. In fact in 34 fights the list of notable names Diale has faced include Rodel Mayol, Wanheng Menayothin, John Riel Casimero, Julio Cesar Miranda and Juan Francisco Estrada, a very impressive list of opponents.
Although Diale typically comes up short against the best opponents that he faces he has proven to be a very credible fighter who combines toughness, heart and action. Just like Eto he is a very TV friendly fighter who comes to the ring to fight. Sadly he has been stopped 3 times, though all of those stoppages have come to world class fighters and and they have all come with Diale having given a good account of himself against opponents who looked bigger than himself.
With a pair of warriors we are bound to have a fire cracker here and we're actually very split on who we think will come out on top. Eto has home field advantage, though has never previously fought in a title fight in Japan, and has had a slightly longer training camp. Diale, who was a replacement opponent, is in the form of his life and has won 6 of his last 8, all by KO.
We, as a team, couldn't make a guess on the winner though we all agreed that this has potential FOTY written all over it and is very unlikely to go the scheduled 10 rounds. It has a war written all over it and we hope that it lives up to that potential. The winner is unlikely to progress to winning world titles, especially in the insanely difficult Flyweight division, but the fans are certainly not going to be disappointed by following either man after this fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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.