On Sunday we get the 4th OPBF title fight in less than a week and on paper this one is most one sided though from where we're sat we actually imagine this could be just as tough and just as good as some of the others.
The reason that this one, for the OPBF Minimumweight title, looks so one sided is because it matches an unbeaten fighter, Ryuji Hara (16-0, 10), against a man with almost as many losses as wins, Donny Mabao (21-20-1, 4). Unfortunately though records in boxing can be rather misleading and deciding that a fight is won or lost on paper alone can be a major mistake.
Hara's unbeaten record certainly has some "good fortune" to go alongside his solid and very credible skills.
Those skills of Hara's were on show very early in his career as swiftly rose to 12-0 (10) and scored notable victories over Shuhei Ito, Ken Agena and Yokthong Kokietgym. Since then though Hara as gone 4-0 and really struggled in all 4 of those subsequent bouts. He went from fast rising star in the making to a man who may never quite fulfil his early potential, in fact he may never even come close.
Whilst those last 4 bouts of Hara's have come at a higher level than his first 12, and have all been 10 rounders with the Japanese title up for grabs he's actually looked a lot worse than he did in his first 12 bouts. A clear example of that was he second bout with Shuhei Ito. After winning the first by 5th round TKO Hara only just managed to retain his Japanese title in a rematch. In fact all 4 of the Japanese title fights that Hara has been involved in were competitive with many viewing him as a lucky champion and as a fighter who perhaps lacks durability, he has certainly been down enough times for us to wonder just how tough he really is.
In terms of skills Hara is genuinely really good, but his power doesn't appear to have carried up to Japanese title level, his durability is questionable at at 5'1" he's also a short fighter even in the Mnimumweight division. Thankfully though he does have good movement, solid speed and can punch equally well with both hands. He's also part of the Ohashi stable which also includes Akira Yaegashi, Naoya Inoue and Ryo Matsumoto who all offer top quality sparring and will have helped bring out the best in Hara.
In Mabao we have one of those Filipino fighters, like Rey Loreto and Richard Pumicpic, who posses a misleading record. The first thing you notice is of courses the number of losses. Unfortunately for Mabao he suffered a lot of them in either controversial bouts, such as his loss to Ronald Castrodes in 2008 or his loss to Kwanthai Sithmorseng in 2009, or to very good fighters such as Wisanu Kokietgym, Noknoi Sitthiprasert, Paipharob Kokietgym, Merlito Sabillo, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and Ryo Miyazaki.
When you look at that second list of names it's no wonder Mabao has been picking up losses, it's a whose who of Asian boxing including world champions, top contenders and a veritable list of top level boxers. Mabao hasn't got an awful record due to losing to weak opponents but has a bad record due to the sheer number of quality fighters he has faced.
Not only has Mabao been losing to notable names but in recent fights he has also been beating them. He has actually scored very notable victories over both Mateo Handig, famous for beating Katsunari Takayama, and Florante Condes, the former IBF world champion. They may have been back a few years but they proved that Mabao has the ability and he is tough having only been stopped 3 times in 42 fights,
With his toughness and experience we actually view Mabao as having a great chance to upset Hara. The one thing holding back the Filipino though will be his lack of power. With just 4 stoppages in 42 fights it's to see him hurting Hara, though we do view him as a fighter capable of dragging Hara into a very tough bout, certainly tougher than the records would indicate.
Whilst Hara did defend the Japanese title 3 times, we think this could well be his toughest test and anything but a convincing win could see him dropping down the world rankings. Considering Hara is in the top 5 according to the IBF, WBA and WBO this could be a major opportunity for Mabao and a possible huge fall from grace for Hara if her under-performs in what we're sure will be a really tough day in the ring.
(Photo courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
The PABA may not currently have a working website but they do have some of their titles on show this coming Friday. One of the two PABA title fights on Friday sees the Light Flyweight title on the line as Thailand's Samartlek Chaiyonggym (14-4, 5) meets Filipino journeyman Donny Mabao (21-20-1, 4).
Samartlek, pictured, is the better known of the two men. Aged 29 he has been a professional since 2010 and holds several noteworthy victories, including decisions over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Muhammad Rachman. Despite those two big victories however Samartlek is probably better known for his losses to Yuki Chinen, Denver Cuello and Randy Petalcorin, all of which came on foreign soil.
Although somewhat unknown Mabao has had an interesting career and faced a genuine whose who of who. This has seen Mabao sharing the ring with Wisanu Kokietgym, Kwanthai Sithmorseng, Paipharob Kokietgym, Merlito Sabillo, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, Ryo Miyazaki, Mateo Handig and most recently Florante Condes. Whilst he has lost to most of those men he is actually on a 4 fight winning streak with victories over Handig and Condes.
Unfortunately for Mabao he has several issues going in to this bout. Firstly he has been inactive since December 2012, when he upset Condes, and second he is 0-9 on the road. He has never won outside of the Philippines. With this fight taking place in Pathum Thani, Thailand it's hard to see him changing that run, especially considering he lacks power with just 4 stoppages in 41 bouts.
Although not a big hitter himself Samartlek will feel that his home field advantage as well as the fact he has been active more recently than Mabao will see him through to victory.
Having fought 4 times in 2013, including bouts for the interim PABA Minimumweight and WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight title Samartlek will be rust free and confident, even more so when you consider he's on a 6 fight winning streak. Despite this we believe the fight will be very competitive, much more so than the records of the two men would have you think. With that in mind we'd favour Samartlek to claim the title in a hard fought decision.
On the same card we expect to see a PABA Super Featherweight title fight featuring Terdsak Kokietgym in what looks like a much more predictable contest.
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.