Last year we saw the emergence of exciting Mexican brawler Francisco Rodriguez Jr, a man who seemed set to be in the Fighter of the Year running until November when he was was held to a surprise draw by little known Filipino Jomar Fajardo (14-8-2, 7). For Fajardo that result was the best of his career and saw him become a “fighter of interest” to a number of Western fans who follow the lower weights.
On September 12th Fajardo will attempt to record another surprise result as he takes on OPBF Light Flyweight champion Jonathan Taconing (21-2-1, 18). As with the Rodriguez fight, Fajardo enters the contest as a huge under-dog and a man who expected to be blown away by a world class fighter, however he is also a man who know that he can shock better fighters.
Against Rodriguez we saw a determined Fajardo swinging for the fences from very early. The tactic seemed to surprise the talented Mexican who found it very hard to read the man dubbed “Wallopman”. Other than the draw with Rodriguez there is very little on his record, in fact he has lost 4 of his last 5, though it's clear that when he's on song he can be a real handful.
The name “Wallopman” is fitting for Fajardo who does appear to pack a serious punch, despite his record showing just a 29% (T)KO rate. The issue is that he doesn't have the skills to make the most of his solid power and he's also been fighting outside of divisions that he should be fighting at. In fact his last 4 bouts have all been above the Light Flyweight limit, with one of those bouts taking place all the way up at Bantamweight. At 108lbs however he is a handful and really could be trouble for those on the domestic stage.
Whilst Fajardo came to the attention of fight fans last year with a draw Taconing has had a different way to get attention. He should, really, have come to the fore back in 2012 when he fought the then WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook. Unfortunately however the heavy handed slugger found himself losing a very contentious technical decision to the Thai, who appeared to have a very lucky escape. Sadly for Taconing he's had to wait until this year to make his mark on the world stage, stopping Ramon Garcia Hirales this past April.
In the ring Taconing has all the traits of a fan favourite. He's teak tough, very heavy handed, comes to fight and although a bit crude he appears to have the ability to impose himself on any opponent at the weight. Aggressive, powerful and imposing Taconing looks like the type of fighter who will progress beyond OPBF level and in fact become a world champion in the near future. He will however be a fighter who needs to become a mandatory to get a shot as no fighter will willingly choose to step in the ring with him, which has really explained why he has scored so few notable wins thus far.
Coming in to this fight, as mentioned, Fajardo will be the under-dog and that's clear. Unfortunately he's no longer a “mystery man” and footage of him is out there. That footage may be his undoing and Taconing he's fighting a stylistically similar, but much better fighter. Given the styles this should be an enjoyable bout to watch, but a once sided one that ends with Fajardo being stopped, likely inside 6 rounds as Taconing takes his next step towards a world title bout.
One of the greatest things about the OPBF title is the fact that some of the matches ups are really world class and could effectively be world title eliminators. It may sound over-the top but we really do see some absolute belters made.
The next "world class" OPBF title bout takes place on March 25th and not only pits two world level fighters but also two Filipino's against each other in a battle that has real significance on both men, the world rankings and the OPBF scene.
This bout in question, for the OPBF Light Flyweight title recently given up by Naoya Inoue, will feature former WBC Light Flyweight title challenger Jonathan Taconing (17-2-1, 14), pictured, against recent IBF Minimumweight title challenger Vergilio Silvano (18-3-1, 10).
Of the two men it's Silvano who is probably fresher in the mind. His title challenger, late last year, saw him being widely outpointed by Japan's excellent Katsunari Takayama who literally boxed circles around the Filipino fighter. Whilst Silvano was made to look less than world class that had a lot more to do with Takayama who was genuinely sensation in the fight.
Prior to his failed world title challenger Silvano had been on an impressive 15 winning streak which had seen him winning the Filipino title and the WBO Oriental title, bot at Light Flyweight. Although his competition was no better than domestic level the 24 year old Southpaw had looked like a man likely to be a fixture on the world stage at some point and the loss to Takayama, whilst a set back, is unlikely to be his only world title fight.
Whilst Silvano was made to look second rate in his world title fight Taconing was made to look like the victim of genuine "BS" when he was controversially beaten by Kompayak Porpramook back in 2011. In that fight Taconing appeared to boss his experienced foe and cut him. Some how the doctor ruled a small cut, and we mean small, was enough to take the bout to the score cards which saved Porpramook with scores that failed to reflect the nature of the bout.
As with Silvano the loss in the world title bout snapped Taconing's unbeaten run of 10 fights. The loss, a hugely controversial one, was quickly forgotten and Porpramook would lose his title to Adrian Hernandez soon afterwards denying Taconing a chance for revenge.
Not only have both men lost in world title fights but both are, as mentioned, world ranked. Taconing is currently the WBC #3, WBO #10, WBA #15 at Light Flyweight whilst Silvano is the WBO #4 and IBF #8 at Minimumweight, in effect this is a major fight ignoring the regional title.
With what we've seen of the two men it's Taconing that has impressed us more. His fight with Porpramook was supposed to be a mismatch but the Filipino proved that he was world class and has speed, talent, bravery as well as genuine power. He may not by dynamite fisted but his shots aren't the type a fighter wants to take on a repeated basis and he has stopped his last 4 opponents, all Thai's in a combined 12 rounds.
It's unfortunate that Silvano was so clearly beaten by Takayama as it actually made Silvano look a lot worse than he is. In that bout he looked unable to deal with the movement or speed of the "Lightning Kid". Silvano is a better fighter than that though we do think that Taconing will grind him down in a genuinely exciting "must watch" OPBF fight.
For fans capable of getting to the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City we'd really advise you to go to this it could well be one for the ages and pure war between two men looking to get their second world title fight.
(Photo courtesy of boxrec.com)
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.