One of those fighters waiting for a shot at the big time is Japan's Shingo Wake (17-4-2, 10), the current OPBF champion and a man who is ranked by all 4 major title bodies. At the end of February we see Wake back in the ring as he attempts to record the 5th defence of the OPBF title and take another step towards getting a long awaited world title shot. The man trying to destroy Wake's dreams is Filipino fighter Jimmy Paypa (16-2-1, 6), a man who was actually supposed to fight wake at the end of 2014.
Wake's road to where he is has been a relatively long one. For the first 6 years of his career he toiling some what and compiled a relatively disappointing record of 12-4-2 (5). Up to that point his most notable win was a decision over Jonathan Baat and he wasn't expected to achieve what his team had once hoped. Suddenly in 2013 however things began to click for Wake who upset Yukinori Oguni to claim the OPBF title and since then he has been on a role with 4 successive defenses, all by stoppage, with the most recent of those coming against Jaesung Lee in July of last year.
Wake's development was unforeseen by many though has seen him become better and better as he's become more confident and shown more belief in both his skills and his power. In fact it's the development of Wake's power which has been key with the fighter stopping his last 5 opponents, the same amount that he had stopped in his first 18 bouts as a professional.
For those who haven't seen the champion in action he is a talented sharpshooter and although his power has improved he is still slippery and sharp fighter capable of throwing both power shots and flicky combinations with out telegraphing. More frustratingly for opponents he does it from the southpaw stance which makes him even more tricky than he would be anyway.
Although we've followed Wake for a while the same cannot be said of Paypa who is, at just 21 years old, a very promising young fighter himself. In fact in the eyes of those who have seen him he should be undefeated with both of his career defeats coming very early and controversially. Sadly for those of us who didn't get to see him live the footage of Paypa is limited with much of it coming from very early in his career.
Since starting 2-2 in his career Paypa has run up 15 bouts with out a loss. Those 15 bouts, including a technical draw, haven't come against the best but they do include a very impressive stoppage victory over the teak tough Eric Barcelona as well as decisions over Marvin Tampus and the then promising Jason Redondo. Sadly however there are negatives to take from Payapa's form. Notably he has been fighting at a very low level leaving us to be unsure how good he is. Second he has been dropped twice in his last 5 bouts with both Cristian Abila and Gadwin Tubigon dropping Paypa early in fights before he fought back to beat them. He was also, sadly, limited to a technical draw against Tsuyoshi Tameda in his only previous bout in Japan, last May.
From watching early footage of a very young Paypa it's clear he had a lot of potential. He was sharp and looked like a genuine diamond in the rough. Sadly however we haven't managed to track down much in terms of recent footage. To us it seems however that his competition says more about him than any footage could and his handlers know that this is a big step up. We suspect it will be too big of a step, however we think Paypa will be back in a few years time and possibly fighting at the OPBF level again in the future.
We suspect that this isn't going to be Paypa's time isn't now and Wake will do to Paypa what he did with Oguni and show the different between a talented and promising “boy” and a developed, and highly skilled, “man”. Like Oguni however we expect Paypa to take his loss well and to develop into a much better fighter down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)