With the year coming to a close we think we may have seen the final female upset of the year on Friday morning in Thailand as the unheralded Kledpetch Lookmuangkan (6-2, 1) scored the biggest victory of her career. Facing former world title contender Kanittha Kokietgym (20-6, 7) few would have given Kledpetch much of a chance but the 21 year old managed to out work Kanittha to take the decision.
Whilst no one would Kanittha unbeatable going in to this contest she had only lost to notable fighters including Naoko Fujioka, twice, Shindo Go, Irma Sanchez and Jessica Chavez, 4 very good fighters who have all proven to be world class. If Kledpetch could follow in their footsteps then she may well become one of the great female fighters from Thailand.
Staying in Thailand, albeit on a different show, South Korean Hee-Jung Yuh (10-2, 4) did what was expected of her and stopped Thai novice Lookkwan Sithpracha (0-2), taking just 4 rounds to get the job done. Yuh, fighting on foreign soil for the first time, really should have faced a tougher foe than Lookkwan, though with the potential of Yuh to fight a more notable name next time out we will forgive her, for now.
When we think of the top Asian female fighters right now it's fair to say that no one matches Naoko Fujioka, the stand out Asian and one of the top pound-for-pound female fighters on the planet.
One of the chasing pack behind Fujioka is Japanese Flyweight Shindo Go (13-2, 8). Go, real name Megumi Hashimoto, showed why she is so highly regarded earlier today as she made the first defense of her WBC Flyweight title.
Defending the belt she took from Renata Szebeledi 7 months ago Go made a great start using her boxing skills and aggression to fight off Mexican challenger Judith Rodriguez (6-6, 4). Rodriguez, despite her record, proved to be a fighter unwilling to just lose and she tried to fight back and made life very difficult for Go with her Latino spirit keeping her competitive through the bout despite being behind on the cards.
Despite mostly looking in control Go did get stunned at one point as she faced a rare struggle. She managed to see it out and went on to take the unanimous decision by a closer than expected 96-94 scoreline across the board.
Whilst the cards did reflect a very close bout it was hard to see anyway in which Go was to lose the bout. She was in control for large portions and even seemed to be robbed of a knockdown early on, a knockdown that would have made the scores very clear on the cards. Thankfully though the right fighter won and few will complain about the result, despite the spirited effort of Rodriguez.
On the undercard of a South Korean prospect show there was a victory for Eun-Sun Lee (2-0) who, for the second time in her career, overcame fellow Korean Bo-Ra Kim (0-2). When the women first met, back in March Lee won a shut out over Kim, this time however she really struggled with Kim and only just escaped with a majority decision.
On a show headlined by a scrap for the WBC female Minimumweight title there were several female contests. Not only did fans get the chance to see Mari Ando (11-6, 5) claim the WBC Minimumweight title with a decision over Jasseth Noriega (16-3-1, 5) but they also got the chance to see 4 other female contests, which made the bulk of the 6 fight show.
The card opened with Emi Kitawaki (3-4-1, 1) taking a 4 round decision over Misaki Hirooka (2-3) in a very competitive and closely scored contest. This was later followed, after 2 male bouts, by the return to action of Nao Ikeyama (13-3-1, 4). The 44 year old Ikeyama, who had been inactive for more than 3 years, managed to take a 6 round majority decision over Mika Iwakawa (3-2-1, 1). Interestingly, given Ikeyama's break from action, this was Iwakawa's 3rd bout of the year.
The card also featured 2 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. Of those one went the distance, as Tamao Ozawa (6-1, 2) defeated Thailand's win-less Tanyakorn Sor Thammajak (0-4) via a clear decision. The other 8 round bout lasted just 107 seconds as Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (4-1-1, 3) swiftly took out the debuting Supa Tor Narong (0-1).
Female fighters are often looked down up on in a number of Western countries due to their lack of action and competitiveness. This Saturday however fans in Japan got the chance to see some female boxing at it's absolute best as Mari Ando (11-6, 5) and Jasseth Noriega (16-2-1, 5) put on an absolute war over the WBC Minimumweight title.
The WBC title, which had been vacated earlier this year by Naoko Fujioka, may have previously had a dominant champion but this time around we had a competitive bout and one that fans, worldwide should try and get their hands on.
Noriega started incredibly fast and her intentions were clear. She was going to try and break down Ando or make sure that she was winning rounds so clearly that the judges were forced to give her them. Through the first 4 rounds it was was clear the Mexican wasn't traveling around the world to just lose.
By round 5 the pace was taking it's toll on Noriega and from then on Ando began to come back into the bout. Having shown her trademark toughness the Japanese fighter found the ability to go to the well once again as she began to let loose.
Although Ando was beginning to fight back it was an uphill battle for the former WBA Atomweight champion who clearly in a hole at the half way mark.
The tenacity of Ando seemed to have done enough to make it close. As we reached the final bell it was obvious neither fighter had managed to dominate the fight but both had made a genuine claim to the world title. Thankfully for Ando fighting at home seemed to sway the judges as she took a very narrow split decision with scores of 96-94, 95-94 in her favour, against a score of 96-92 in favour of Noriega. Had the fight been in Mexico we imagine Noriega would have got the decision proving that home advantage really can be the difference between a win and a loss.
For Ando this result sees her just her second win in 5 fights following losses to Ayaka Miyao and Su-Yun Hong. For Noriega however this was her 3rd successive loss.
As well as the trio of world in Osaka on Tuesday there was also title action in Tokyo, albeit it a female title fight.
The bout, which saw Saemi Hanagata (8-4-2, 3) fighting Yuko Kuroki (9-4-1, 5) for the OPBF female Minimumweight title, unfortunately ended in a draw which saw the title remaining vacant.
The fight was close through out and there was little shock that the scores were all close with both fighters taking a 77-76 card in their favour, though the draw was ruled by the third card which scored the bout 77-77.
Interestingly this was a rematch between two fighters who fought back in June. On that occasion Hanagata came out on top taking a decision over Kuroki, this will feel somewhat like revenge for Kuroki, despite not claiming the win.