The multiple WBA titles do frustrate everyone in the sport, especially when the interim title is held by someone not even close to the level of the regular champion. All too often we don't get to see "regular" and "interim" champions face off, and show the difference in class between the today.
Today however we had the chance to see WBA "regular" female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] dominate her "interim" counterpart Irma Sanchez (30-8-1, 8) in a 1-sided and uncompetitive contest.
After only a few rounds the real question was whether Sanchez would hear the final bell, and not whether she would spring a major upset.
Sanchez looked like she meant business to begin with, getting her jab pumping out. it wasn't long however until Fujioka found her with a counter right hand, the a left to the body. From then on Fujioka began to take control of the bout, and forced Sanchez to fight the wrong fight, trading blows in an exciting second round. As the bout went on Sanchez became less and less competitive, being hurt in round 3 and being tagged repeatedly in round 6.
Through the final round Fujioka actively chased the finish, but Sanchez gritted it out and survived the 10 rounds, though would go on to lose a unanimous decision, with scores of 100-90 on all 3 score cards.
Interestingly Sanchez fought in the controversial "No Boxing No Life" gloves, the same make that Saul Alvarez wasn't allowed to use against Gennady Golovkin. We believe this is the first time the gloves have been used in a world title fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Korea fight fans had the chance to see WBA female Super -Featherweight Hyun Mi Choi (16-0-1, 4) [최현미] record her 6th defense, as she easily out-boxed Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-8, 4).
Choi, who boasted a 7cm reach advantage, boxed on the outside and made the most of her sharp jab and accurate straight right hands. The shots from Choi began to take their toll on the challenger as early as the third round with Gomez's face beginning to bruise and swell.
What made things even easier tor Choi was the style of Gomez, which seemed to be based on creating space, the same space that Choi could use to make the most of her natural size advantages. Whilst Gome was struggling to land, and looking really uncomfortably Choi looked happy, smiling at times in the corner and looked incredibly relaxed.
As the bout went on Choi picked up her work rate whilst Gomez became more and more apprehensive, looking to avoided trading shots. It made for a really poor challenge from the Argentinian but Choi couldn't have asked for a more straightward win as she seemed to comfortably win every round.
After the bout a sporting Gomez paraded Choi to the crowd, knowing the local had been the better fighter, before randomly climbing the corner and celebrating, likely patting herself on the back for lasting the 10 round distance.
Choi, who won a WBA female Featherweight title on debut, won't enhance her reputation with this win, but will continue her reign and will likely be asking her team to get her a more serious test for next time out. For Gomez this is her third straight loss, and sees her fall to 0-3 in world title fights.
Earlier today fight fans in Korea saw WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) [최현미] record her 5th defense, as she narrowly over-came Mexican challenger Jessica "La Magnifica" Gonzalez (7-4-2-3, 1) with a technical majority decision, in what was a tough bout, marred by a huge fight ending head clash.
From the opening seconds it was clear that Gonzalez had travelled with the intent of taking the title home, and she immediatelytook the fight to Choi, forcing the Korean to cover up and retreat. It was an incredible work rate from he challenger that forced the champion into her shell and made it hard for Choi to to get her shots off. There were moments where the champion managed to land an eye caching counter, but for the most part it was Gonzalez who looked the early boss.
As the bout went on Gonzalez's attacks seemed to be getting read by Choi, who slowly began to have more and more moments and she seemed to get her range more as the rounds went on. Despite Choi getting more success she was never looking the boss, as Gonzalez refused to back off and continually press forward looking for an inside ward.
Mid way through round 6 the two fighters clashed heads in the center of the ring. The head clash drew an immediate scream from one fighter with Gonzalez's head instantly showing the effect of the headclash, a huge gaping wound on top of her left eye. The cut was an instant bleeder and after a prolonged inspection by the ringside doctor the bout was stopped.
Due to the cut coming from a clash of heads the bout went to the cards for a 6th round technical decision, and the cards were 59-56, 57-56 and 57-57, giving he champion a razor thin decision to retain her title, and continue to be the only Korean world champion.
(Image courtesy of Yonhapnews)
Earlier today Korean fans got an absolute treat as WBA female Super Festherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (13-0-1, 4) [최현미] successfully retained her title with a hard foight 10 round decision win against Japanese challenger Kimika Miyoshi (13-10-1, 5) [三好 喜美佳], in what should go down as one of the best female bouts of 2017.
From the opening round it was a clear case of skill Vs will with Choi being the much more naturally talented fighter but Miyoshi being the much more aggressive and energetic. From the opening round to the final round Miyoshi was applying intense pressure, getting inside and letting her hands go. Unfortunately for the challenger her pressure did come at a cost with Choi regularly landing eye catching right hands, and some vicious uppercutts up close.
At times, particularly in the later rounds when both fighters were tired, both looked to be hurt, but in the end the two fighters saw out the 10 rounds.
Although Miyoshi was the one bringing the pressure through out she struggled to impress the judges, and it seemed like to them she was just making life difficult for the champion, with the score cards reading 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93. The cards were unfair, though they did all get the winner in what was a genuinely thrilling contest and one well worth watching.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
This past Monday Japanese fight fans saw a small slice of history being created as female boxing icon Naoko Fujioka (16-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] defeated Mexico's Isabel Millan (18-3-1, 8) to claim the the WBA female Flyweight title and become the first 4 weight world champion from Japan.
From the early stages it was clear that Millan was out of her depth with Fujioka applying pressure and making the Mexican pay for her less than snappy shots. Although one judge managed to find a way to score the opening round to Millan there was no case for the Mexican to take round 2, with Fujioka unloading the heavy artillery and dropping Millan.
To Millan's credit she came back well in round 3, the only round the judges scored in her favour, but from then on it was a slow and gradual beating for the visitor who took heavy shots in rounds 4 and 5 as Fujioka looked to make a statement.
Although Millan did well to see out the final rounds she was falling further and further behind, and starting to look not only like a beaten fighter but also like a tired one as we entered the latter stages. Although Fujioka was slowing she was still looking for a stoppage and made it clear that just winning wouldn't be enough to please her.
Fujioka's pursuit for a stoppage finally payed off in round 10 as she started quick, cornered Millan and started to unload until the referee saved the visitor.
At the time of the stoppage the judges had Fujioka up 89-81, twice, and 88-82 and there was no doubting that she could have cruised to the decision had she wanted to, but instead she wanted to score the stoppage and that's what she did, whilst continuing to prove that she is still one of the best female fighters on the planet, despite a recent controversial loss in Mexico to Jessica Chavez.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Today fight fans saw the heavy handed Yunoka Furukawa (9-1-2, 6) [古川 夢乃歌] record her first defense of the WBA Atomweight title as she out pointed OPBF female Light Flyweight champion Mika Iwakawa (6-5-1, 2) [岩川 美花] in a tremendous war of high octane action and heavy handed blows.
To begin the bout it was the challenger who started fast, taking an early lead as she used her superiour size and reach to keep the champion at range. In round two Furukawa tried to amp up the pressure but was met by Iwakawa fighting back and the champion struggled to impose her will on the bout.
Despite the good start from the challenger it was clear that she was going to struggle to keep the aggressive Furukawa at range and as the bout went on Furukawa's pressure began to take ahold of the bout, with Iwakawa having her size advantage negated by the relentless pressure of the champion.
Iwakawa continued to try and fight back but as we got into the later rounds the champion extra fitness, power and youthful aggressiveness showed with the champion sweeping many of the later rounds en route to a very hard fought first defense of the title, winning with scores of 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95.
With her first defense under her belt we're expecting to see huge things from Furukawa who looked like she improved during the fight, and looked more like a champion at the end of the bout than she did when she entered the contest. There are still flaws with the champion but she looks like someone who is going to be very tough to dethrone, and every bout is likely to see her improving, bit by bit.
As for Iwakawa the bout might be another loss but she proved that she can compete at this level and will likely bounce back better next time out. She did seem to tire, though a question is whether that was at least partly down to moving down in weight, just as much as the aggressive work of Furukawa.
For fight fans interested in watching this bout it will be on the boxingraise service during the next 24 hours and is well worth a watch for fight fans who enjoy high octane action, even if they don't typically enjoy female boxing.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Atomweight division is, in all honesty, not one of the most glamorous or attractive divisions but it have a new star in the form of Yunoka Furukawa (8-1-2, 6) [古川 夢乃歌] who showed all the traits fight fans love, including serious power.
The 22 year old was taking a major step up in class to face world title challenger Satomi Nishimura (9-2, 1) [西村 聡美] in a bout for the vacant WBA Atomweight title, a title that had been given up Momo Koseki who is focusing on extending her WBC reign. Despite stepping up in class, she was dropping down in weight, moving from Flyweight all the way down to Atomweight. Despite the big drop in weight Furukawa looked like a sensation in her new division and bulied Nishimura around.
The bullying saw Furukawa establish herself as the boss of the fight but the finish was spectacular as she dropped Nishimura in jaw dropping fashion, leaving the veteran flat on her back.
This was Furukawa's 7th straight win and her 4th successive stoppage and opens up doors to fight other world class fighters with her intention now being to solidify herself on the world stage. Sadly for Nishimura this was a second loss at world level and it seems likely the 35 year old will never become a world champion.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Korean fans had the chance to attend, or watch a stream of, a KBA show that was headlined by "refugee" boxer Hyun Mi Choi (12-0-1, 4) [최현미], who retained her WBA Female Super Featherweight title with a dominant display.
The North Korean born "Defector Girl Boxer" established her jab early to keep the determined but crude Diana Ayala (19-12-4, 13), at range. The Colombian challenger did her best to slip the jab, and the accurate follow up straights, but they often found their target.
Whilst Ayala lacked success in her defensive work it was her crude offense that was really letting her down at times, with her shots looking wild and wide, being easy for Choi to avoid, whilst resetting herself and establish the range she wanted. Ayala did however score some notable success in round 7, and again in round 9, though she seemingly didn't do enough in either of those rounds to convince the judges that she deserved them. Instead the judges scored the bout 100-90, twice, and 99-91, to the Korean.
Interestingly the bout was the first to be held at the Gwangmyeong Cave, a venue that seemed very atmospheric those we don't suspect will be the venue for too many world tile fights in coming years, sadly.
(Image courtesy of SPOtv News)
Many boxing fans tend to ignore two things. Female boxing, and boxing at the lower weights. Despite that Japanese fans on Thursday got a genuinely brilliant treat as females fighters at 102lbs, the Atomweight limit, fought in a thrilling contest to unify the WBC and WBA titles. The bout, the first unification bout in the divisions history, turned out to be probably the best fight the division has ever seen and a fight that really did sum up everything great about our fantastic sport.
From the first round to the last we saw high level competition as long reigning WBC queen Momo Koseki (21-2-1, 7) took on the fearless Ayaka Miyao (20-6-1, 4), who unfortunately lost her WBA belt despite the performance o a life time.
The fight started fast, neither had great power but they had the fire and will to win that drove them immediately to action. The pace was intense and hectic and although neither was hurt Miyao did score a knockdown in the openign round, albeit one that appeared to be a slip. The knaockdown encouraged the fighters to really go for it and in round 2 Koseki began to bleed from her nose. It was the perfect start for Miyao.
In round 3 it Koseki who began to have the momentum swing her way and by the end of round 5, when the scores were publicly announced, the early knockdown had been cancelled out with the two women being all level at 47-47, on all 3 cards.
Unfortunately for Miyao that was as good as it got as an aggressive Koseki brought the pressure and forced Miyao on to the retreat, where she was less effective than she had been earlier on. Whilst Miyao did have her successes they were out numbered by those of Koseki who did enough in the second half to secure a clear, but very hard fought, win.
The win, which saw the judges turning in cards of 96-96, twice and 95-94, was one of the toughest of Koseki's career and saw both fighters coming away with real credit and if a rematch occurred in early 2016, after a good rest for both fighters, we'd certainly not complain.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Although boxing, poverty and repression are often inter-linked we don't make a habit of talking about boxer's from North Korea. There is however one fighter who is, originally, from North Korea and is seriously worth talking about.
That is Hyun Mi Choi (10-0-1, 3) who successfully retained her WBA female Super Featherweight title earlier today with a dominating performance against Japanese veteran Chika Mizutani (14-5, 7).
Choi is one of the sports most amazing stories. As a young child she was spotted by the North Korean government who wanted to send her to the 2008 Olympics and gave her very special training. Soon after that training she, and her family, escaped from the North and went to South Korea where they began a new life and Choi quickly became one of the countries top amateurs.
Today Choi proved that she was one of the best professional fighters in female boxing as she thoroughly out boxed and out fought Mizutani in what proved to be a very one sided bout and high paced bout.
From the opening round Choi seemed too smart, too fast, too skilled and too accurate for Mizutani, who was often too brave for her own good. Time and time again the Japanese challenger walked into a stream of solid shots, including some beautiful uppercuts, and when Choi wanted to go forward she found it easy to march down the out-classed challenger.
Mizutani's did have her moments, such as through out round 2, though they were often over-shadowed by the work of the champion who scored a knock-down in round 2 and left Mizutani with a swollen face by the middle rounds.
By round 5 Mizutani was looking tired though gritted her teeth and had strong moments in round 8 as Choi herself began to look like the pace was getting to her. Sadly for Mizutani however was her last real success as Choi dominated the final couple of rounds and really tested the bravery and heart of the Japanese fighter who did well to see out the final bell.
When the cards were read there was no doubting who had won the bout, though for Choi this was just another chapter in her remarkable life and hopefully her great career continues as she acts as a figurehead for North Korean refugees in their nearest neighbour. For Mizutani however this will likely be the end, she can however take solace in the fact that she was beaten by a very, very good champion who who appears to be a fighter through and through.