The month of August appears to have dragged on and on though it has given us a lot to talk about with several FOTY contenders, several notable upsets and a generally fantastic series of fights. For those who missed some of them, this is our review of the month with some videos included of the months most memorable and exciting fights.
On August 2nd we had the first of the months many exciting battles as Takahiro Yamamoto (16-4, 13) avenged his split decision loss to Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) and claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title. The bout saw both men being dropped before Kawaguchi was eventually stopped in the 7th round of a truly wonderful war. Sadly, this bout, like many this month, was untelevised with only ringside footage being recorded.
Later that same day Filipino veteran Dennis Laurente (49-6-5, 30) was eliminated from the 4 man WBA Light Middleweight tournament, losing a wide decision to the fearsome John Jackson (20-2, 15). Despite the loss the tough Pinoy managed to continue his impressive record of never being stopped and may well have booked himself future bouts based just on his toughness.
On the same day fans had a wonderful double-header at the Korakuen Hall, a double-header that was streamed online for free.
The first of those bouts saw Hikaru Nishida (13-7-1, 5) score a 5th round TKO win over former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-11, 12). Early on Fuchigami looked in control but the pressure of Nishida told and he eventually broke down the former unified Japanese and OPBF champion,though not before a ROTY contender. Incidentally this was a rematch of a previous win for Nishida, who took a decision over Fuchigami in their first meeting.
The Nishida/Fuchigami fight was great but it was over-shadowed by the excellent co-feature that saw Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8, 7) narrowly out-point Gakuya Furuhashi (17-6-1, 7). This was essentially a Japanese Super Bantamweight title eliminator and although it was over-looked by many it did, essentially, provide a Japanese FOTY contender as the two men put on an excellent high paced fight that showed both men showing solid boxing skills. Although it was an exciting action fight neither man resulted to brawling and as a result we ended with a highly skilled war that both men should be proud of.
The second of the title bouts saw the really promising Masayuki Ito (17-1-1, 8) claim the OPBF Super Featherweight title as he scored a 10th round TKO win against Dai Iwai (17-4-1, 6). Iwai seemed to be out classed from the opening stages by the talented Ito who eventually forced the referee to step in when Iwai was a bloody mess. The win for Ito came just months after he was narrowly beaten by Rikki Naito in a Japanese title fight and it now seems clear just how talented the once beaten 24 year old is.
On the same card, albeit in a support bout, fans saw Ken Shiro (4-0, 3) score a 4th round TKO against Takeshi Omae (13-5-5, 1) and it now looks almost certain that Ken Shiro will get a title fight before the year is out. The 23 year old is quickly becoming one of the men to watch in the lower weights and we'd be shocked not to see him make a mark on the upper echelons of the division in the near future.
We also saw OPBF Light Welterweight champion Keita Obara (15-1, 14) defeat Khompetch Sithsaithong (5-6, 5) in a stay busy fight for the heavy handed champion.
When it comes to the fight of the month, that was an easy one with the August 21st war between Masao Nakamura (20-3, 19) and Daiki Kaneko (21-5-3, 14). The fight, that was won by Nakamura, was one of the most sensational fights of the year and saw the two men combine boxing and brawling to create a fight that took on a life of it's own. The only problem was that the TV cameras again missed the action and we unfortunately had to rely on ringside footage, though thankfully the quality of the footage was more than good enough to enjoy the fight.
On August 22nd there were a couple of things of note. The first of those came from the Philippines where Renz Rosia (12-3, 6) scored a TKO win over Renan Trongco (17-5, 10) to claim the WBC International Flyweight title. Coming into this bout Trongco was ranked #4 by the WBC so his ranking will drop significantly, though we're unsure how highly Rosia will end up.
On the same day, in Chile, fans saw Japanese fighter Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) come up short against local favourite Carolina Rodriguez (15-0, 1) in a bout for the IBF female Bantamweight title. The brave Tsunami often appeared to be a step behind Rodriguez until the final few rounds when she managed to get Rodriguez on to the ropes. Although Tsunami gave a good effort she was well beaten.
Just a few days later, August 5th, we saw prospects collide as Tsuyoshi Tameda (12-1-2, 10) forced a 7th round TKO win against the previously unbeaten Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10). This was another of those untelevised bouts but was a thriller with Tameda needing to change tactics after Bernaldez got off to a good start. Whilst many fight fans want to see 50-50 “prospect bouts” few seemed to give this one much attention, though it was a fantastic fight.
On August 7th we had a notable bout in Thailand as veteran Bantamweight Pungluang Sor Singyu (51-3, 35) became a 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion. The aggressive and exciting Pungluang scored a shock 2nd round KO against Japan's Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18) to claim the title and although Akaho may have some complaints about the stoppage it did seem like he was being bullied by the Thai who looked the much stronger man in the ring.
Also in action on the Thai show was former 2-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (56-2, 37) who scored a stoppage win against Boido Simanjuntak (18-29-1, 7). Whilst this wasn't a hugely noteworthy bout it does need noting that it did see Chonlatarn beginning life as a Super Featherweight. The move up in weight could be a very interesting one for the tough but limited Thai.
Just a day later, on August 8th, Japanese fans saw OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (26-8-1, 12) retain his titles with an 8th round TKO win against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-5-1, 8). This was really a mismatch from the off and Akiyama had nothing to trouble the talented Shibata, who has now won 6 in a row since being stopped by Ryota Murata. This win has set Shibata up for an exciting looking showdown with Koki Tyson Maebara.
On August 10th we had another double-header, this time with a pair of OPBF title fights.
The first of those ended with Ryo Takenaka (13-3-1, 7) scoring a KO of the year contender against the defending OPBF Featherweight champion Vinvin Rufino (37-17-3, 16). Rufino was defending the title for the first time but never managed to get into the fight following an early knockdown. The title changed hands in round 5 when Rufino was knocked out cold by the challenger. For Rufino this will feel like a redeeming win considering he almost won the title last year, suffering a 12th round TKO loss, whilst in the lead, against Hisashi Amagasa.
Staying with Thailand we got controversy on August 18th when former world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (85-2, 54) narrowly out-pointed Mohamed Larabi (4-5, 2) in a bout that saw the visitor express his disgust at the decision whilst still in the ring. In the past we've seen visitors shrug about losing decisions in Thailand but Larabi really made his feelings known and with good cause as he seemed to do more than enough to deserve a very clear win.
On August 20th Japanese fans had the chance to see the heavy handed Satoshi Hosono (28-2-1, 20) retain his national Featherweight title with a clear win over Tatsuya Otsubo (8-7-1, 3). Hosono dominated the bout from round 2 onwards and was a deserving winner. Only days after this bout Hosono's next bout was announce, and he will now defend title in October against Takuya Watanabe.
On the same card as Hosono's win over Otsubo fans saw Ryo Matsumoto (15-0, 13) and Akira Yaegashi (22-5, 12) score wins and direct their attention to world title fights, with hoping to land a top level fight by the end of the year.
The second big controversy of the month came on August 23rd when former world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (22-1-1, 5) took a very controversial decision win over the little known Cyborg Nawatedani (9-3-2, 4). Nawatedani seemed to easily out work, out land and out fight Kinoshita however he was denied the win on the scorecards with numerous fans calling for the result to be reviewed.
August 28th we saw one of the biggest upsets of the year as former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (57-8-2, 23), who was ranked #1 by the WBO at Minimumweight, was stopped by unheralded Filipino Jaysever Abcede (10-3, 6). Coming in to the bout Pigmy was, supposedly, set to fight WBO world champion Kosei Tanaka though Abcede certainly but a halt on that bout with one of the sweetest right hooks of the year.
Although the world level action was sparse we've still managed to have a brilliant month with a bit of everything and the month, whilst not the best, certainly was one to look back on and saviour as an Asian boxing fan.
Also we suspect we may have missed some of the best moments. If we have then please leave a comment telling us about the best bits of the month that we forgot!
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