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!
AsianBoxing.info- The Site for Asian Boxing News, Results and Profiles
On July 18th boxing fans at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe will get the chance to be part of a small bit of history as they get the opportunity to see the first ever fight taking place at the excellent hotel. The bout, an IBF Super Flyweight world title contest, will see Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3), himself an employee of the the hotel, fighting against South African puncher Zolani Tete (18-3, 16).
One thing that struck us was that this was going to be the 5th "Japan Vs South Africa" world title bout in the last few years and the first not to feature either Katsunari Takayama and Hozumi Hasegawa who between them have been involved in all 4 of the previous clashes between the nations. With that in mind we've decided that it was worth looking over the short history of the other recent Japan Vs South Africa world title clashes.
Of course the rivalry between the two isn't a big one. It's not like the rivalries between the Oriental countries which have seen some great fights between Japanese fighters and Thai's, Thai's and Filipino's and Filipino and Japanese. But the rivalry has started to warm up, especially since the JBC began to recognise the IBF and it seems likely that we will see more and more meetings between fighters from the two nations.
Hozumi Hasegawa Vs Simpiwe Vetyeka
The first of these of these bouts was just over 7 years ago as the then WBC Bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa, then with a record of 21-2 (7), battled against the unknown Simpiwe Vetyeka, who was unbeaten with a record of 16-0 (9) though had faced no one of real not.
The bout, which took place on May 3rd 2007 at the Ariake Colosseum, gave us one of the least exciting Hasegawa fights as both men waited on the other to strike. It was as if both were scared of the counters from the others whilst hoping to land their own counter shots. As a result it was a somewhat tiresome affair that did little to helped boost Hasegawa's standing in the sport at the time, though he did manage to take home a decision.
Although both men stood off each other Hasegawa did manage to find some conviction late in the bout to secure the victory and his 4th world title defence though it was his first world title defence in which he failed to score either a stoppage or a knockdown and the first bout that he failed to score a knockdown in since his first bout with Thai legend Veraphol Sahaprom.
For Vetyeka it was actually his first world title bout. In later years he really came to prominence with back to back victories over Daud Cino Yordan and Chris John and in reflection it's a better win for Hasegawa in hindsight than it was at the time. Of course we'd all learn, over the following few years, just how good Hasegawa really was. Sadly though I think he went unappreciated by too many of boxing's fans from the west who refused to give him a watch and this bout arguably solidified their views on him at the time
As with the victory over Vetyeka this was a win that looks better on paper than it did at the time. Malinga was a well deserving challenger courtesy of the win over Sahaprom but no one expected him to really bounce back from this loss. Instead of fading away however Malinga went on to twice challenge for the IBF version of the title and took both Stuart Hall and Leo Santa Cruz the distance in fights that he made tricky.
For Hasegawa it was a sensational victory that helped to boost him in the eyes of the fans who made an effect to track the fight down. His perceived "feather fist" reputation was blown to smithereens courtesy of a victory that showed just how exciting the "Ace of Japan" could be when he really wanted to let his hands go.
Up to the point of the headclash the action had been high paced with Takayama landing the great quantity of shots but the much better shots had come from Joyi who appeared to be the much more powerful fighter and appeared to wobble Takayama several times in the opening round. Despite the problems Takayama had had in the opening round he was looking happy to take the fight to Joyi and keep a high pace as if the idea was to out work the South African, a tactic we expect to see from Kinoshita.
The headclash immediately caused blood to gush from over Takayama's right and left the doctor with no option but to stop the fight though didn't end their rivalry...
Nkosinathi Joyi Vs Katsunari Takayama II
...14 months after their first clash Takayama and Joyi would meet for a second time and like their first bout it saw Takayama as the travelling fighter as the JBC refused to recognise the IBF.
This time the two men wouldn't see a premature ending to their bout and instead we had 12 rounds of very good action between the two that saw an off looking Joyi struggle with Takayama who aggressive throughout in a performance that deserved much better than it got.
Despite many feeling that Takayama had been taking too many hard shots against Joyi in their first fight the Japanese fighter did all he could to secure his rematch with out too much fear. It seemed clear, from his willingness to take the rematch, that he was confident of victory and it seemed that he thought he was getting to Joyi in their first bout. This time around he showed why he was so confident as he really took the action to the South African champion in a bout that couldn't have been any more different to the Hasegawa/Vetyeka bout that I started this article with. It was really all action.
Sadly for Takayama he would find the judges less than impressed by his activity with all 3 judges scoring the bout widely in favour of the defending champion despite neutral observers suggesting the bout could very easily have gone either way. With out trying to sound like a Takayama "fanboy" he probably should have known he wasn't going to get the rub of the green early on when a hurt Joyi held on for dear life with the referee doing nothing about it.
For Joyi this would be his second and final successful defence of the IBF title which he would lose, in a massive upset, to Mario Rodriguez in Mexico. Takayama showed his desire for the title by travelling to Mexico to defeat Rodriguez and, at the third time of asking, became the IBF Minimumweight champion.
Going in to the Kinoshita/Tete bout Japan lead the way in recent results with 2 wins from the 4 bouts. A win for Tete would balance the score though with personal and national pride at stake we're expecting history to go out of the window and the men to think about the present. With that in mind we've got to admit we're really excited about the contest and, fingers crossed, we'll get to see a really entertaining bout on July 18th.
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Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).